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NCWTS: Erik Jones – No. 4 Toyota Tundra NCWTS Martinsville Advance

ERIK JONES

Polished and Ready to Shine

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 24, 2015) – The last two seasons, Erik Jones entered the Kroger 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway behind the times compared to other Truck Series drivers. Not eligible to compete at Daytona due to age restrictions, the youngster opened up his part-time Camping World Truck Series schedule each year at the.526-mile paper-clip shaped oval. With seven races already underneath his belt combined between the Truck Series and XFINITY Series this season, Jones now heads to the Virginia track wound up and prepared to compete for his first win of 2015.

 

After outdueling now owner Kyle Busch to win the prestigious Snowball Derby Super Late Model race in December of 2012, Jones was signed by Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) to run a five-race Truck Series schedule in 2013. The Michigan native made his NASCAR debut at Martinsville in April of 2013, becoming the first 16-year-old to compete in the series since Busch did so in October of 2001. After qualifying 19th, Jones maneuvered his way into the top five late in the race, but was had to settle for a respectable ninth-place finish after finding himself on the wrong end of a Martinsville bump-and-run.

 

Turn the clock ahead two years and Jones has quickly solidified himself as one of the top young drivers in all of NASCAR. Across his first 19 starts in the Truck Series, the NASCAR Next product has collected four victories, two poles, eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. After two races in 2013 he sits third in the Truck Series championship standings and is the top Rookie of the Year candidate. In eight career XFINITY starts the last two seasons for Joe Gibbs Racing, the racing prodigy has recorded two top-five and five top-10 finishes. Jones captured his first career XFINITY Series pole last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and went on to finish a career-best third.

 

Just as he did in the closing laps of the Snowball Derby, Jones will have Busch’s presence on his bumper this weekend. The tailgate of the No. 4 Tundra will carry a special decal this weekend promoting Win Kyle’s Camry, a fundraising effort for the Kyle Busch Foundation. The same “Rowdy Edition” Camry that won Busch the 2012 SEMA Toyota Dream Build Challenge is being raffled off for $18 per chance. Fans can go to WinKylesCamry.com to purchase one of 5,151 tickets, with the winner being announced on April 1.

 

Jones will be looking to win in Kyle’s Tundra this weekend and deliver the boss his fifth Martinsville victory. While many of the Truck series regulars have been off the clock since Atlanta, Jones has been busy working overtime in the XFINITY Series. Just like the grandfather clock that will leave with the winner of Saturday’s 250-lap race, KBM’s young gun is polished and ready to shine.

 

Erik Jones, driver of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:

 

How beneficial is the seat time you’ve logged in the XFINITY Series while the Truck Series has been idle?

“It always helps being in a race car, especially with how big the gap is in the Truck Series schedule between Atlanta and Martinsville. In my part-time schedule for KBM the last few years the races were pretty spread out and I had to spend the first part of practice each race just getting a feel for things again. Each of the last two years, Martinsville was my first race of the season, now this year I’ve already got seven races under my belt between the trucks and the XFINITY Series and feel like I’m more prepared to go out and compete for a win.”

 

Martinsville is the track where you have the most experience at, does that give you confidence heading into this weekend?

“It’s hard to believe that Martinsville is the place where I have the most experience, because it’s probably the track that I struggle at the most as a driver. The way it is laid out, it makes it a challenge for a lot of guys. The tough part is that you are hard onto the brakes into the corner, but then you have to be able to roll the center and be able to get off the corner. I feel like I’m still trying to figure it all out on my end, but each time out our Tundra has been faster and I’m getting better as well. We finished fourth there last year in the fall race — hopefully we can improve that by a couple of spots and compete for the win this time around.”

 

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:

 

KBM’s other two teams tested at Martinsville recently. Despite not taking part in the test, how can your team benefit from it?

“After looking at the data the other two teams collected from the test, we should be able to unload a lot closer to what we need for this weekend. I went to the test and brought along our engineer, so we were able to listen in on what was going on and see where the track went and how the tires wore over the course of a run. NASCAR has an extra test session built into our schedule on Friday, so that will allow us to strictly designate one of the sessions to do some experimenting. Erik has ran well in each of this three starts at Martinsville and if you look at the data it proves that, but because the finishes weren’t reflective of how he ran I think he lacks a little bit of confidence there. Being able to gets some extra laps in on Friday should be a big confidence boost for him.”

 

Erik Jones’ No. 4 Toyota Tundra:

 

KBM-24: The No. 4 Toyota Racing team will unload chassis KBM-24 for Saturday’s Kroger 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Erik Jones dominated last November’s race at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway with the Tundra, capturing the pole and leading 114 of the 126 laps of the event which was shortened due to electrical issues at the track.

