Jones Relishes Every Racing Opportunity
MOORESVILLE, N.C. – No one could blame Erik Jones if he called 2014 a rousing success.
Jones has a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride with Kyle Busch Motorsports, spot duty in the Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing, and he’s not even two months removed from graduating high school.
Sure, the 18-year-old Flint, Mich. native acknowledges his good fortune. He doesn’t take it for granted, but Jones wants more. He can thank his impressive driving ability for the big breaks he’s already gotten.
Jones makes the most of every opportunity thrown his way.
When he debuted in the ARCA Racing Series at 15 in 2012, he became the series’ youngest driver ever. He had a knack for finishing up front in ARCA cars from the start, but he didn’t land a marquee win until December 2012. Jones out-dueled Busch, now his boss, in the Snowball Derby late-model race, then parlayed the win into a ride with KBM in the No. 51 Toyota.
Things have only gone uphill since then.
Jones scored his first Truck Series win for KBM on Nov. 8, 2013, at Phoenix Int’l Raceway. He backed it up with anther victory at Iowa Speedway on July 11, and even won the pole for the series’ second-ever dirt-track race at Eldora Speedway 12 days later.
Jones has extra pep in his step as the Truck Series prepares for the Pocono Mountains 150 on Saturday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Having the fastest truck in the series – which Busch has driven to victory five times – would make any driver believe in himself. Being a winner himself doesn’t hurt, either.
“It just makes me feel like the truck’s a great truck, and one that can go out and win every race,” Jones said. “Everybody wonders if (Busch’s success in the truck) puts pressure on me, but at the end of the day, it just makes me feel more confident.”
One win, one pole and 154 laps led in five Truck Series races would be a great year for most up-and-coming drivers. Jones, however, sees where he could’ve improved his 16th-place average finishing position. Ridding himself of bad luck would be a start.