DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Erik Jones, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, left, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, talk on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Costly mistake means driver misses the playoffs


Rookie Cup driver Erik Jones had a shot at wrapping up both a playoff spot and possibly Rookie of the Year nod in Richmond last night. As it turned out, one of those is gone.

Jones needed to pull off a victory at the Federated Auto Parts 400 to secure a spot in the playoff field, but tells ESPN.com that a gear mistake on the final restart of the night cost him his shot.

"Well, I was hoping we'd try to make it three wide and make something happen, you know?" Jones said. "We were just going to have to bully our way to the front, and unfortunately we just didn't get the chance.  I just missed third gear and messed up. I mean, I don't know if I've ever missed a shift before."

Jones had managed to stay in the thick of things for nearly the entire race, but the restart blunder moved him out of the top 5 finishers. Kyle Larson took the checkered flag, Jones finished 6th.