 

KBM-24 Performance Profile:

 

 Date

Site

Driver

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

11/7/14

Phoenix

Jones

1

1

126/126

114

running

 

Notes of Interest:

 

Erik Jones @ Martinsville:

  • Has collected one top-five and two top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of  10.3 across three starts
  • Leads all drivers entered in Saturday’s race in percentage of quality passes (75.9%), average running position (9.276) and speed in traffic (90.562 mph) across NCWTS events the last 10 years 

Erik Jones Martinsville NCWTS Performance Profile:

 

Date

Start

Finish

Laps

Status

Laps Led

10/25/14

15

4

200/200

Running

0

3/30/14

4

18

256/256

Running

0

4/6/13

19

9

250/250

Running

0

 

Erik Jones 2015:

  • After two races ranks third in the driver point standings, seven points behind points leader Tyler Reddick, and leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings
  • Has posted one top-five and two top-10 finishes across two NCWTS, including a runner-up finish at Daytona
  • Earned first-career NASCAR XFINITY Series pole and a career-best third-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (3/21/15) 

Erik Jones NCWTS Career Stats:

 

Year

Races

Win

Top 5

Top 10

Pole

Laps

Led

Earnings

AvSt

AvFn

RAF

Miles

LLF

2013

5

1

2

5

0

1017

84

$91,860

13.2

6.0

5

847.0

5

2014

12

3

5

8

2

1789

300

$240,336

6.1

9.2

11

2030.0

9

2015

2

0

1

2

0

230

37

$75,169

4.5

4.5

2

450.2

2

Totals

19

4

8

15

2

3036

421

$407,365

7.8

7.8

18

3327.2

16

 

Erik Jones 2014

  • Collected three wins (Iowa Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway), two poles, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes across 12 NCWTS starts
  • Despite competing in just 12 of the 22 NCWTS events, ranked third among all drivers in laps led (300)
  • Recorded top-10 finishes in all three of his NASCAR XFINITY Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing

Erik Jones 2013

  • His victory in the November event at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway at the time made him the youngest winner in the history of the NCWTS at 17 years, five months and nine days old
  • Became the first 16-year-old to compete in a NCWTS race since KBM owner Kyle Busch in October of 2001, went on to finish ninth in his debut at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and recorded top-10 finishes in all five of his series starts
  • Collected first ARCA Racing Series victory at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway and registered two top-five and three top-10 finishes across four starts
  • Became just the third driver in the 46-year-history of the prestigious Snowball Derby Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., to register back-to-back victories after outdueling KBM owner Kyle Busch for the win in 2012 

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra:

  • The No. 4 team currently ranks third in the 2015 NCWTS Owner’s Championship point standings, seven points behind the series-leading No. 19 team 

KBM NCWTS Program

  • Has collected three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Championships, 39 Truck Series victories and 18 poles across 207 starts since originating in 2010
  • 39 career Truck Series victories as an organization ranks third all-time behind Roush (50) and Kevin Harvick Inc. (43)
  • 14 victories as an organization during the 2014 season broke the Truck Series record of 12 set by Ultra Motorsports in 2001
  • Six different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 26. Darrell Wallace Jr. collected five victories, Erik Jones has posted  four wins, Denny Hamlin produced two victories and Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott both collected one triumph
  • Has collected victories at 17 of the 21 tracks on the 2015 schedule, excluding Atlanta Motor Speedway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Michigan International Speedway and Pocono Raceway

KBM NCWTS @ Martinsville Speedway

  • KBM drivers have collected four wins, three poles, 492 laps led, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 7.5 across 19 starts at Martinsville
  • Denny Hamlin and Darrell Wallace Jr. each have two wins for KBM at ‘The Paperclip’
  • All four of KBM’s wins at the Virginia track have come in the fall event
  • Wallace Jr., Hamlin and owner-driver Kyle Busch have each captured one pole at the .526-mile oval
  • At least one KBM Tundra has finished inside the top three in eight of the 10 events the team has entered at the track since its inaugural season in 2010 and the team’s drivers have combined to complete a remarkable 99.9% (4265 of 4268) of the total laps

The Fugle File:

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle will call the shots for Erik Jones’ championship campaign in the Truck Series in 2015. The New York native led KBM’s No. 51 Tundra team to a series-leading six wins, including Jones’ first-career victory at Phoenix International Raceway, an Owner’s Championship as crew chief in 2013. He also contributed to an additional 11 wins in his role as race engineer for the organization during the 2012 and 2014 seasons. Before coming to KBM, Fugle held crew chief positions in both the Truck Series and XFINITY Series with Germain Racing.

 

Fugle’s drivers have compiled one pole (Denny Hamlin, 10/26/13), 65 laps led and two top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 15.7 across three starts at Martinsville.

 

Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota Tundra 2015 NCWTS Box Score:

 

Date

Site

Driver

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

Driver Pts./Pos.

Money Won

2/20

Daytona

Jones

7

2

100/100

0

running

42/2nd

$58,057

2/28

Atlanta

Jones

2

7

130/130

39

running

80/3rd

$17,112

 

-KBM-

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