Erik Jones

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Erik Jones ‘close’ to re-signing after meeting with Joe Gibbs this week

Leave a comment

LOUDON, N.H. – After meeting with team owner Joe Gibbs this week, Erik Jones believes he finally is “close” to signing an extension with the team after a few months of negotiations.

“We’ve had some good meetings, positive meetings, so we’re moving in the right direction,” Jones said during Friday afternoon’s qualifying session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “I’d love to get it done here soon. We’ve had good meetings between my guys and JGR. I’ve had good meetings with Coach talking about it and moving forward. I know I keep saying it, but I feel like we’re pretty close to getting it done.”

The uncertainty for the 2020 season seemingly has been no distraction in 2019 for Jones, who believes he is close to ending a yearlong winless streak. He has notched six top 10s in the past nine races to move into the 16th and final provisional spot for the playoffs with seven races remaining in the regular season.

The Byron, Michigan, native said he told Gibbs “I want to get (the extension) done. We both want to get it done and move forward and stop worrying about it and stop focusing on it, but we’re close. Hopefully here soon.”

An extension for Jones would mean JGR has a full lineup of four drivers signed for 2020 and shift the focus to what is next for Xfinity driver Christopher Bell, who is under contract to JGR next season.

“I think you know as much as I do,” Bell said Friday morning when asked about what series he will race next year. “Actually, you probably know a little bit more than I do. Ultimately, it’s not up to me. I can’t make the decisions, so I’m just along for the ride.”

Bell indicated his desire to move to Cup last season, and a Leavine Family Racing Toyota could be an option if JGR wants to farm him out for 2020 in NASCAR’s premier series.

“I learned early on in my career that a race car driver is only as good as the equipment,” Bell said. “I definitely want to make sure that I’m in equipment that can win.”

Results from Saturday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Xfinity race at Texas

Leave a comment

Erik Jones is from Michigan, but Texas has quickly become a very welcoming second home to him.

The NASCAR Cup rookie earned his second Xfinity Series win of the season at Texas Motor Speedway and his third overall in six career starts there in Saturday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.

MORE: Erik Jones dominates to win Xfinity race at Texas again, Sadler now No. 1 in points

Ryan Blaney gave Jones a strong challenge in the closing laps, but just couldn’t quite make it to the finish line first.

Click here for full race results.

Erik Jones cruises to pole for tonight’s Xfinity race at Texas

Leave a comment

Erik Jones kept looking for speed in his Toyota Camry — and continually found it — to the point where he earned the pole for tonight’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.

Jones scored the pole with a speed of 191.272 mph.

Cole Custer was second (190.101 mph), followed by Matt Tifft (189.954), Ryan Blaney (189.900) and Elliott Sadler (189.653).

Sixth through 12th were Daniel Hemric (189.567), Austin Dillon (189.474), Christopher Bell (189.301), William Byron (189.235), Kyle Larson (188.580), Brandon Jones (187.793) and Brennan Poole (187.292).

Tonight’s race starts at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on NBCSN.

Click here for the full qualifying speed chart.

Kyle Larson fastest in crash-shortened Xfinity practice at Texas

Leave a comment

Kyle Larson had the hammer down in Friday’s second and final Xfinity series practice at Texas Motor Speedway.

Larson covered the 1.5-mile oval with a run of 190.631 mph, more than 2 mph faster than Ryan Blaney (188.488 mph).

Erik Jones was third (188.436), followed by William Byron (187.885) and Elliott Sadler (187.800).

Blake Koch, who was fastest in the first practice session of the day, was sixth in the final practice (187.650 mph), followed by Austin Dillon (187.591), Cole Custer (187.572), Christopher Bell (187.396) and Matt Tifft (187.350).

The session was cut short by approximately 15 minutes after Daniel Hemric spun and backed into the wall, sustaining heavy damage.

“Something in the rear end broke and that was it,” Hemric said after being checked and released from the infield medical center. “It’s not ideal by any means, but I have faith in these RCR guys (will get his back-up car competitive).”

NASCAR officials tried to clean the track to allow cars additional practice time, but time expired and NASCAR was unable to add time because the NASCAR Cup qualifying session was slated to start shortly afterward.

Click here for the final practice speed chart.

Blake Koch fastest in first of 2 Xfinity practices at Texas Motor Speedway

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Blake Koch was fastest in the first of two NASCAR Xfinity Series practices this afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway.

Koch covered the 1.5-mile oval at 189.347 mph, nearly 2 mph faster than second fastest, Daniel Hemric (187.461 mph).

Kyle Larson was third (187.350), followed by Erik Jones (187.207), Ryan Blaney (187.201), Austin Dillon (186.851), Ty Dillon (186.670), Elliott Sadler (186.316), Christopher Bell (186.258) and Matt Tifft (186.079).

The second practice session takes place at 5 to 5:55 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the first practice speed grid.