Erik Jones' day of "never giving up" nets third at Daytona

By the looks of his car, it appeared Erik Jones had finished a race at Martinsville more so than Daytona.

Erik Jones' day of "never giving up" nets third at Daytona
Crash, Paul Menard, Wood Brothers Racing Ford, Matt DiBenedetto, Leavine Family Toyota, Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, Ryan Blaney, Team Penske Ford
Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Sport Clips
Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Menards/Peak, Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Shell Pennzoil, Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Sport Clips
Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Sport Clips
Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing, Chevrolet Camaro LeafFilter Gutter Protection, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Chocolate Bar and Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Sport Clips
Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Sport Clips
 Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Sport Clips

But Sunday, Jones managed to drive his damaged No. 20 Toyota up into contention for the win in overtime before hanging on to a third-place finish in the Daytona 500.

Jones’ career-best finish in the 500 – he wrecked out of his first two 500s – gave Joe Gibbs Racing a 1-2-3 finish as his teammate Denny Hamlin picked up his second career victory in the “Great American Race.”

“A day of never giving up and never giving in and it worked out great,” Jones said after the race. “It’s definitely the most perseverance I’ve had in a race in NASCAR. I had a lot of fun.”

It may not have seemed that way during the race.

At one point, Jones had to drop out of pack of cars racing on the backstretch when he suddenly lost fuel pressure.

After making an unscheduled pit stop, his car fired right back up and he returned to the track.

Then on Lap 191, Paul Menard got into the back of Matt DiBenedetto – an incident that eventually collected 21 cars, including Jones, who suffered extensive damage to the rear of his Toyota.

Still, his team was able to patch enough of the rear end of the car together to allow Jones to return to the track. Just finishing the race looked to be a miracle at that point.

But thanks to three more wrecks and the ensuing overtime, Jones received one more chance at his first Daytona 500 victory.

“It was a weird day,” he said. “We just lost fuel pressure and we came to pit road and (it) came back. We didn’t change anything, fired it up and went back out.

“Got back on the lead (lap), got caught up in a wreck and got pretty significant amount of damage and we were just trying to get it fixed enough to get minimum speed. As more of the race happened and more and more people wrecked we found ourselves upfront.”

And at the finish, he found himself with his second consecutive top-five at Daytona, following his victory at Daytona last July.

“Definitely the last two times have been pretty good to me. I wish we would’ve had one more lap,” Jones said. “It was actually really fast still and I was having a lot of fun and wish we could’ve got up there with Kyle (Busch) and Denny.

“You never would’ve guessed we would’ve made it one-two-three there by the end, but an awesome day and a good start to the season.”

shares
comments
Kyle Busch laments 500 loss, but admits JGR win is "what matters"

Previous article

Kyle Busch laments 500 loss, but admits JGR win is "what matters"

Next article

Hamlin: 2019 Daytona 500 triumph "validates" first win

Hamlin: 2019 Daytona 500 triumph "validates" first win
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Daytona 500
Drivers Erik Jones
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Jim Utter
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020