MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 6, 2014)- Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) and Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) jointly announced today that Erik Jones will compete full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2015 for KBM and run a part-time schedule for JGR in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
Running a part-time schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series the last two seasons, Jones has registered three wins, one pole, six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 8.7 across 16 starts. The Michigan native picked up his first career Truck Series victory at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway last November, when at the age of 17 years, five months and nine days old, at the time became the youngest winner of a NASCAR National Series event. This season, he added wins at Iowa Speedway in Newton and Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway and collected his first career pole in July at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
Ryan "Rudy" Fugle will call the shots for Jones' championship campaign in the Truck Series next season. The New York native led KBM's No. 51 Tundra team to a series-leading six wins,including Jones' historic Phoenix victory, and an Owner's Championship as crew chief in 2013 and has contributed to an additional 10 wins in his role as race engineer for the organization during the 2012 and 2014 seasons.
"To have a chance to run full-time in the Camping World Truck Series in the first year that I'm eligible to do so is huge and there is no better opportunity in the series than to drive Toyota Tundras for Kyle Busch Motorsports," said Jones. "Rudy (Fugle) and I have developed a great relationship the last few years and we're going to have a quality team with a lot of familiar faces around us. I'm confident that I'll be able to take what I've learned running a part-time schedule the last two seasons and be able to go out and challenge for wins week in and week out and be a contender for the championship next season."
"Erik is more than ready to take the next step in his career and compete for a championship running full-time in the Truck Series next year," KBM owner Kyle Busch said. "Towards the end of this season, he had a stretch where he was behind the wheel for five of six races on all types of tracks and each week he went out, ran up front and showcased how talented he is at such a young age. Darrell (Wallace Jr.) was able to put us in the mix for our first driver's championship this year and when you combine all the support we receive from Toyota with the people we have in place at KBM -- from the crew chiefs, the pit crews, everyone at KBM Chassis and in the fab shop --, I don't see any reason why Erik won't be able to do the same next season."
Jones made his Nationwide Series debut for JGR at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway in July, qualifying fourth, leading one lap and ending the day with a seventh-place finish. He followed his successful debut up with an eighth-place finish in the August race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
"I feel like my success at KBM the last two seasons has opened the door to this opportunity with Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY Series and I'm grateful for what everyone at Toyota, KBM and JGR has done to help make this possible," Jones said. "JGR has collected 100 wins in the series and I'm ready to take what I've learned in just a handful of races this year and be able to go out next year and help them bring home more victories. When you add the experience I will gain in the XFINITY Series to the 23-race Truck Series schedule, I'll be gaining valuable seat time in the best equipment as I continue to climb the ladder in NASCAR and I couldn't be more thankful to be where I am so early in my career."
Announcements on truck number and sponsor for Jones' Truck Series effort are forthcoming as well as total number of races, his crew chief, car number and sponsors for his part-time schedule in the XFINITY Series.
Jones will conclude his 2014 schedulethis weekend at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway by performing double duty for the first time in his career. The talented youngster will be looking to repeat as the winner of the Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in the No. 51 Dollar General Tundra on Friday night and then hop behind the wheel of the No. 20 GameStop Camry in search of his first career Nationwide Series win in Saturday's DAV 200 - Honoring America's Veterans.