Toyota Racing – Erik Jones
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Texas Motor Speedway – November 3, 2017
Furniture Row Racing driver Erik Jones was made available to the media at Texas Motor Speedway:
ERIK JONES, No. 77 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
You have a special paint scheme on your car on Saturday with your sponsors from the state of Texas. Talk about racing in their backyard.
“It’s cool. Both sponsors located here in Texas, so always fun to race at home for a sponsor. They get to bring all their folks out from the headquarters, join in on the race. It’s just cool to see a lot of people you don’t get to see throughout the year too much. I always want to put on a good show for them. We’ve done a good job for GameStop in the XFINITY Series, able to grab a couple wins for them. This is my first time racing for Sport Clips in Texas. Looking forward to everybody coming out and hopefully putting on a good race for them.”
Talk about the importance of trying to close out this year with a victory for the team.
“Yeah, you know, I think that was a big goal of ours, was to win a race this year. We’ve got now three more shots to do it. We’ve worked hard all year long to put ourselves in positions to win races. I think we’ve been close at a couple of them. This last month hasn’t been the month we were looking for. We’ve kind of fell back off, not been able to close out races, have good finishes. These last three, we’re really looking to step it back up, get back up into the top five, be contending, leading laps. It’s really just been a big learning year for myself. It’s been a big growing year for Furniture Row Racing. I think starting a second team was a big jump for Furniture Row, a big jump for us, a big learning experience for myself. It was really a new group of guys. It is important to us. I think for myself, Barney (Visser, owner) sees this second team as something he had wanted to do for a long time. I think us grabbing a win would make it a success for this year. I think we’ve done other things throughout the year that have made it a success, but definitely a win would really cap it all off.”
As a rookie driver, do you feel like veterans are more prone to take the extra aggressive steps on the track? When you’re racing for a win, do you consider who it is you’re racing or do you do whatever it takes to win?
“I think it goes both ways. I think it depends on the driver somewhat. I know I’ve been in situations before in my racing career where I feel like I’m racing a guy that doesn’t have a lot of experience in whatever given car I was in at that point, whether it be for a win or for a position, feel like there were certain things I could do to take advantage of that. I think that’s human nature and racing nature. I think when you get to the Cup level, you’re racing for a win, I think guys really see each other as equals. I don’t think guys are looking at other rookies as true rookies in situations they can take advantage of. I look back to Bristol when I was racing with Kyle (Busch) hard for the win. I don’t think Kyle looked at myself as a rookie. I think it was just two guys going hard for the win. Yeah, I mean, I think there’s situations where that happens. I think when you’re racing for a win at this point in the year, I think guys are just charging hard to grab that win. It’s important. Guys are doing what it takes. At this point in the year it’s important to get those wins.”
Is there any chance you’ll join Kyle Busch at the Snowball Derby next month?
“No, I would say it’s probably zero percent chance. It’s a great race, a great event. For me, I didn’t have the right opportunity to really go down and do it the way I wanted to. I don’t know, just didn’t really work out the way I was wanting to do it. Maybe someday I’ll go back. Would love to come back for the 50th, but it won’t be this year.”
Yesterday you were on Sirius XM talking about Daniel Suárez, some of the things he does that you envy in the way he drives, maybe his patience. For you to sort of combine what you do and what he does, do you almost have to retrain yourself, the way you think about racing?
“Yeah, I mean, for sure. I think growing up racing, really it stems back to when I started racing in quarter midgets and stuff. We showed up at the racetrack to win races. We never really raced for points, never really raced for anything else. Second wasn’t good enough. It just didn’t amount to anything. In a way, that’s good, it’s a great way of thought. When you get to this level, at the top, second place is pretty good. I mean, you know, it’s tough to run second in these races. It’s tough to run top five. It’s tough to run top 10. I think it’s a different mentality when you get up to the Cup level, even the XFINITY level. If it’s an eighth place day, you got to run eighth. Sometimes for me there’s days where I’ve taken that and said, Hey, we’re going to run here today, this is all we can do. There’s also days where I feel like I’ve tried to push it too hard, get more than what my car was capable of, what I was capable of. So I think I’ve done somewhat of a decent job of trying to relearn this year, do a better job of taking exactly what the day is worth, what it’s going to give me. It’s still a tough thing to do, tough thing to learn from. Yeah, I mean, you do have to retrain yourself some to be more patient and really take what it’s giving you, take what the day is going to give you.”