Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez score top fives at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 05: Erik Jones, driver of the #20 lToyota, leads Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 PPG Ford, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GoBowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 5, 2018 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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.”

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.