Erik Jones began the Busch Clash inside the No.20 Toyota Camry from the 12th spot.
Initially, he followed his team-mate and defending Cup champion Kyle Busch with support over the first few laps.
That’s where he first moved inside the Top 10 before he gained a few spots in 6th behind another team-mate in Denny Hamlin.
Jones stayed ahead of the pack until the first yellow on lap 25 when like some drivers, he chose to make his first stop.
From the 2nd green flag, he restarted in 3rd, where the inside line may not be his type, having dropped a few places towards the back half of the Top 10.
Though, when he pitted on Lap 47, unfortunately, this hit a snag when Jones entered a bit too far his pit box, which cost time and position at the back end on the race track.
The Big One carnage and strategy for survival gave him a lifeline
However, he earned his first reprieve on Lap 68 thanks to the three-way pile up from Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski & Joey Logano.
He and his team sought some much-needed changes to the No.20 Toyota Camry ahead of the next restart, having avoided the front stretch melee.
With two laps left, Jones copped a front hood scratch.
But the damage wasn’t as severe as first thought when he slowed down up high at turn 3.
During the very last caution of the day, he may have got involved tagging Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott.
Though, thankfully another car didn’t smash straight into Jones having spun out off Turn 4 & still in good faith.
In return, while his crew bandaged the engine hood on time; the equipment still looks decent to finish the race.
With the positive mindset Erik Jones recovered from the back half of the field to be in the Top 6, he used his best high line & help from Denny Hamlin, whose a lap down before hijacking the entire field for the Busch Clash win.
A combination of strategy & survival alongside a decent race car helped Jones tweak the necessary changes between yellow flag breaks both on the track & pit road will be an excellent springboard to help him win the Daytona 500.
It became his best hope before using his secret weapon up the top lane to jump ahead of everybody for the best possible start that Erik Jones wanted in 2020.
Remember, he won the Daytona summer race in 2018 as his first NASCAR Cup Series win.
The experience he encountered last time will boost his chances of completing a magnificent Daytona Speedweeks campaign with two decent silverware under his belt.
He can learn the fantastic inspiration from team-mate Denny Hamlin who helped drafted him out on the last available lap of the Busch Clash.
Hamlin knows what it’s like to win The Great American Race, having won it last year.
And Joe Gibbs should keep the big trophy in company for the second straight year this time with Erik Jones who deserves an extended run against the big boys regularly from now on.
For now, eyes on the prize come Daytona 500 on Sunday, hoping he can unlock this greatest treasure in the history of NASCAR.