Joe Gibbs Racing confirms Erik Jones for No. 18

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

Joe Gibbs Racing confirmed Thursday that Erik Jones will take over the team’s No. 18 Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series starting at the race in Kansas on May 10. The 19-year-old Jones has been racing full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports and part-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity series.

Jones will take over the No 18 until Kyle Busch fully recovers from injuries he received in a crash during the season opening Xfinity series race at Daytona International Speedway in February. Driver David Ragan had been subbing for Busch, but earlier this week it was announced that Ragan will be moving to Michael Waltrip Racing starting with the Kansas race in relief of Brian Vickers who had planned to race the Toyota fulltime in 2015. Off season heart surgery in December forced the Thomasville, N.C., native to miss the first two races of the season. Vickers returned at Las Vegas on March 7, but was sidelined two weeks later by recurring blood clots in his lungs. No timetable has been set for his return. Michael Waltrip, who drove the No. 55 Toyota in the Daytona 500, will compete this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

Jones made his Sprint Cup debut two weeks at Bristol Motor Speedway driving the JGR No. 11 in relief of driver Denny Hamlin who was suffering from neck spasms. Jones finished 26th. Kansas will mark Jones’ first official Cup Series start. In the Truck series Jones has four wins in 20 starts; in the Xfinity series he has three top five finishes and one win in eight starts this season. 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.