Futures remain uncertain for Erik Jones, Ty Dillon after top fives at Talladega
With their racing futures uncertain, Erik Jones and Ty Dillon survived the uncertainty of multiple overtime attempts at Talladega Sunday to finish in the top five.
Jones finished second to Denny Hamlin while Dillon was third.
For Jones, who has five races left in his tenure at Joe Gibbs Racing, it was his best result of the season and his eighth top five.
Dillon has five races left at Germain Racing before it closes. He earned the best result of his Cup career and gave the No. 13 team its third top five in 420 Cup starts. All three have come at superspeedways.
Jones, who has three top fives and one top 10 in the last five races, is still looking for a ride after JGR announced earlier this season he’d be replaced by Christopher Bell next year.
“I’m still working for 2021,” Jones said after Sunday’s race. “There’s still some things I’m trying to work out, get locked in for next year.
“I don’t know (if the good result) really changes my hand at all with them. The teams I’m in discussion with I’ve been in discussion with a for a while anyway. I don’t know that this is going to change it.
“I’ve told teams here in the last few months, I know I can do it, I’ve won a couple of these races and feel like we could have won more along the way. Haven’t always had it click here. I’ve enjoyed my time at JGR but wish we could have won more races along the way.
“I don’t know, this last month has been awesome as a driver, running strong, run up front. I don’t know it changes too much what I’ve got going.”
Jones said he didn’t think that better results by him earlier in the year “would have changed the decision that JGR made to make a change, having me move out of the 20 car.”
Dillon’s search for a new ride comes after Germain Racing announced last month it would close at the end of the year following the departure of its long-time sponsor, Gecio.
The team sold its charter to Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan, who will field a team with Bubba Wallace as their driver in 2021.
Dillon is in his fourth full-time Cup season.
“I have some anger built up, a little bit of fire, because I want that opportunity now for next year,” Dillon said after Sunday’s race. “I want it now because I believe in myself.”
Dillon, grandson of Richard Childress, said that while Childress “is involved in trying to make sure I get a ride, the opportunity really isn’t there at RCR for me. They have two drivers (his brother Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick) who are under contract. It’s not like I can bring enough money to start a race team over there.
“Hopefully we can do something to work together with another team. But, yeah, I haven’t really been a RCR driver now for four years. I hope people can understand that I can bring value to a team respectfully, not just because of who I am but because of my talent.”
Dillon said it “feels great” to deliver Germain Racing its best finish so close to “the end of our run together.
“I’m not a person that’s built to quit in anything. I want to keep getting stronger every day of my life as a human. That doesn’t change for racing, racing for a team. Really proud of that. We got (five) more to go. See if we can possibly top that coming to the end. All in all it’s been a great run, not just for the finishes but spending time and making relationships and memories with these guys.”