ERIK JONES, No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
How were the track conditions and how did things change for you over these 500 miles?
“It was good. It was really tough to pass. Once you got up inside the top-seven or eight, those guys were all pretty equal, and it was hard to make ground from there. We started deep, 30th, today and drove up and finished fourth. We got a couple of extra spots at the end, but this Sport Clips Camry was quick. We just never got up front. We just needed to get up front and get some clean air. That’s what we did last year. I thought we had just as good of a car as what we did last year. We just never got to the lead. That’s what held us back, I think. It’s tough. The cars are finicky. They are on edge, and it’s really hard to make ground, but decent day.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 7th
Was traffic the biggest challenge for you tonight versus the speed you had when you were running up front with your teammates?
“Traffic was definitely our detriment, there was just nothing I could do to try to find clean air in order to make up any speed back in traffic so I just got mired wherever the heck I was and that was it. Being out front in clean air, I was able to run with Martin (Truex Jr.) and had a fast M&M’s Camry and could really show how fast our car was when we drove away from the field by a couple seconds there until that caution that NASCAR flew that was not a caution.”
Are you able to pull any momentum from tonight’s race going into the next two Playoff races of this round?
“There’s a little bit of momentum. It certainly was nice to see that if we could get up towards the front that we could be fast up front, but I would have liked to have finished it out and gotten the finish that we all were working towards and our finish that we deserved as a team. Even if it wouldn’t have been a win, it would have been a second, which would have been a shot in the arm for us. We go to Richmond just trying to win Richmond.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 22nd
How strong was your Camry in tonight’s race?
“We did almost everything that we went there to do and obviously proud of the guys for bringing a strong Bass Pro Toyota and the execution that we had all night long. Everything was rolling along there, and we were in position to have a shot at winning it. Just two guys going for the same spot and that stuff happens in racing. Really proud of the effort and look forward to carrying that speed forward.”
Can you explain what happened with Chase Elliott?
“It’s Darlington and typically you don’t want to go in side-by-side. I felt like I had enough of a run and enough space there that the last foot or so he (Chase Elliott) was going to understand that if I was committed, we both weren’t going to make it. Typically, here that’s kind of how you race. If a guy gets a run on you and he’s just about got you cleared, you have to give that last little bit. Now obviously, the end of the race, probably the pass for the win, he wanted to drive it on in there and I was committed to being clear and there was no way we were both going to make the corners. Basically, when I made up my mind and I was driving it in there and then he drove in on my right-rear quarter, there was no possible way that we both weren’t crashing. That’s what happened.”
What happened in the incident between yourself and Chase Elliott battling for the lead?
“Two drivers going for the same spot. It was close obviously and I thought I had enough momentum and distance on him (Chase Elliott) that he was going to let me in there. I didn’t expect him to be on my right rear and I was committed. Once I figured he was still there, nothing I could do. Really unfortunate for our Bass Pro Toyota. Unbelievable job by the guys and a smoking fast race car. A lot to be proud of. I hate it for the 9 team. Obviously, it was nothing intentional, just two guys going for the win and not enough room for both of us there. If it was my fault, I apologize. I really felt like I had the position to get in there to one. That’s how it goes, and we’ll see what goes on from here.”
Are you still expecting a little ‘give’ at Darlington late in the race?
“Well, no, but at the same time I felt like I had enough there, and it was only a few inches. A few inches either you wreck, or you give it to the guy. I feel like I was on the right side of things, but again I’ll have to go back and look at it and see if there was something, I could have done different. Again, really proud of everyone and obviously had the car to beat and just try to work over the 9 there. Obviously track position is really important here and it looked like we were going to get the lead there and that would have been big. I don’t know, sometimes things just don’t work out and we gave it our all and came up short.”
Toyota Racing PR