Jones’ Chance to Shine

Erik Jones

Jones, a winner at Phoenix last season, looks to take the next step in his development with an opportunity to compete on bigger – and faster – tracks like Texas. (Photo: Getty Images)

Erik Jones returns behind the wheel of the potent Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 ride in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Team owner Kyle Busch has driven the truck to victory in four of the five races on the 2014 schedule, most recently last Friday’s Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway.

Now Jones, who turned 18 last week and is now eligible to run tracks 1.5-mile or longer, looks to continue the team’s success.

“Kyle and this No. 51 team have had a lot of success on the mile-and-a-half tracks already this year, so I hope to go out and keep that streak alive,” Jones said. “As a racer I always put my expectations high and I feel very confident about the truck going into Texas. I think we have a shot to run in the top five, and contend for the win.”

Jones has shown his ability to win in a variety of divisions during the course of his young career including the Truck Series. In a limited schedule last year, Jones finished inside the top 10 in each of his five starts, topped by a win at Phoenix International Raceway. His November win made Jones the youngest winner in series history at 17 years, five months and nine days.

He looks to take the next step in his development with an opportunity to compete on bigger – and faster – tracks like Texas.

“Racing on my first mile-and-a-half track is something I have been looking forward too for a long time now,” Jones said. “It was great that NASCAR opened up the age to 16 for the Truck Series on short tracks, but still the main goal is to get on these big tracks. That’s where the bulk of the schedule is, so I think it’s something that every driver looks forward to.”

Jones made one start at Martinsville back in March in the No. 51 truck and had a solid day going until a late race spin relegated him to an 18th-place finish. Now he turns his attention to Friday night’s opportunity and says he’s fortunate to have a wealth of information and support at his disposal with a trio of veteran mentors ready to assist.

“I sat down with Kyle, Eric Phillips (crew chief), and Rudy Fugle (engineer) last week to talk about everything that comes with prepping for a mile-and-a-half track and all the details of Texas Motor Speedway,” Jones said. “They all briefed me on what to expect, and how to handle it all. I really think that’s a big help as a driver, especially going to somewhere new. Kyle is always a big help every weekend when I go to a racetrack in the truck.”

Motor Racing Network – "The Voice of NASCAR" – will have live coverage of the Camping World Truck Series from Texas, presented by Keystone Light. Air time for Friday's WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 is 8:30 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at


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