Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that 18-year-old Erik Jones will pilot the No. 20 Toyota in three NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season.
Jones will make his debut behind the wheel of the JGR’s No. 20 Nationwide Series Camry for the first time on July 19 in Chicago before battling on the short track of Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, and competing at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to run some Nationwide races this year with Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Jones. “Since I wasn’t able to run a full season this year, adding to my Truck Series schedule was something I I’ve been working hard on. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be partnering with a team like JGR and have the chance to get behind the wheel of the No. 20 Toyota Camry. They are always a threat in the Nationwide Series. I was able to test with the team and Kevin Kidd (crew chief) a few weeks ago in Memphis and felt really comfortable. I have high expectations for all three races.”
Jones, who turned 18 years old just a few weeks ago on May 30, has already established himself as one of the sports impressive young talents. In five races in 2013 with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series, Jones finished in the top 10 in each start, earning two top-five finishes as well as his first career victory at Phoenix International Raceway. The victory made Jones the youngest winner in NCWTS history at 17 years, five months and nine days of age. Jones will attempt to duplicate his success in Phoenix in the Nationwide Series a day after defending his Truck Series race win.
Most recently Jones was out in front of the field late in the race just last week at Gateway Motorsports Park when his Toyota Tundra received contact from behind and was sent spinning leaving him a disappointing finish of 23rd. He has qualified in the top five in each of his three truck series races this season.
Jones has success at every level of his racing career and boasts several impressive achievements including becoming only the third driver in the 46-year history of the prestigious Snowball Derby Super Late Model race to win back to back titles (2012 and 2013). He won his first ARCA race at Berlin Raceway on August 10, 2013 after becoming the first 15-year old to ever compete in the Series during the 2012 season.
“We have a long history of working with talented young drivers and we think very highly of Erik,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “He has certainly been impressive in Kyle’s equipment in the truck series and I think we’re all anxious to see him perform in the Nationwide Series now.”