Right as we got out of that long caution between Stage 2 and 3, Erik Jones lost his wheel and caused a huge wreck at Darlington. The Goodyear 400 is just starting to get good. These NASCAR drivers are doing their best to keep it on the track but when you lose a wheel speeding around Turn 2, it sends you spinning.
Those midpack wrecks can collect a ton of cars in the process. Erik Jones thought his car was good to go after the pit stop. However, it was clearly not. Losing that wheel put him in a bad situation. Austin Dillon and Daniel Suárez were unable to continue their race.
Jones just couldn’t stop this from happening.
The Goodyear 400 at Darlington has had a ton of good green flag racing. This is going to ruin a few days, but also give other drivers a big opportunity. We will have to see who takes advantage.
You hate to see a wreck like this at the beginning of a stage. These cars were holding on for the most part in Stage 1 and 2. However, as the day goes on, those Goodyear tires are getting worn out. Pavement and pebbles are building up on the rubber and eventually, the grip is going to leave the cars.
Cautions breed cautions and as the driving gets more aggressive, you’re going to see a lot of teams try and take chances and a lot of teams get bit in the rear end. Erik Jones tried his best, but when you’re on three wheels you can’t do anything about it.
Erik Jones had a strong day
It is a shame that Erik Jones had to go through that tough restart. He had a solid day at a track he has two wins at in his career. The tires aren’t worn down like the Xfinity Series race on Saturday. However, you are starting to see issues in this final stage.
Some of that comes with racing hard. Teams have saved tires up to this point so they can burn through them. That means drivers are making riskier passes. They might shoot up the wall or down on the inside of the turn if they have to.
Richard Petty got to watch Erik Jones do all of his good racing. It was fitting since Jones was in a blue and black throwback to the time The King ran a car with a black vinyl roof. It didn’t work out too well back then, but it looks great on a Next Gen car.
Jones had to be held for two laps. He will also likely lose crew members for a couple of weeks after his wheel came off on the track. Penalty coming for that No. 43 team.