Rookie Report: Tales of the Turtles 400

No rookies finish inside top 10, first time in 11 races

By Dominic Aragon
September 17, 2017

All five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidates were among the 40 starters in the Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday.

Below is a breakdown of how each fared.

Dillon finished off of the lead lap for the fourth consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

Dillon started the race in 23rd. He finished the first stage in 25th, one lap down and the second stage in 27th, two laps down.

Dillon went on to finish the race in 28th, five laps down.

“We were too far off to start the first stage,” Dillon said. “I was way too loose and didn’t have any grip on entry and exit. My team made changes to get us handling better, but we had lost too much ground to the leaders by then.

“We’ve grown a lot as a team this year and the next step is to start these races stronger. We always get to where we need to be later in the race, but we need to be there from the time that we unload on Friday morning.”

Dillon remains 24th in driver’s standings.

Daniel Suarez was the highest finishing rookie for the first time in five races.

Suarez started 13th, the highest starting rookie. He finished the first stage in ninth and the second stage in 12th, earning a total of two stage points.

Suarez went on to finish the race in 12th. It was the 11th time this season he was the highest finishing rookie.

Suarez remains 20th in driver’s standings with nine races left in the season.

LaJoie picked up his lowest finish in the last seven Cup Series races with his result at Chicagoland.

LaJoie had to start at the rear of the field for “unapproved adjustments,” per NASCAR.

During the first stage, the BK Racing Driver fell one lap down before the lap 30 mark. LaJoie also earned a too fast exiting penalty under a cycle of green flag pit stops in the first stage.

LaJoie finished the first stage in 37th, four laps down, and the second stage in 36th, seven laps down.

LaJoie ultimately finished the race in 36th, 11 laps down.  

Gaulding started and finished as the lowest rookie at Chicagoland.

Gaulding started the race 36th in his first race back with Premium Motorsports since Bristol last month. He was the first rookie to go one lap down before lap 15.

Gaulding finished the first stage in 39th, four laps down, and the second stage in 38th, eight laps down.

Gaulding went on to finish the race in 38th, 13 laps down, his lowest finish of the season.

Jones snapped a streak of six consecutive top-10 finishes with his finish at Chicagoland.

Although he qualified 24th, Jones started the race in the rear for a tire change, per NASCAR.

Jones was given a penalty in the first stage of the race for too fast exiting pit road during a cycle of green flag pit stops. He finished each both stages in 24th off of the lead lap.

Jones brought out a caution for a spin in Turn 4 on lap 210 after what appeared to be a downed right-rear tire.

Jones went on to finish the race in 33rd, eight laps down, his lowest finish in seven races.

The Furniture Row Racing driver dropped one position to 19th in driver’s standings.

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Team Chevy

12) Daniel Suarez

28) Ty Dillon (-5 LAPS)
33) Erik Jones (-8 LAPS)
36) Corey LaJoie  (-11 LAPS)
38) Gray Gaulding (-13 LAPS)

19) Erik Jones
20) Daniel Suarez
24) Ty Dillon
34) Corey LaJoie
35) Gray Gaulding

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)