There’s just something about Phoenix: Erik Jones qualified fourth for the Shriners 500 at Phoenix Raceway this past weekend, marking the best qualifying effort for the team since LEGACY MOTOR CLUB was formed at the start of the 2023 season. Before that, the best starting position for Jones was a seventh-place effort at the 2023 season finale in Phoenix.

Bristol Test: Jones was one of three drivers who ran a wet weather tire test at Bristol Motor Speedway in early February, where the team tested different tire compounds on the NextGen car during wet conditions.

Jones knows Bristol: Jones started on the pole on August 19, 2017, at Bristol Motor Speedway during his first full-time NASCAR Cup Series season with a speed of 128.082mph. During that race, Jones led a dominating 260 laps – the most he’s led in a single race to date – but he ultimately ended up finishing second to race winner Kyle Busch.

Nemechek knows Bristol, too: Nemechek has ten starts at Bristol in the NASCAR Truck Series – eight on concrete and two on dirt. Of the eight on concrete, he has four top-five and six top-10 finishes, a 12th-place finish, and a 29th-place finish. On Bristol dirt, he has one pole position, a third-place finish, and one DNF.

Three is the magic number: Jones has been impressive at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as well over the years. He earned three pole awards in a row from 2015 – 2016, while sweeping both poles in the 2016 season. Results from these years include a fourth-place finish in 2015 and wins in the 2016 and 2017 spring events at Bristol.

Back-to-back: In the Xfinity Series, John Hunter Nemechek earned top-five finishes during his most recent three attempts at Bristol Motor Speedway, finishing third last fall in the event. While driving for LEGACY M.C. co-owner Maury Gallagher’s GMS Racing in 2019, Nemechek earned two top-five finishes at the half-mile. He has an average finish of sixth during his four Xfinity starts across the board at the legendary short track with a worst finish being 13th.

Single duty: This is the first weekend since the season-opening Clash event that Nemechek isn’t (literally) running between the Cup and Xfinity Series garages. This weekend he will focus his time on his first NextGen attempt at the half-mile in Thunder Valley.

Beshore for the steal: Crew chief of the No. 42 Dollar Tree Toyota Camry XSE Ben Beshore won the rain-marred Bristol dirt race with driver Kyle Busch on April 17, 2022. The race was delayed by rain and the track conditions changed throughout the event. On the final lap, the leaders tangled, and Busch was sitting in the cat-bird seat edging out Tyler Reddick at the stripe in a thrilling victory.

A new look: Bristol is making its return to concrete for this weekend’s event and bringing back its historic red and white painted walls. At the test session in February, Jones joined fellow competitors Zane Smith and Brad Keselowski to help turn back the clock and paint the track walls for this weekend’s event.


John Hunter Nemechek, Driver of the No. 42 Toyota Camry XSE:

“The first time for me at Bristol with the NextGen car is going to be interesting. There is a lot of work and prep going on with Trevor (Bayne) this week. I feel like Ben (Beshore) and I have a decent plan of attack. We are also going to be leaning on Erik (Jones) and the No. 43 team as they ran well there in the fall. For whatever reason the spring race at Bristol normally is different than the fall race there with track conditions, and not as many series racing there putting down rubber. The first year back with no dirt on it will be interesting to see what happens if the track widens out or not.”

“I would say that our goals this coming weekend or going to be competitive, try and run competitively throughout the race run all the laps, have great pitstops, and work together great as a team put some emphasis on qualifying as well. You don’t want to start in the back at Bristol because it doesn’t take very long to start getting into lapped traffic. I’m looking forward to this weekend – depending on how things go I may have to resurface my lucky boxers. I’m not superstitious but I’ll see how we’re feeling on race day.”

Ben Beshore, Crew chief of the No. 42 Dollar Tree Toyota Camry XSE:

Since you are a past winner on the dirt are you sad to see it leave?

“(Laughs), both have a unique set of challenges, the dirt had run its course, and it was time to get back to normal racing there, so I’m ok with it not being dirt. It’s a lot of extra work and prep for a one-off race so it’s a lot easier on the guys and teams from a time and expense standpoint to be a normal concrete race. John Hunter has done well there in Trucks and Xfinity so it should be a good weekend for us.”

Erik Jones, Driver of the No. 43 AdventHealth Toyota Camry XSE:

There is a chance of rain on Sunday, talk about the wet weather test and what you learned.

”The wet weather test in Bristol was interesting. We wet the track down, and it felt like it wasn’t that big of a deal; we could get pretty close, within a second or a second and a half of the normal lap time. At least having some laps on the track under those circumstances is nice. If we have to do it and if we have to go racing in it, I feel like we have some experience, which is pretty helpful with that. I think it helped us turn the potential of weather changing the race weekend into more of a positive.”

Dave Elenz, Crew chief of the No. 43 AdventHealth Toyota Camry XSE:

Talk about getting back on concrete twice this year and your overall thoughts on the wet weather test.

“We are looking forward to Bristol. We had a good test up there a few weeks ago. We tested some wet-weather tires, and that went pretty well. I think people get scared when you try something new, and they think it is going to be a big deal. We put the wet tires on and made some pretty good laps there. We are looking forward to the opportunity to put those on if it does rain during the race, but we are excited for Bristol overall. Erik is pretty good there, so having two concrete opportunities this year should be really good for us to get Erik dialed in for this race and the second race and get some consistency to it.”