MOORESVILLE, N.C. (November 5, 2013) - Erik Jones will be "Awake at the Wheel" sporting a new campaign for Wake UP Narcolepsy (WUN) when he takes the green flag Friday night for the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway (PIR). Making his fifth and final appearance for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra for the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season, Jones will be giving WUN - a leading nonprofit dedicated to speeding narcolepsy diagnosis through greater awareness and funding research for a cure - their first appearance onboard a Truck Series entry.
Although the dream of clinching the 2013 Truck Series owner's championship may now be lost for the No.51 team, Jones has the chance to put a KBM Tundra into victory lane for the third year in a row at PIR. If the 17-year-old were to follow suit of Brian Scott's 2012 victory and owner-driver, Kyle Busch's from 2011, he would complete the trifecta as well as become the youngest driver to win a NCWTS event. So far the Byron, Michigan native has yet to finish outside the top-ten in four starts behind the wheel of the No. 51 Toyota Tundra.
Since Jones' last appearance in the NCWTS in September at Iowa Speedway in Newton, he has been driving KBM's No. 51 Super Late Model - bringing home a victory during their first event together, the 42nd Annual Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway. Jones now joins boss, Kyle Busch, and only four other drivers who have been able to win the most prestigious Super late Model events in the country, the Winchester 400 and Snowball Derby.
Erik Jones, Driver of the No. 51 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:
The Lucas Oil 150 is your last NCWTS race for the season, what is your mind set going into the event?
"I have had a lot of fun in the starts I've been fortunate enough to have in the trucks. Phoenix will be a very unique track to close the season out on. We are going to the race track looking for a win, we have had some strong trucks this season, and I think we have made the best of the four starts that we have had. Phoenix will be a much different race than all of the other tracks we have been to this year, but I'm really looking forward to it."
What have you learned from running in the NCWTS with KBM this season?
"I have learned a lot this season in the trucks. We have learned and grown as a team, and become better every time that we get to work together. I have enjoyed working with Rudy (Fugle, Crew Chief) this year, and all of the guys on the No. 51 Tundra, it's been a lot of fun. The best race so far this year was the first truck race at Iowa. We went there and had a really strong truck - we were able to contend for the win and bring home a second-place finish. That was a really special moment for me. Hopefully we can go to Phoenix and do the same and finish the year strong."
Rudy Fugle, Crew Chief of the No. 51 Toyota Tundra:
Kyle Busch Motorsports has won the last two Truck Series race at PIR. Do you think rookie Erik Jones can make it three in a row this weekend?
"I do. Erik has done a really good job for us in the four previous starts he's made this year in the 51. It's not easy learning these trucks, much less getting in them once every couple of months and trying to build on what you learned the last time you were in it. We are taking a proven truck with us this weekend - its Kyle's favorite. In 12 starts it has five wins including Bubba's most recent win at Martinsville. I have faith that Erik can make it three in a row for KBM this weekend."
Erik Jones, No. 51 Toyota Tundra:
KBM07- KBM07 will make its fifth start of the 2013 season in Friday night's Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. In 12 previous starts this Toyota Tundra has been to victory lane five times, most recently with Darrell Wallace, Jr. at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Over the past three seasons, KBM07 has accumulated one pole (Kyle Busch, 2011) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and 601 laps led en route to eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.
Erik Jones 2013:
* Making his fifth and final starts for KBM in this weekend's Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway
* Winner of the 42nd Annual Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway
* Accomplished a NCWTS career-best finish of second in the July race at Iowa Speedway followed by a ninth place finish there in August
* Finished ninth in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, the same result that KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch produced in his Truck Series debut at Indianapolis Raceway Park in August of 2001
* Gained the most positions on-track (27) in the N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway to bring home his second top-10 finish for KBM in just his second series start
* Became the first 16-year-old to compete in a NCWTS event since KBM owner Kyle Busch finished ninth at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in October of 2001
Erik Jones 2012:
* Won the prestigious Snowball Derby Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., outdueling KBM owner Kyle Busch in the closing laps to secure the victory
* Became the first 15-year-old driver ever to compete in the ARCA Racing Series, making his debut at the Mobile ARCA 200 at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway
* Posted four top-five and five top-10 finishes while leading a total of 103 laps across 10 ARCA starts
* Qualified inside the top 10 for all 10 races and posted two third-place finishes, June 24 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and Aug. 11 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich.
Erik Jones Career:
2011 - Became the first non-Florida native to win the Governor's Cup 200 Super Late Model race at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in over 30 years (11/21/11)
2011 - Posted seven fast time awards and two feature wins en route to the JEGS/CRA All-Star Tour championship
2010 - Became the youngest winner in the 41-year history of the prestigious Oktoberfest ASA Late Model event at LaCrosse Fairground Speedway in West Salem, WI (10/9/10)
2010 - At age 14 became the youngest winner in ASA Late Model History, when he won the Bob Cross Memorial at Dixie Motor Speedway in Birch Run, Mich. (8/20 /10), breaking the record of 16 years of age - previously held by current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Landon Cassill.
Kyle Busch Motorsports' No. 51 Tundra:
- After 20 events, ranks second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner point standings - 32 points behind the series-leading No. 88 team
- Leads the NCWTS with four wins and nine top-five finishes; ranks second with 14 top-10 finishes
- Has led 359 laps and completed 93.3% of laps attempted (2887/3093) resulting an average finish of 9.8
- Kyle Busch has registered four wins, seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 5.3 across 10 starts
- 17-year-old Erik Jones produced his series-best finish of second in the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway in Newton (7/13/13) to go along with three ninth-place finishes, resulting in an average finish of 7.2 across four starts
- Chad Hackenbracht produced his series-best finish of second in the Inaugural Truck Series 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (9/1/13) and posted an average finish of 15.0 across four starts
- Denny Hamlin captured the pole, led 65 laps and finished sixth in his lone Truck Series start at Martinsville Speedway
Last NCWTS Event - WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth:
Kyle Busch started the 147-lap event from the 11th position and led two laps around the Fort Worth track before engine problems began to plague the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra. Eventually, the engine would expire on lap 97 of the 147-lap event and relegate the Kyle Busch Motorsports team to a 28th-place finish in the Lone Star State.
Jones Last NCWTS Event - Fan Appreciation 200 at Iowa Speedway:
After laying down the second fastest lap in qualifying - missing the pole by a mere 0.16 seconds - Jones No. 51 Toyota Tundra proved to be a bear during the Fan Appreciation 200 at Iowa Speedway in Newton. The 17-year-old driver had his hands full, but managed to cross the finish line in the ninth position - his fourth consecutive top-10 finish in four career NCWTS starts.
The Fugle File:
Crew chief Rudy Fugle begins his first stint as a crew chief at KBM after serving as the lead engineer for KBM's No. 18 Tundra in 2012. Fugle picked up his first career win in the N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 17, 2013 and has led the No. 51 team to four wins to date this season. The New York native previously served as a Truck Series crew chief for nine races with Justin Lofton at Germain Racing in 2011, posting one top-10 finish. Fugle held the position of Nationwide Series crew chief at Germain from September of 2009 throughout the 2010 season, guiding Michael Annett to three top-10 finishes across 42 races.
Fugle called the shots for one Truck Series races at Phoenix with Justin Lofton in 2011 and three Nationwide Series events with Michael Annett between 2009 and 2010.