Erik Jones and his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Craftsman Tools Toyota came home in the third position at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night after a late race restart.
During the race, Jones was battling and dealing with track position trying to get his team up front for a shot at the win. At one point, Jones pitted after Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer in an attempt to come out in front of them once the stops cycled through. However, Jones would still be stuck in the back as race leader and teammate Kyle Busch would stay in the lead after the last round of pit stops.
The Michigan native caught a break with six laps to go when a caution came out for a spin in Turn 1, which set up a NASCAR overtime giving the field two additional laps.
Jones was right there behind his teammate Kyle Busch and even make a dive bomb move to try and race with Kurt Busch to take the lead. But, the Busch Brothers would go around Jones and battle it out for the win. When the race leaders were leaning on each other and bending fenders, Jones was in the hot seat in case the two would wreck each other.
Unfortunately, Jones watched the thrilling finish right in front of him and had to settle for a third-place finish.
“Just track position, qualified where we didn’t want to and had to work back from that,” Jones said to PRN in his post-race interview. “But you know, right from the start, the Craftsman Camry was pretty good. I felt comfortable in practice and how we were in race trim. Just had to work back from it, took us in the whole second stage to get up there. We finally were in position and got some good restarts, good pit stops, which helped us get up there on the last restart. You can’t ask for much more, you want to be there and have a shot, and we did that but didn’t have quite enough car or circumstances. A great day overall.”
With the third place finish, it would be Jones fifth top five of the season and his first since Pocono in June. He is currently 16th, occupying the last spot in the playoff standings.