A series of unfortunate events cost Erik Jones a lap and contributed to a 19th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but that has not dulled the enthusiasm for the sophomore driver from car owner Joe Gibbs.
“I felt so sorry for him,” Gibbs said in the media center following the race. “And I went down and found him on pit road. I’ll tell you, that young guy – we just think so much of him – Toyota, all of us that’s worked with him. Tonight, he showed the talent that he has. We had three very unusual things happen on pit road and it just destroyed his night.”
The No. 20 Toyota crew had three problems in the pits: Jones had to back up after getting pinned behind another car on a yellow-flag stop; his front tire-changer lost his pit gun after Kasey Kahne ran over his hose entering a stall ahead of Jones’; and an uncontrolled tire violation on Jones’ final stop.
NASCAR America analyst Jeff Burton echoed Gibbs’ opinion about Jones’ potential.
“He just had one of those nights,” Burton said. “He ran good, he had good speed, but nothing worked out for them.
“With speed, everything can be fixed. And the speed they had last night was very good.”
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