Erik Jones gets the surprise call of a lifetime

Erik Jones. (Getty Images)
Erik Jones. (Getty Images)
Erik Jones. (Getty Images)

Erik Jones was ready to relax on his couch in North Carolina and watch some Sprint Cup racing Sunday. That didn’t happen. Just as the 18-year old driver for Joe Gibbs Racing was thinking about taking a nap thanks to a rain delay, he got a call that would change his life.

A few miles to the north in Bristol Tennessee the Sprint Cup series had completed 22 laps before persistent rains forced a red flag. The race start had already been delayed an hour and fifteen minutes, but NASCAR had an opportunity to get the race underway. The rains came again however and forced a stoppage. Not long after the cars were parked JGR driver Denny Hamlin complained that he was having neck spasms. The team began to scramble as it looked more and more like Hamlin wouldn’t be able to continue the race once the rains ended.

“I got a text from one of the crew members and they let me know that I might need to be on standby,” Jones said. “Right then I started packing a bag. I called my dad and said, ‘Hey, I think I might be getting to run a Cup race tonight.’ He was like, ‘Okay, cool keep me updated.’” MORE>>>

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.