Rookie Report: ISM Connect 300
Two rookies finish inside top 10 at New Hampshire
By Dominic Aragon and John Haverlin
September 25, 2017
LOUDON, N.H.—All five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidates were among the 39 starters in the ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday.
Below is a breakdown of how each fared.
NO. 13 TY DILLON
Dillon finished off of the lead lap for the fifth consecutive Cup Series race.
Dillon started the race 30th.
During the first stage, Dillon fell one lap down while running outside the top-30 before the lap 35 mark. He finished the first stage in 32nd, one lap down.
Dillon eventually finished the race in 22nd, two laps down.
The Germain Racing driver remains 24th in driver’s standings with eight races left in the season.
NO. 19 DANIEL SUAREZ
Suarez picked up his second top-10 finish in three races.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver started the race in 25th. He finished the first stage in 12th.
“We had the speed to run top-five in the long run, but we had a pit road speeding penalty, we had to start in the back twice,” Suarez said. “It was hard to pass here. We had good speed, short running speed. Track position wasn’t on our side in today’s race.”
Suarez ultimately finished the race in eighth-place finish, his tenth career top-10 finish in the Cup Series.
Suarez remains 20th in driver’s standings.
NO. 23 COREY LAJOIE
LaJoie picked up his best finish in seven races at New Hampshire.
The BK Racing driver started the race in 33rd. LaJoie fell off the lead lap around the lap 35 mark while running outside the top-30.
LaJoie finished the race 27th, three laps down. He remains 34th in driver’s standings.
NO. 55 GRAY GAULDING
Gaulding started and finished as the lowest rookie at New Hampshire.
Gaulding started the race in 34th.
Gaulding was the first rookie to fall off the lead lap. While running 37th, he went one lap down around the lap 15 mark.
The Premium Motorsports driver finished the first stage in 37th, two laps down.
Gaulding eventually finished 33rd, seven laps down, his best finish in four races.
Gaulding remains 35th in driver’s standings.
NO. 77 ERIK JONES
Jones finished as the highest rookie for the fifth time in the last six Cup Series races.
Jones started the race in eighth place. He finished each of the first two stages in fourth place, earning a total of 14 stage points.
“It was a good day,” Jones said. “We ran up in the top three for a lot of the day. It just didn’t quite have enough at the end unfortunately.
“We just missed the adjustments a little bit. Kind of got behind and never could quite get the car back. Good day for us, another top-10 day. We’ll take it and improve on it.”
Jones finished the race sixth; his 12th top-10 finish of 2017 and across his Cup Series career.
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
ROOKIE FINISHES AT NEW HAMPSHIRE, RACE 28/36
6) Erik Jones
8) Daniel Suarez (-5 LAPS)
33) Erik Jones (-8 LAPS)
36) Corey LaJoie (-11 LAPS)
38) Gray Gaulding (-13 LAPS)
UNOFFICIAL POINTS POSITION AFTER NEW HAMPSHIRE
19) Erik Jones
20) Daniel Suarez
22) Ty Dillon (-2 LAPS)
27) Corey LaJoie (-3 LAPS)
33) Gray Gaulding (-7 LAPS)
TOP FINISHING ROOKIES BY TRACK
1) Daytona; Corey LaJoie (24th)
2) Atlanta; Erik Jones (14th)
3) Las Vegas; Erik Jones (15th)
4) Phoenix; Daniel Suarez (7th)
5) Auto Club; Daniel Suarez (7th)
6) Martinsville; Erik Jones (12th)
7) Texas; Ty Dillon (17th)
8) Bristol; Ty Dillon (15th)
9) Richmond; Daniel Suarez (12th)
10) Talladega; Ty Dillon (13th)
11) Kansas; Daniel Suarez (7th)
12) Charlotte; Erik Jones (7th)
13) Dover; Daniel Suarez (6th)
14) Pocono; Erik Jones (3rd)
15) Michigan; Erik Jones (13th)
16) Sonoma; Daniel Suarez (16th)
17) Daytona; Erik Jones (9th)
18) Kentucky; Erik Jones (6th)
19) New Hampshire; Daniel Suarez (6th)
20) Indianapolis; Daniel Suarez (7th)
21) Pocono; Daniel Suarez (7th)
22) Watkins Glen; Daniel Suarez (3rd)
23) Michigan; Erik Jones (3rd)
24) Bristol; Erik Jones (2nd)
25) Darlington; Erik Jones (5th)
26) Richmond; Erik Jones (6th)
27) Chicagoland; Daniel Suarez (12th)
28) New Hampshire; Erik Jones (6th)