Jones Wins Rookie of the Year

Erik Jones

"That was one of our big goals was to get the Rookie of the Year, and it's nice to close it out with that." (Photo: Getty Images)

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Erik Jones took home 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in his season behind the wheel of the No. 77 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing.

Jones finished his initial Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series campaign with five top fives, 14 top 10s and one pole.

"I think it's something to be proud of for all of us," Jones said. "You look back on the season, and starting out a new group over at Furniture Row racing, a second team there was a big step for us, and a lot of guys that obviously some hadn't been in the Cup Series, some had.  But a rookie crew chief, a rookie driver, and we were able to have a strong season, compete for some wins along the way, and end up with Rookie of the Year. So definitely one to be proud of. That was one of our big goals was to get the Rookie of the Year, and it's nice to close it out with that. 

Jones, who took top rookie honors by 14 points over Daniel Suarez, finished 21st in the season finale to snap a streak of two consecutive top 10s.

"I would say the race tonight wasn't one to remember for sure," Jones said. "Just off all weekend, just unloaded off, and never found the speed. I would say this is probably -- looking back at the year speed wise, one of our worst weekends, but it's unfortunate. Obviously we wanted to close the year out strong, but just didn't have the speed to do it tonight. Did what we could to stay competitive and try to fight, but just didn't have it."

Today's race marked the last for the No. 77 team and now Jones will head to Joe Gibbs Racing to drive the No. 20 Toyota in 2018. Jones will be joined by his current crew chief, Chris Gayle.

"Going into next year with the 20 car is going to be a big change for sure," Jones said. "It's obviously a group of guys that have been on the road for a long time with the 20 car, and then Chris coming over and taking the reins there I think is going to be really good, and especially me having some notes to go back on when we go to these tracks again is going to be a big benefit for myself."

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