MOORESVILLE, N.C. (September 3, 2013) – The return of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) to Iowa Speedway in Newton means the return of 17-year-old Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) driver, Erik Jones. Making his fourth of five scheduled starts in the No. 51 Toyota Care Tundra, the rookie from Byron, Michigan is eager to get back in the field and harvest his first NCWTS victory during the Iowa 200 on Sunday, Sept. 8.
Competing at the Newton, Iowa facility earlier this year, Jones was the talk of the town after battling against series regulars Timothy Peters and Ty Dillon for an impressive second-place finish. Unlike in July, the green flag is set to drop mid-afternoon when the sun is high over the .875-mile oval which is known to create slick track conditions. However, Jones is calm and cool about the situation with his experience in the ARCA Racing Series during the 2012 season.
Since his last visit in the NCWTS, Jones has been busy behind the wheel of a Venturini Motorsports Toyota Camry in the ARCA Racing Series. Appearing first at Pocono Raceway, the “Tricky Triangle” tricked him out of a victory for the second time this year. Leading the majority of the 50-lap race, Jones came to a halt with two laps remaining due to an untimely mechanical issue. Determined to not let another race slip through his fingers, Jones claimed his first ARCA victory a week later in front of a home state crowd at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway.
In three Truck Series starts this season, the teenage hot shoe has yet to finish outside the top 10. He came home ninth in his series debut at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April and followed it up the following week with another ninth-place finish at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway. After a two-month hiatus, Jones produced his best performance to date – a runner-up finish at Iowa Speedway in Newton. The talented youngster aims to keep his streak alive in Sunday’s 200-lap event and hopes to do so by finishing one position better this time around and end the day with his first trip to victory lane.
Concluding the Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland on Sunday, Jones will appear once more in the NCWTS during the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix (Az.) International Raceway on Friday, Nov. 8.
Erik Jones, Driver of the No. 51 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:
What are your expectations returning to Iowa for the second time this season?
“This will be my second time running at Iowa in a truck, but my third time on the track. It’s a place I feel really comfortable at and after how well we performed there in July, I think we will have a solid Toyota Tundra right off the trailer. Rudy (Ryan Fugle, crew chief) and I have really started to bond and understand each other in such a short time. We were so close to the win last time, so we are going back determined.”
It has been almost two months since racing in the NCWTS, what have you been doing?
“We have been able to run a few ARCA races and a few late model races in the past couple months. We were finally able to get the monkey off our back from Pocono and get our first ARCA win at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway. Being from Michigan I’ve raced at Berlin a number of times in a late model but never got a win, so that one was really special. Now I’m hoping to carry this momentum into Iowa. I am really confident in my KBM guys and it would be great to get a win with them in my first season.”
Rudy Fugle, Crew Chief of the No. 51 Toyota Tundra:
Erik was so strong in his last visit to Iowa, does he have what it takes to get to victory lane this weekend?
“Absolutely. Although Erik is young he has a lot of talent. He has been competitive every time he’s been behind the wheel of this No. 51 and turned a lot of heads the last time he raced at Iowa. Erik actually went with us to Canada last weekend and spotted for Chad (Hackenbracht), so he learned a lot there and when he’s not in a truck for KBM he is out running ARCA races, and winning ARCA races, so he is staying busy – getting good seat time. We are taking the same truck he ran at Iowa earlier this year and the same truck Kyle (Busch) raced and won with at Bristol. We will race during the day this time around which will mean less grip – it will make for a great race on Sunday – we just need to finish one spot better.”
No. 51 Toyota Tundra – Iowa Speedway Advance
Erik Jones, No. 51 Toyota Tundra:
Chassis KBM05: The No. 51 KBM team will unload chassis KBM05 for this weekend’s Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland on Sunday. This is the same Toyota Tundra that Jones piloted to a career best second-place finish in the American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen earlier this year and most recently won the 16th Annual UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway (August) with Kyle Busch. In eight starts since 2011, this Tundra has an average start of 14.25 and an average finish of 13.63 including one win and two top-five finishes.
Notes of Interest:
Erik Jones: Iowa Speedway:
- Has one NCWTS start – started seventh and finished second (July, 2013)
- Has one ARCA Racing Series start – started sixth and finished 11 (July, 2012)
- According to NASCAR’s Loop Data, Jones ranks first in Average Running Position (4.215) and second in Driver Rating (122.8)
Notes of Interest:
Erik Jones 2013:
- Making his fourth of five starts for KBM in this weekend’s Iowa 200 at Iowa Speedway in Newton
- Accomplished a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career-best finish of second in the July race at Iowa Speedway
- Finished ninth in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, the same result that KBM owner 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 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 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.