The race went from disappointing to downright frustrating in a matter of seconds for Jones as the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates made contact after a slide job by Bell. Both drivers hit the wall, but the driver of the No. 20 Toyota of Jones got the worst of the damage and was left to limp around the apron until the checkered flag flew. In fact, his tire shredded to pieces on the apron as he crossed the start/finish line to end the race.
A battle for the win between teammates ended with them both hitting the wall!
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) October 21, 2017
“We were getting run down by the No. 18 (Bell) and I was thinking we were going to be kind of racing each other for it and it was going to be close… but it wasn’t much of a race,” a visibly disappointed Jones said on pit road after the race. “It was more of just we wrecked and then he went on to win, so it is what it is. We had a good car and unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.
“You know that’s racing. It’s not always going to go your way and you know it definitely didn’t go our way today. We just have to come back, I believe Texas is our next one of these, so come back and do it a little bit better.”
When pressed a little further for his thoughts on the move, Jones didn’t mince his words but attempted to shrug off his disappointment.
“I mean it’s not dirt racing, you know. He’s not clear,” he explained. “I can’t just stop on the top. I didn’t expect him just to drive in on the bottom so far, he wouldn’t be able to hold his lane. It’s unfortunate. The Reser’s Camry was really good and I thought we were going to race for the win and unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a race. It was more of a wreck.
“That’s the first race in a while we’ve had a good XFINITY car and you know I was just thinking we were going to have a good shot there to win, but it is what it is. It’s going to happen.”
For his part, Bell did say he planned to apologize to Jones, though he didn’t express much regret for making the move that ultimately won the race for him.
“Just really thankful to be here and bummed at the way it finished, but happy it held on,” Bell said. “I was getting tire smoke in the cab those last couple laps and I was worried that we weren’t going to make it.
“We’re all riding around on the top there and our tires are really old and worn out and everybody is sliding around and I got a big run off of two. I tried to drive in really deep into turn three and clear him and get back to the top, but I hate that we didn’t get to race it out and he didn’t get to finish, but it’s my first XFINITY win and it’s something I’m really proud of and really proud of all these guys who have given me this JBL Camry.”
Jones will get another shot at a trip to Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400. He’ll start seventh behind the wheel of the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota.