Erik Jones eliminated from playoff contention after Stage 1 wreck

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CONCORD, N.C. — Playoff drivers Erik Jones and Alex Bowman were among those involved in a multi-car incident on a restart with three laps left in the first stage of the Cup race on the Charlotte Roval.

Jones and Bowman entered the race both outside the cutoff line to advance to the playoffs. In a must-win scenario after his Richmond finish was disqualified, Jones went to the garage with a punctured radiator, ending his day and eliminating him from the playoffs.

Bowman was able to continue.

The wreck occurred in Turn 1 and began when Kurt Busch got into the back of Chris Buescher in the outside row and started a chain reaction. The incident also involved playoff driver Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson, who had been in the top five for most of the first stage.

The restart was setup by a caution for a spin by Ryan Preece in the backstretch chicane.

“It’s unfortunate,” Jones told NBC. “We just had three really bad weeks and it’s some of our own doing and some not our own doing, but it’s racing. We’ve got really fast cars. I know we can probably go out and win some more races this year, which is I guess a consolation prize. I’d love to be moving forward here and challenging for the championship. I thought we could’ve went pretty deep this year, but it’s just the nature of the Playoffs.

“The wreck concluded a bad first stage for Bowman, who entered the race two points out of the cutoff spot. He had to start from the rear in a backup car and spun on the first lap as the field approached the backstretch chicane. Bowman missed part of the chicane as a result.

After pitting for new tires and not stopping on the frontstretch to serve a penalty, Bowman had to serve a pass through penalty on Lap 5.