NASCAR: How Erik Jones Is Setting Himself Up for Future Success

by Caitlin Berard

NASCAR veteran Erik Jones has had a string of bad luck as of late. Though he finished third in the Auto Club Speedway, the near-victory stands between a 29th and 31st place result in his 2022 Cup Series record. Despite the unlucky streak this year and only scoring six top 10 finishes last year, however, the Petty GMS Motorsports driver remains optimistic.

He credits this optimism with the top-tier team he’s built around himself. Specifically, his crew chief, Dave Elenz. “The attributes that he has is, number one, decisiveness in a crew chief,” Jones said of Elenz. “I give feedback, and I’m looking for a change or a call, or whether we’re pitting or what we’re doing. I want somebody to give me a straight answer pretty quickly. Dave is pretty good at that.”

“[Number two], someone who is engineering-based. My whole career and background, especially in NASCAR, has been very engineering-heavy on the crew chief and what they can do there. Dave has definitely got that. [And] three, just the experience level. If that sounds funny because he has never been a Cup crew chief, he’s been a crew chief for [a long time] at the Xfinity level.”

“I think we’re kind of like-minded,” Erik Jones concludes. “I feel we’ve clicked pretty well at understanding where each other is at right now.” Though Erik Jones currently sits in 15th place in the Cup Series, he and his team hope to climb the ranks in the coming weeks.

NASCAR Driver Erik Jones Wasn’t Alone in His Bad Luck in Las Vegas

Coming in 31st place in the Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas was no doubt a tough pill for Erik Jones to swallow, especially since he very nearly finished in a top 10 position. However, he wasn’t the only NASCAR driver who experienced a bit of bad luck in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The previous day, during the Xfinity Series race, Noah Gragson and Daniel Hemric were stopped in pit road. Either because their cars were too close or because Gragson was trying to sabotage his competition, Noah Gragson backed into Hemric, damaging the latter driver’s #18 Toyota Supra significantly.

Refusing to take the (possibly) disrespectful gesture lying down, Daniel Hemric charged Noah Gragson during his post-race interview and a full-blown fist fight ensued. The two drivers were pulled apart by Gragson’s team but not before each man landed a few punches.

Daniel Hemric says the brief fight was enough for him to consider them even. “There’s a hole in the nose of my car and he got popped in the eye,” said Hemric post-fight. “Where I stand from, we’re in pretty good shape.”