MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 8, 2013) – Erik Jones, who will make his third of five starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) behind the wheel of the No. 51 Toyota Tundra in Saturday night’s American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen at Iowa Speedway, believes that the “third times a charm.” After posting top-10 finishes in his track debuts at both Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway earlier this year, the rookie heads west for this weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) event, a track he is familiar with, in hopes of picking up where he left off more than three months ago.
In 2012 Jones visited Iowa Speedway in the ARCA Racing Series where, despite feeling under the weather, qualified sixth and was racing for the win until a late-race spin forced him to settle for an 11th-place finish. Although, Friday‘s practice session at the .875- mile track will be Jones first time on the track in a truck, the 17-year-old driver is confident he will pick up where he left off and he and his KBM team can focus more on getting the truck race ready.
During Jones’ three-month hiatus from the NCWTS, he was able to get behind the wheel of an ARCA car at Pocono (P.A.) Raceway with Venturini Motorsports. Starting in the fifth position, Jones took the lead from nine-time series champion Frank Kimmel after 23 laps and maintained the lead for over a quarter of the race. However, just after the halfway point, Jones was forced to restart at the tail end of the longest line due to a fuel miscalculation. With 20 laps remaining, Jones charged through the field and against all odds finished second.
Before climbing back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Toyota Tundra this weekend at Iowa, Jones will take part in the ARCA Midwest Tour’s Howie Lettow 150 at the Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin on Tuesday, July 9 in his family-owned late model. This is only Jones second late model appearance since beating now owner, Kyle Busch, for the win in the prestigious Snowball Derby.
Erik Jones, Driver of the No. 51 NCWTS ToyotaCare Tundra:
You raced at Iowa Speedway in the ARCA Racing Series last year. How will that help you in this weekend’s NCWTS event?
“Iowa is a unique racetrack. It races like a short track, but has some of the tendencies of a bigger racetrack. It’s a hard line to fight against mechanical and aero grip, but I know we are going to be able to get that right and have a strong run at Iowa. Racing there with ARCA last year, I feel will give me a jumpstart on getting in the truck and giving good feedback right away to Rudy (Fugle). At Martinsville, and Rockingham, I had to spend a lot of the first practices really getting to know my way around the racetrack.”
Since your last appearance with KBM what have you been doing to keep yourself “race ready”?
“It’s been tough to keep busy during the time off and not being at the racetrack. I raced an ARCA car at Pocono, but that’s all the racing I’ve been able to do. We are actually at Milwaukee Monday and Tuesday this week racing the late model, and it will be the first time back since January."
Rudy Fugle, Crew Chief of the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra:
Are you looking forward to having Erik back in the truck this weekend at Iowa Speedway?
“Yes. Erik is a young driver with a lot of talent. He had two impressive runs at Martinsville and Rockingham earlier this year and I look forward to working with him again at Iowa this weekend. It’s not easy at any age, much less 17, to get behind the wheel of a truck and be patient, give good feedback and make the right choices on the track. A lot of that is based on experience and Erik showed those qualities at two tracks he’s never been to, so I feel confident in a top five or even a win this weekend at Iowa, a track he has experience at, he has the talent to get it done.”
No. 51 Toyota Tundra – Iowa Speedway Advance
Erik Jones, No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra:
Chassis KBM05: Jones will pilot KBM05 in this weekend’s American Ethanol 200 powered by Enogen at Iowa Speedway. This Toyota Tundra has made five starts since 2011 and will make its second start of the 2013 season on Saturday. Most recently, Joey Coulter piloted the Tundra to a 15th-place finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April.
Notes of Interest:
Erik Jones 2013:
- Making his third of five starts for KBM in this weekend’s American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen at Iowa Speedway in Newton
- 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 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
- Was relegated to a 15th-place finish in the 2013 ARCA/CRA Super Series Super Late Model SpeedFest at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Ga. after being involved in a late-race accident
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, Wisc. (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.