Erik Jones Runs Top Five in First Race After Father’s Passing

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images

By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor

All eyes are usually on Erik Jones in an XFINITY Series race, as the 20-year-old driver is a threat to win every time he gets behind the wheel.

However, on Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway, Jones was racing with a heavy heart, publicly announcing before the race that his father Dave had passed away earlier in the week after battling cancer. Jones posted this moving letter to his father before the race began:

Jones started on the front row alongside pole-sitter Alex Bowman for the race, and was able to take the lead away on lap 12. Over the course of the race, Jones was able to lead twice for 18 of the 125 laps.Teammate Daniel Suarez went on to win his first career race while Kyle Busch finished second. While a win would have meant a lot to Jones and his family, he had to settle for a fourth-place finish.

“Just missed it,” said Jones post-race. “I don’t know, we were way too tight at the end. The Reser’s Camry just wasn’t good enough today. It’s unfortunate, but we just struggled all day with it being too tight and it got worse and worse as the race went on. We couldn’t keep up with adjustments, but we’ll work at it to get better and we’ll get another one soon.”

Prior to the start of the race, Jones peeled his own name off the car and replaced it with that of his father’s. Jones was still understandably emotional after the race but took the time to say a few words about his late father.

“I wish he (Dave Jones) could be here, but it was a good day overall for us,” he said. “We miss him a lot, but thank you. I appreciate it.”

Dave Jones was 53.

The fourth-place finish was Jones’ eighth top five in 13 races this season. With two victories already, Jones is already solidly locked into the Chase, and gained one spot in the current point standings to fourth. He is 55 points back from points leader Suarez.

The next race is Sunday, June 19th at Iowa Speedway, beginning at 1:30PM ET. Jones has two career XFINITY Series starts at the track and both times he has finished in the top 10.

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