NASCAR Update: Ford Nears Significant Milestone, Erik Jones Status

Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL — August 12, 2020

NASCAR returns to Daytona International Speedway this weekend, but not to run exclusively on the oval. The road course that hosts the 24 Hours of Daytona will feature the Cup series for the 1st time, with a slight modification.

The chicane on the backstretch is similar to the Bus Stop on the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After returning to the high banks in the traditional Turns 3 & 4, the chicane (Turns 13 & 14) added to the trioval is directly from the influence of the Roval. In fact, the curbs, or “turtles” as they are referred to, were borrowed from Charlotte.

All of NASCAR’s Top 3 series and ARCA will compete with the action starting Friday. The schedule is as follows.

  • Friday, August 14 – ARCA Menards Series, 5 p.m. (MAVTV)
  • Saturday, August 15 – NASCAR XFINITY Series, 3 p.m. (NBCSN)
  • Sunday, August 16 – NASCAR RV & Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Noon (FS1)
  • Sunday, August 16 – NASCAR Cup Series, 3 p.m. (NBC)

The road course at Daytona takes the place of Watkins Glen which was unable to host this year’s race due to the pandemic.

Ford Performance Ready to Celebrate a Notable Milestone

Kevin Harvick’s doubleheader sweep at Michigan International Speedway last weekend gave Ford 699 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins. Ford’s first victory came on June 25, 1950, when Shirtless Jimmy Florian upset the field at Dayton Speedway, beating the likes of NASCAR Hall of Famers Lee Petty and Curtis Turner.

Overall, there have been 85 drivers who have won at least one NASCAR Cup Series race in a Ford with NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett, who won Ford’s first series championship in 1965, as the all-time leader with 43.

Lasco Press Photo

Ford leads all manufacturers with 13 NASCAR Cup Series wins in 22 starts this season, which marks the best start since 1997 when the Blue Oval won 14 times in the same number of races. Ford went on to win 19 times that season, a mark that was equaled in 2018 when Joey Logano won the series championship and Ford captured the manufacturers’ title.

Joey Logano NASCAR Cup Series Champion / Lasco Press Photo

The most wins Ford has ever amassed in a season during the modern era (1972-present) is 20, which occurred in 1994. Rusty Wallace led Ford that season with eight victories while Ernie Irvan and Geoffrey Bodine were next with three apiece.

Ford Dominance

Kevin Harvick winning back-to-back at MIS has given Ford six consecutive wins at the manufacturer’s home track and a stranglehold on the Michigan Heritage trophy.

Kevin Harvick’s Ford Mustang / Lasco Press Photo

After his win on Sunday, Kevin Harvick moved into a tie for 10th-place on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list as he tied NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace with his 55th victory. Harvick, who leads the series with six wins in 2020, has also made a rapid rise up the Ford list as well, despite the fact he is only in his fourth season with the manufacturer. Harvick has now won 20 Cup races with Ford, which makes him one of only 13 drivers to win 20 or more, and ranks 13th all-time after tying and then passing NASCAR Hall of Famer Davey Allison and Greg Biffle over the weekend.

The regular season is winding down and multiple Ford drivers are competing for the championship. Currently, Ford holds down the top two positions in the NASCAR Cup Series. Kevin Harvick leads the way and has a commanding 137-point lead over second-place Brad Keselowski in the regular-season points standings. Overall, Ford currently has eight drivers in the 16 Cup playoff positions with four races remaining before the playoffs start.

Erik Jones Will Not Return to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2021

We learned last week that Byron, Michigan native Erik Jones, and JGR will part ways after the conclusion of the 2020 season. This week we learned that Erik was surprised that the team made the decision they did.

In a television interview, Jones spoke with NBCSN “I was blindsided a little bit, I didn’t really expect it coming from our talks. I thought we were moving in a good direction, but at the end of the day, I’ve had a great really eight years, almost, with Joe Gibbs Racing between Xfinity and Cup, and I’m thankful for that time. It’s good to see the support that’s been out there the last few days on social media, and everybody that’s coming out in support has been awesome. We’ve got a great few opportunities out there, which has been good to see over the next few weeks.”

Erik Jones / Lasco Press Photo

Great opportunities, yes! Jones becomes the top free agent during NASCAR’s silly season when deals are getting done for next year. Rumors, driving for Rick Hendrick in the 48 car that Jimmie Johnson vacates after this year or becoming the permanent replacement for Kyle Larson in the 42 car for Chip Ganassi after Matt Kenseth retires for the 2nd time.