Toyota Racing – Erik Jones
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Michigan International Speedway – June 5, 2019
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Erik Jones was made available to the media in Michigan:
Erik Jones, No. 20 Craftsman/Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What were you able to learn in the first practice session this afternoon?
“We didn’t really know what to expect as far as how the cars were going to drive, how much throttle we were going to carry in traffic and kind of how things were going to go. Just getting a good baseline for that and figuring out where we need to go on setup and trim level and everything else. Learned all those things, but as far as speed, the Craftsman Camry had good speed and it drove well. We’re just going to have to keep learning – so much to learn in such a short amount of time about this new package here. We’re just trying to figure it out.”
Could you feel the air being different with this package here at Michigan?
“A little bit, it reminded me a lot of trucks here when I was racing those and kind of how you would get the runs and everybody was really lined up and trying to find clean air, make a move and it was tough. Making a move, you really had to make sure you were clear of somebody before that line got rolling again otherwise you would lose a lot of spots. Just trying to figure it out and figure out what you needed your car to do to make passes. I think you’re going to be able to pass actually quite a bit in the race with what I felt there so that’s a positive for sure. Just have to see where it keeps going.”
How do you look at restarts at Michigan and where are you at learning how to restart?
“It’s different this year and everybody is learning. Obviously I think the top is going to be the place to be on restarts. It was interesting at Pocono to see how uniform they got throughout the day, early everybody was trying to make big moves and then by the end, everybody was kind of staying in line and pushing and they figure that was better. I think it’s going to be another learning process here where people will probably be aggressive at the start, making big moves and trying to pick up spots in the first lap. As the day goes, people are going to learn and figure out more and more what is going to be more advantageous. We’ll see, it’s going to be exciting for sure. You’re always trying to figure them out, but just need to find the best place to be.”
What would it mean to get a win at your home track?
“It would be great. I think we’ve been close here at a few places this year. Last weekend was a great race for us and we’ve got the speed to do it. Our cars have been good this year. We’ve just had some bad luck, but I think that’s turning around hopefully and we can keep it rolling now. Winning here would be huge. Would be pretty awesome going into an off-weekend being able to spend time at home with a win at your home track, I can’t think of a better scenario than that. Would sure love to do it Sunday.”
How much did the run last week give you momentum for the rest of the season?
“Hopefully a lot. If you take Charlotte out of our last month, it’s been a great month. Just a DNF in there really hurt us in the points and hurt our moral I guess you could say as well. Pocono was a good race for us, running third there and didn’t have a whole lot for our teammate, but definitely felt like we were the second-best car there. Good day, just need to keep that momentum rolling. It’s hard to gain momentum in this sport and it’s hard to keep it. That’s one that we need to keep on our side and keep rolling here.”
What do you think the speeds will be in Sunday’s race?
“Lap time-wise, we’re probably faster than we thought by quite a bit, probably about a half-second at least than what we expected coming in. Mile-per-hour, I’m not sure, maybe high 180s or 190s if I had to guess. A little slower than last year, but still fast. Your mid-corner speed is just way up. We aren’t slowing down near as much as we were last year.”