Erik Jones and the No. 43 Petty GMS Motorsports team have a lot to be proud of following Sunday’s Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway, as they were ultra-competitive all day long and ended the race impressively in third position.
In a chaotic race, where many of the competitive cars fell by the wayside due to spins or other bad luck, the 25-year old Jones was the lone constant near the front of the field all race long.
While it was a good day, Jones can’t help but also feel frustrated.
“It was good. It feels good to be interviewed after the race, too. It’s awesome, but it’s frustrating too,” Jones explained after climbing from his car. “You’re that close and you have a car that you feel like can do it. The No. 43 FOCUSFactor Chevrolet definitely had it today. It was a matter of getting up front and taking advantage of clean air, and we did that a couple of times.”
Part of the frustration for the Michigan-native was that his lack of battling for wins in the last couple of seasons led to mistakes on restarts as Sunday’s race moved forward. Jones feels if his team keeps bringing cars, like the one he had on Sunday, they’ll return the iconic No. 43 to victory lane.
“A couple restarts just didn’t go our way. I probably could have done a better job here and there, and it just didn’t add up. I just haven’t raced up front a lot in the last year and a half,” Jones said. “There are some things I need to be better at. Hopefully I have a lot of time to work on that. We want to keep running upfront and if we keep doing that, we’re going to win some races.
“I’m really proud of this whole group. It’s been a big off season with the merger and everything we’ve done, so this is a very satisfying run for everybody and I just hope we can keep going.”
Overall, it was a complete weekend for Jones as he impressed in qualifying by securing the outside pole for the event. Jones then backed that strong qualifying result up with runner-up finishes in both Stages in the race and he came home an incredible third when the checkered flag was displayed on Sunday.
Jones also led 18 laps on the day, the most laps he has led in a single race since Darlington in May 2020. It was a true showcase of the potential strength of the Petty GMS Motorsports organization in race two of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Now, Jones and the No. 43 team will head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway sitting sixth in the championship standings, 17 spots higher than they were a season ago after the second race of the year.