RICHMOND, Va. — The Furniture Row Racing duo went into Sunday’s race topping two of the three practice sessions, but finished at different ends of the spectrum when the checkered flag flew at Richmond International Raceway.
Erik Jones was squeezed into the outside wall by Kasey Kahne, a byproduct of three-wide racing on the opening lap of the Toyota Owners 400. It led to a left-front tire cut and slamming the wall in Turn 3 on the fifth lap, bringing out the first caution of the race.
“We got three-wide right on the start and then the 5 ran us up into the fence,” Jones said. “I was trying not to wreck everybody and then a couple laps later the GameStop Prey Toyota Camry cut a left-front tire. It’s just really a heartbreaking day. It’s not what we wanted, but we’ll just have to come back next week with another fast race car and try to run up front again.”
He earned his first last-place finish in his 12th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start.
He leaves Richmond 16th in points, down four spots and 205 points back of Kyle Larson.
It was an across the board day for teammate Martin Truex Jr. with a third-place finish in the first stage and disappearing from the top-10 at the end of the second.
His drive back to the top-10 almost took a fatal blow under the eighth caution with 39 laps to go when he was busted for a commitment line violation, one of six drivers busted for so during the race, and restarted 25th.
But he opted not to pit during the final caution and restarted fourth. On old tires, he salvaged a 10th-place finish.
“We just didn’t have it today, too many issues with rear grip,” explained Truex. “We were good in the beginning but couldn’t get the rear grip issue resolved with our Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota. Just one of those days where you battle all day and hope to get a top-10 and we barely did that. We have some work to do for next time we come here.”
Truex’s third-place in the first stage and 10th overall finish moves him up to second in points, just 40 behind Larson.