Erik Jones appeared to have the car to challenge his teammate for the win in today’s XFINITY Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, even after overcoming an obstacle early in the race.
As the outside pole sitter, Jones jumped the start of the race while side by side with teammate Kyle Busch. Jones was black-flagged to serve a pass-through penalty on pit road, and the young driver fell back to 39th after the mishap.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver had a strong car, though, and was able to make up ground early in the race. By Lap 26 he was up to sixth, and he never looked back.
With 35 laps to go, Jones was the only lead car to come down pit road to take four fresh tires. He worked his way up to the 3rd position and that’s where he remained for the rest of the race. Some teams were worries about tire wear, but it wasn’t an issue for the Hisense Camry.
“I burnt the tires off it coming back through the pack after the penalty,” Jones said. “But after that, never really had any issues with tire fall off, and thought we were really one of the best cars on the long runs.
In his post-race interview, Jones elaborated on how the penalty affected his day.
“It just made the day a lot longer,” he said. “I knew we had the car to do it, but it was just a matter of not burning the tires off while we were doing it and trying to get back up there.”
Overall a good day, a nice rebound from Daytona, and a good way to get the season on track and get headed in the right direction.”