Erik Jones disqualified following Richmond, enters must-win situation

by Justin Nguyen

Erik Jones‘ hopes of advancing into the Monster Energy Cup Series‘ Round of 12 just took a turn. Hours after finishing fourth in Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway to complete a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep of the top four positions, his #20 Toyota Camry failed inspection, resulting in a disqualification and relegating him to last (thirty-eighth).

In particular, Jones’ car failed its rear toe inspection:

Jones, who was fourteenth in the sixteen-driver playoff grid following the Richmond race, was originally three points away from the cut-off line with 2,049. William Byron is currently twelfth and holds the edge over the four drivers below him needed to advance to the next round.

For the 2019 season, NASCAR introduced a new disqualification policy that replaced the “encumbered” rule. Under the new inspection standards, a disqualified driver’s finish and points are taken away entirely. Jones is the first Cup driver to be disqualified under the new rules.

With the disqualification, Jones falls to sixteenth in the playoff standings as he will receive just one point as a last-place finisher. He will now have to win the Round of 16 finale at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval if he wishes to qualify for the next round. In the inaugural Bank of America Roval 400 in 2018, he finished thirtieth.

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