Erik Jones falls just short of Michigan win, Truex claims no team orders

Matthew T. Thacker/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Rookie Erik Jones ran the best race of his young Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career at Michigan International Speedway, but it wasn’t quite enough for a trip to victory lane.

Jones, 21, was a consistent presence inside of the top five throughout Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400. With the laps winding down, he trailed only Furniture Row Racing (FRR) teammate Martin Truex Jr. for a home win that could’ve placed the Michigander in the playoffs.

Some thought Truex might let Jones by in order to allow FRR’s second team into the playoffs.

For Truex, that was never an option.

“We don’t have team orders,” Truex said. “Nobody lets each other win. He’s (Jones) going to win some races. His turn will come.””

“That’s not how we race,” Truex later continued. “Nobody out there races that way. Nobody is going to give a Cup win up. They’re too hard to get.”

After a slew of late cautions Jones found himself on the inside lane for the race’s final restart in NASCAR Overtime. Jones managed to stay alongside Truex in the run to the start-finish line, but was left falling back as eventual winner Kyle Larson split the two drivers to soar to the lead in Turns 1 and The rookie went on to finish third, .97 seconds behind Larson.

“It wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be, but I thought we could get a good enough restart where we could at least battle through one and two and hopefully make something happen into three,” Jones said of the final restart. “Unfortunately that didn’t work out, both of us couldn’t get going – Martin (Truex Jr.) was spinning his tires and I was spinning my tires. He got a push from the 42 (Kyle Larson) and he passed us both.”

After running second for much of the race’s late stages, Jones admitted to dreaming of a first-time win at his home track.

“I did for a few moments and then the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) really kind of picked it up there the last 50 laps or so and he was really fast,” Jones said. “We were kind of in our own league there for a long time – we were kind of matching lap times, he would go faster and I would go faster. I really thought that whoever was out front was going to win, unfortunately neither of us got it done.”

Sunday’s run was the closest Jones has come to a victory in his rookie season, and it came at the perfect time.

The rookie sits 16th in the championship standings, 130 points behind Matt Kenseth for the final playoff position. Given that, it’ll likely take a win in one of the final three regular season races at Bristol Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway and Richmond International Raceway to send Jones to the playoffs.

One Comment

  1. Quotes Tadka

    August 19, 2017 at 5:32 am

    I pay a visit everyday a few websites and sites to read content, but this
    weblog presents quality based articles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *