Top 10s for Rookies Suarez, Jones

NASCAR

Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones posted their career best Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finishes in Sunday’s Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Rookie drivers Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones posted their career best Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finishes in Sunday’s Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway.

The duo’s finishes of seventh and eighth, respectively, gave Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing something to be proud of after the 312-lap race at the desert oval.

“It’s a big deal because in the last two races we have struggled,” said Suarez, who battled back from some early issues to score the top-10 finish. “We didn’t have the speed and the communication wasn’t great, but we’ve been working very hard trying to work on chemistry, communication and for sure we’ve been getting better. Yesterday in the last practice, in the happy hour, I felt very good about the car. 

“I feel like we were going to have a shot to have some fun in the race and I wasn’t wrong. The team did a very good job.”

Jones, who scored his first career Camping World Truck Series win at Phoenix two years ago, qualified inside the top-10 and kept his Toyota there for the bulk of the day. 

“A solid day for us,” he said. “Definitely the best day overall for the 5-Hour Energy Camry. Just well put together. We got better all day, had good pit stops, good on pit road, executed well and did everything we needed to do to run in the top 10.”

Along with Suarez, Jones took part in a test at Phoenix back in January and said it was definitely beneficial to his effort on Sunday.

“I think it helped a lot,” he said. “It was able to at least give us a good baseline to start with. I think every time we start coming back to these tracks for the second time we’re just going to be that much better and that much stronger. It was a big deal. I hope we test somewhere else this year for sure.”

 

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