Gander Outdoor Truck Series

NCWTS: Jones Ready to Bring on 2015 After Performance in 2014


JOPLIN, Mo. – Erik Jones will head into the 2015 season really confident after a strong weekend Friday and Saturday at the Phoenix International Raceway. Jones, who just announced a full-time deal with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, will definitely be a fun driver to watch.

This past weekend at Phoenix, Jones went into the weekend on a high note. After starting from the pole after breaking the previous track record in the second round of qualifying, and also leading the first round of the session, every race fan knew that he would be a threat after capturing the victory in last season’s race there.

After the Lucas Oil 150 was delayed for more than an hour, the field finally received the green flag. With all the wild racing action, Jones was able to stay out front to keep his No. 51 Dollar General Toyota clean all race long, even the speedy dry didn’t stop the 18-year-old.

The field was finally able to settle out to get a green flag run going and that was a benefit to Jones. Once lap 90 rolled around, he was able to gain a three-plus second lead over the second-place truck until he had to pit for his only time around five laps later. After taking four tires and fuel, Jones remained inside the top-10 to later find himself leading once again after pit stops cycled.

When the field received the caution flag on lap 101, three trucks ahead of Jones came down pit road, which gave him the lead for the restart by staying out. With this being the final restart, Jones was able to gain a half a second out-front of Matt Crafton. When lap 126 rolled around, the lights went out around the Phoenix International Raceway a second time to bring out the red flag. With the track and NASCAR not knowing if the problem could occur again, NASCAR made the ultimate decision to end the race, giving Jones his fourth win of his career in his final race of 2014.

“It’s pretty cool to pick up another win here at Phoenix. Definitely a great way to top off the year for me in this truck. A good way to start the 2015 season,” said Jones. “A great Dollar General Tundra. Cool to have them on board. Have to thank Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing engines, everyone at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) — they do a great job. It’s awesome to break the truck record — 13 wins in a season and cool to be the one that got to do that. Just an awesome night. Wish we could have raced 26 more (laps). I felt like we definitely had a dominant truck and we could have brought it home.”

Jones has performed so well behind the wheel in 2014 that he sits 17th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings. There is no question that the kid will be among the favorites to capture the 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year award and quite possibly the championship next season. The same can absolutely be said when he finally moves up full-time into the Nationwide Series one day with the Joe Gibbs Racing organization. The 2015 season will mark his first full-time season in NASCAR’s top-three national series.

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About Brett Winningham

Brett Winningham is a Contributing Writer in the NASCAR department at Rubbings Racing and can be followed on Twitter at @NASCAR_BRETT. A native of Joplin, Missouri, Winningham covers multiple NASCAR events in the midwest each season.

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