NCWTS: ERIK JONES Ready to Take Over the Leading Role

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 15, 2015) – For the first time in his young career, Erik Jones will enter Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol 225 at Chicagoland Speedway in  Joliet, Ill. as the points leader. On the strength of seven consecutive top-10 finishes, including a victory in the series’ last stop at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Jones has erased a 33-point deficit in the championship standings and now leads two-time reigning champion Matt Crafton by three points with eight races remaining.
Friday night’s 150-lap race will mark Jones’ first Truck Series start at the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval, but he has made two NASCAR XFINITY Series starts there. The talented youngster made his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at the track last July, qualifying fourth and leading two laps en route to an impressive seventh-place finish. Jones returned to the stand-alone event this year and despite not getting to practice the Monster Energy Camry due to competing in the Truck Series race at Iowa, he led 94 laps en route to his second-career XFINITY Series victory.
In addition to two XFINITY Series starts in the Windy City, Jones participated in both practice sessions for last September’s Truck Series event, despite not competing in the race. While Kyle Busch was tending to Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup media obligations during practice, the No. 51 team turned to Jones to get the Dollar General Tundra dialed in for the race. Having never turned a lap in a truck at the venue, he finished third in the opening session and eighth in final practice.
When qualifying was rained out and subsequently the race was postponed, Busch was forced to start from the rear of the field for making a driver change. Jones’ setup for the Dollar General Tundra must have been a good one, as his boss was able to lead 66 of 154 laps en route to the victory. Busch’s victory in last year’s event was Kyle Busch Motorsports’ (KBM) second consecutive and third overall at the Illinois track in its five-year existence, all with its owner-driver behind the wheel.
The No. 4 Tundra team has showed a lot of speed in the four Truck Series races on mile-and-a-half tracks this season, but victory lane has eluded them thus far. Jones has led 42.7 percent of the 581 total laps at the 1.5-mile venues in 2015 and brought home runner-up finishes at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in July. In addition to his success in the Truck Series, both of his NASCAR XFINITY Series wins have come on mile-and-a-half tracks (Texas Motor Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway) this year.
Jones was part of the supporting cast that helped Busch deliver a winning performance in last year’s Truck Series race at Chicagoland. This year he is ready to take over the leading role and is eager to produce KBM’s first mile-and-a-half victory of the season as he aims to maintain his spot atop the Truck Series championship standings.
Erik Jones, driver of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra:
 
Does your win in the XFINITY Series race at Chicagoland earlier this year help your confidence this weekend?
“I think so — for me Chicago has always been one of my favorite places to go to. I’ve actually never been there for a Truck Series race, but I’ve made two XFINITY Series starts and we were very fast at both of them.Any time you’ve been fast at a track, you look forward to the next time you get to go there. KBM has been really fast there in the past and Kyle (Busch) was able to get the win there last year. I was able to practice the truck for him last year and make some laps and that experience will help my confidence this year.”
Will you be able to take what you learned from practicing Kyle’s truck last year and apply it to this year?
“I feel like I’ll be able to take quite a bit of what I learned last year and use it to my advantage this weekend. The weather conditions are going to be similar and Goodyear is bringing a similar tire. Our Tundra was so good last yearduring practice when I was driving it that we didn’t have to change a lot. Hopefully we can unload a Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra that is just as good this year and go out and compete for another win Friday night.”
Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra:
 
Are you looking forward to getting back to mile-and-a-half racing at Chicagoland Friday?
“We’ve been on a stretch recently where we’ve been racing on a lot of different types of tracks, so it will be good to get back to a mile-and-a-half tack this weekend. Four of the final eight races will be on mile-and-a-half tracks, so we’ll get a good indication of how we stack up for the stretch run. Our Tundras had a lot of speed on the mile-and-a-half tracks earlier in the season and KBM has always had fast trucks at Chicagoland, so I’m confident that we’ll have a fast Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra for Erik on Friday. He’s been good there — won the XFINITY Series race earlier this year — and although he hasn’t made a start there in the Truck Series, he was able to practice the truck for Kyle last year and did a really nice job.”
 
Erik Jones’ No. 4 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra:
 
KBM-031: The No. 4 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles team will unload chassis KBM-031 for Friday night’s American Ethanol 225 at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway. Christopher Bell raced the Tundra at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in July, starting from the 16th position based on Truck Series Owner’s points and finishing 17th after a late-race accident thwarted a top-10 run.
 
