Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez Give Joe Gibbs Racing Pair of Top Six Finishes at Texas

by SM Staff On Sat, Nov. 07, 2015

Photo Credit: Don Dunn

With Kyle Busch running into transmission problems, it was up to the other two drivers on the team to get the job done for Joe Gibbs Racing. Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez would do just that, finishing fourth and sixth respectively.

With Sprint Cup Series regulars battling for the top-four spots throughout the race, Jones would run just outside of the top-four in the fifth or sixth spot, looking for an opportunity to challenge for the victory. Jones, who won at Texas in April, would challenge following a late-race restart, but wasn’t able to break into the top-three, crossing the finish line in fourth.

“We just didn’t have what we needed,” Jones commented. “Really all day it seemed like we fought this thing and just couldn’t get it really up to run with the top three or four there. Just kind of a bummer that we just missed it a little bit. I thought we were a little bit better than that in practice so we’ll go to work on this thing and get this GameStop Camry a little better for next time.”

Jones has been solid thus far this weekend, scoring the victory in Friday night’s truck race to go with today’s top-five finish. The Camping World Truck Series points leader will make his second career Sprint Cup Series start on Sunday, starting from the sixth spot as he fills in for the suspended Matt Kenseth. Jones stated that today’s race will certainly help towards tomorrow.

“Anytime you’re on the track and learning, especially today – this race is going to start and end around the same conditions with the longer race,” he commented. “It helped me a lot just learning what the track did when it got dark here and got shaded up and gripped up and also with some cycles on tires since we’re running the same tire. It should be helpful to take some of that tomorrow to Jason (Ratcliff, 20 NSCS crew chief) and see if we can do something.”

Meanwhile, Suarez ran just inside of the top-10 for most of the day, moving up into sixth on the final run to the checkered. It marks Suarez’s 16 top-10 of the season as he currently sits seventh in the series points standings.

“It was a tough race,” Suarez admitted. “For some reason we didn’t have the balance right. I was expecting a little bit better balance. It was decent, I didn’t feel like it was any better car or anything like that, we had a top-10 ARRIS Toyota Camry and that’s pretty much where we ended up. I feel like we rescued some important points and lost something good. We have to keep working. Hopefully, we can be a little bit stronger for Phoenix next week.”

Suarez is hopeful to have a strong run at Phoenix, based upon the strong finishes he produced there in the NASCAR Mexico Series.

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