Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Jones Wants Win to ‘Cap Off’ Rookie Season

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

FORT WORTH, Texas – Erik Jones is hungry for that elusive first victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

A rookie this season while driving for Furniture Row Racing, Jones is poised to move to Joe Gibbs Racing as he replaces Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota Camry in 2018.

While teammate Martin Truex Jr. has enjoyed a banner season with seven wins en route to the overall points lead with three rounds to go, Jones has put together a roller coaster campaign of highs and lows. In August, the 21-year-old Michigan native drove to a stout runner-up finish at Bristol, but has failed to finish in the top five in eight of the previous nine races since.

During Friday media availability ahead of this weekend’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Jones mentioned the importance of giving the No. 77 crew a trip to Victory Lane before the year is up.

“Yeah, you know, I think that was a big goal of ours, was to win a race this year,” said Jones, the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion.

“We’ve got now three more shots to do it. We’ve worked hard all year long to put ourselves in positions to win races. I think we’ve been close at a couple of them. This last month hasn’t been the month we were looking for.

“We’ve kind of fell back off, not been able to close out races, have good finishes. These last three, we’re really looking to step it back up, get back up into the top five, be contending, leading laps. It’s really just been a big learning year for myself. It’s been a big growing year for Furniture Row Racing. I think starting a second team was a big jump for Furniture Row, a big jump for us, a big learning experience for myself. It was really a new group of guys.

“It is important to us. I think for myself, Barney (Visser, owner) sees this second team as something he had wanted to do for a long time. I think us grabbing a win would make it a success for this year.

“I think we’ve done other things throughout the year that have made it a success, but definitely a win would really cap it all off.”

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Joey Barnes is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, IndyCar.com and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.