The sophomore class at Joe Gibbs Racing is coming of age.
Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in Sunday’s Go Bowling at the Glen. That marked the second straight event in which the two second-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers have scored top-five results.
Jones already has a spot in the Playoffs, thanks to his victory at Daytona in July. Suarez is fighting for a Playoff berth, currently three spots out of the postseason at 18th in the series standings.
But both drivers have seen a decided uptick in their respective performances of late.
“That’s what we’ve got to keep doing,” Jones said. “We’ve only had one bad race since Daytona, and that was New Hampshire. Two top fives in a row for us, so we need to keep going that way, and hopefully we can contend for a win at Michigan (next Sunday).
“That’s the goal. We want to win another race. I know we can do it. If we’re this close on a road course, I know we can do it on an oval, so we’ll keep working on it.”
It’s a measure of Suarez’s improvement that he could downplay his fourth-place result at the 2.45-mile road course.
“It was a decent race,” Suarez said. “I felt like we had a top-five, top-seven car or so. The car was good, but not extremely good. Definitely, the 18 (Kyle Busch) and the 20 (Jones) were better, but it was a good race.
“Solid effort for my team. We’re getting close. This is what we need, to run top five every week, and if we continue to do this, I’m going to be a happy boy.”