By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
On April 6, 2013, Erik Jones made his NASCAR debut in the Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway at the age of 16. Since then, the young driver found at the Snowball Derby by Kyle Busch, and later signed by Busch, has been very successful in NASCAR.
In Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway, Jones will make his 100th career NASCAR start in the No. 20 Reser’s Main Street Bistro Toyota Camry.
In 2013 and 2014, Jones was limited to tracks less than 1.1-mile in length due to his age. NASCAR’s age rule for the Truck Series prevented the Byron, Michigan native from competing on tracks larger than 1.1-miles.
In the 17 races Jones competed in during these two years, he racked up four victories. Jones won twice at Phoenix International Raceway, once at Iowa Speedway, and once at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Jones was also able to make his debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2014. In the three starts he made, he scored three Top 10s.
Jones finally was able to compete full-time in the Truck Series in 2015, after he turned 18-years of age in May of 2014. Jones went on to win three races, score 11 top fives, and 20 Top 10s in the 23-race season. Jones also captured the championship while driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
In an unexpected development, Jones also made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2015. First, Jones filled in for an injured Busch at Kansas. Jones had an impressive run at Kansas until a late race crash ended his race. Later in the season, Jones filled in for a suspended Matt Kenseth.
At the beginning of the 2016 season, Jones moved up to the Xfinity Series, where he now drives the No. 20 Gamestop Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. So far this season, Jones has scored four wins, including two of the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash races that included heat racing.
In Jones’ 99 starts to date, he has scored 13 wins, 19 poles, 46 top fives, and a staggering 71 Top 10s. Jones currently has 55 Truck Series starts, 41 Xfinity Series starts, and three Cup Series starts. Another impressive fact is the fact that Jones has only failed to finish a race eight times since he made his NASCAR debut in 2013.
With four races left in the 2016 Xfinity Series season, and a deal to move up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in a second Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry, sponsored by 5 Hour Energy, Jones has plenty of time to add to these stats.
For now, Jones will focus on the opportunity to win the first ever NASCAR Xfinity Series Chase for the Championship.