KBM-031 Toyota Certified Used Vehicle History Report:
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
7/9/15
Kentucky
Bell
16
17
144/145
0
running
Notes of Interest:
 
Erik Jones @ Chicagoland:
  • Making his first career NCWTS start at Chicagoland
  • Led 94 laps en route to victory in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race earlier this season (6/21/15)
  • Qualified fourth, led two laps and finished seventh in his NXS debut last July (7/19/14) 
Erik Jones 2015:
  • After 15 NCWTS races leads the driver point standings by three points over Matt Crafton and leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 211 points
  • Has posted two wins (8/30 @ Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and 6/19 @ Iowa Speedway), four poles, 691 laps led, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes across 15 NCWTS starts
  • Leads the NCWTS in several statistical categories, including Driver Rating (122.8), Laps Led (691), Miles Led (955.25), Fastest Laps Run (468), Average Running Place (4.393), Average Starting Position (3.8) and Average Mid-Race Position (3.7)
  • Was running inside the top 10 in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Kansas Speedway in May before being relegated to a 40th-place finish after an accident on lap 197 (5/9/15)
  • Has accumulated two wins (4/10/15 @ Texas Motor Speedway and 6/21/15 @ Chicagoland Speedway), three poles, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes across 18 NXS starts
  • Is two-for-two in Super Late Model races, winning the Battle at Berlin 251 at Berlin Speedway in Marne, Mich. (6/16/15) and the Red Bud 300 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway (7/18/15) 
Erik Jones NCWTS Career Stats:
Year
Races
Win
T5
T10
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
5
2014
12
3
5
8
2
1789
300
$240,336
6.1
9.2
11
2030
9
2015
15
2
9
12
4
2237
691
$462,623
3.8
6.2
14
2781.8
12
Totals
32
6
16
25
6
5043
1075
$794,819
6.1
7.3
30
5658.8
26
 
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 NXS 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 has collected two wins, four poles, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes across 15 starts this season and currently lead the 2015 NCWTS Owner’s Championship point standings by three points 
KBM NCWTS Program
  • Has collected three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Championships, 44 Truck Series victories and 23 poles across 246 starts since originating in 2010
  • Has been victorious in five of the last seven Truck Series events this season dating back to Erik Jones’ win at  Iowa Speedway in June
  • 44 career Truck Series victories as an organization ranks second all-time behind Roush (50)
  • 14 victories as an organization during the 2014 season broke the Truck Series record of 12 set by Ultra Motorsports in 2001
  • Seven different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 28. Erik Jones has collected six victories, Darrell Wallace Jr. produced five victories,  Denny Hamlin recorded two victories and Christopher Bell, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott have all collected one triumph
  • Has collected victories at 20 of the 21 tracks on the 2015 schedule, excluding Atlanta Motor Speedway
KBM NCWTS @ Chicagoland Speedway
  • KBM drivers have collected three wins, four top-five and six top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 7.0 across eight starts at Chicagoland
  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch has won the last two NCWTS events at the Illinois track and was also victorious for KBM in 2010 
The Fugle File:
Ryan “Rudy” Fugle will call the shots for Erik Jones’ Truck Series championship campaign 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, and an Owner’s Championship as crew chief in 2013. He has eight career wins as a Truck Series crew chief, five with Kyle Busch behind the wheel and three with Jones as the pilot. 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.
Kyle Busch led 51 laps en route to victory in Fugle’s lone Truck Series race atop the pit box at Chicagoland in 2013.
 
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
3/28
Martinsville
Jones
4
3
258/258
2
running
122/3rd
$25,488
5/8
Kansas
Jones
1
11
166/167
151
running
157/3rd
$20,796
5/15
Charlotte
Jones
2
2
139/139
88
running
201/2nd
$36,563
5/29
Dover
Jones
2
3
200/200
50
running
243/3rd
$32,003
6/5
Texas
Jones
1
15
166/167
68
running
273/3rd
$19,165
6/13
Gateway
Jones
1
23
145/160
84
electrical
296/4th
$11,980
6/19
Iowa
Jones
1
1
200/200
112
running
344/3rd
$48,421
7/9
Kentucky
Jones
3
2
145/145
55
running
388/3rd
$48,487
7/22
Eldora
Jones
19
4
154/154
0
running
428/3rd
$18,870
8/1
Pocono
Jones
1
10
69/69
9
running
463/3rd
$18,587
8/15
Michigan
Jones
7
3
100/100
16
running
505/3rd
$26,735
8/19
Bristol
Jones
4
6
202/202
0
running
543/3rd
$16,114
8/30
Canadian Tire
Jones
2
1
64/64
19
running
590/1st
$64,245
 
-KBM-