MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 7, 2013) – This weekend 17-year-old Erik Jones will enter the gates of the famed “World’s Fastest ½ Mile” at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway on the hunt for a rifle along with a new companion. Replacing the No. 4 that was so recognizable from his 2011 JEGS/CRA All-Star Tour Championship, the 2011 Governor’s Cup victory, and the 2012 Snowball Derby will be a bold and feared No. 51 along the side of his Toyota Camry that belongs to NASCAR star Kyle Busch.
Jones made a name for himself last December when he raced side-by-side for several laps and eventually worked his way past Busch in the closing laps to win the 45th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway. Since then, the Byron, Mich. teen has joined forces with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) for a five-race schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). To date, Jones has yet to finish outside of the top 10, with a career best finish of second at Iowa Speedway in July. With one race remaining in his NCWTS schedule and Busch racing for the Sprint Cup Championship, the two decided Jones would represent KBM in three of the biggest Super Late Model events to conclude the 2013 season, beginning with the 42nd running of the Winchester 400.
“I have been looking forward to the 400 for a long time now,” Jones stated. “It’s a place that we have always had a lot of speed at, but just haven’t had the best fortune in the end. However, this year I look for that to change. I couldn’t be more excited to be running these big races with KBM. They are a top notch team who has a winning reputation. I am also really happy to have Rich Lushes back as Crew Chief. We have won a lot of races together, including the Snowball Derby last year. We have some really great chemistry and communication -- it’s always a pleasure to work with him.”
“This race is like no other,” the talented youngster continued. “Just getting a late model to make 400 laps is a challenge in itself. Then to add the stress that the high banks at Winchester put on a car, it’s one of the most difficult races in the country, which is why it would be such an honor to win.”
Last year Jones qualified sixth for the Winchester 400, directly behind now boss Kyle Busch. Unfortunately for Busch, an incident on lap five ended his hopes of gaining a rifle to put next to the one he already has hanging at KBM from his 2009 win. Jones however, went on to claim the lead on three separate occasions for a total of 65 laps. Running in the top five with 15 laps to go, Jones was collected and sent behind the wall and finished in the 12th position.
Jones’ No. 51 Camry will be outfitted with a special Kyle Busch Foundation “Project Pink: Protect Your Pair” paint scheme in an effort to raise awareness and money for Pretty In Pink - a Raleigh, N.C.- based foundation whose mission is to provide financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients regardless of their ability to pay. The car will hit the track for the first time Friday, Oct. 11 during two practice sessions for the ARCA/CRA Super Series. Practice will pick back up Saturday morning with qualifying at 5:00 p.m. ET. Sunday will consist of a quick Warm-Up Session at 11:00 a.m., an on track autograph session at 12:30 p.m. and the drop of the green flag at 2:00 p.m.
Notable wins for the KBM Super Late Model team since its inception in 2007 include: Wisconsin All-Star 100 at the Milwaukee Mile (Kyle Busch 2008), Red Bud 300 at Anderson Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009), Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009), Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009), SpeedFest at Lanier National Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009 & 2010), SpeedFest at Watermelon Capital Speedway (Kyle Busch 2012), Rowdy 251 at Berlin Raceway (Kyle Busch 2010, 2011 and 2012), All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TJ Reaid 2010), Slinger Nationals at Slinger Super Speedway (Kyle Busch 2011) the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway (Kyle Busch 2011) and the Howie Lettow Memorial at the Milwaukee Mile (Kyle Busch 2013).