Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Gibbs: Erik Jones Will Run Sprint Cup Races In 2016

Erik Jones will do double duty next season, competing in a full schedule of NASCAR XFINITY Series competition, in addition to a limited slate of Sprint Cup Series events.

Speaking on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s The Morning Drive today, team owner Joe Gibbs said the 19-year old phenom will play a major role in the future of his race team.

"We look at Erik as a big part of our future, and we've got a plan laid out,” said Gibbs. “It's not something we've talked about in public, but we all kind of know inside of our racing organization, (along with) with his parents and his agent. We've talked over a plan, and basically the plan next year would be a full XFINITY  season -- to try and run for a championship there -- and also, in all likelihood, to have him in some Cup races.

“That would be the goal for next year."

Jones has turned a few laps in the Sprint Cup ranks this season, subbing for Denny Hamlin at Bristol Motor Speedway when Hamlin suffered neck spasms during a lengthy rain delay. He also replaced the injured Kyle Busch at Kansas Speedway in May. While Joe Gibbs Racing currently fields the maximum allowable four cars in Sprint Cup competition, NASCAR rules allow a fifth entry in limited events for a projected 2017 rookie contender. Hendrick Motorsports has utilized a similar plan this season for driver Chase Elliott.

Gibbs declined to discuss his long-term plan for Jones, saying, "We've got a plan laid out, and it's something we don't want to talk about now. But there is no question, Erik's headed for Cup. He's headed for Cup and we've got a path charted that we think is the best to get him ready and to fulfill his goal of being in a Cup car as quick as we can get him there."


  1. Anonymous12:50 PM

    I would love to hear Moody's opinion as well as others as to the effect this is going to have on the current four Cup drivers who are right now on fire. Doesn't seem like great timing, however, I suspect it is to let others know Jones is taken. Pretty much telling one of the four they will be out after next year. Not too good for momentum when they are on such a roll. Thoughts?

    1. Yes, their current drivers are on a roll, but, if you remember earlier in the year, not so much. The same way they all got hot, they could all get ice cold. Like in other sports, as an owner looking at the big picture, it never hurts to stockpile players in the farm system, giving sponsors options as to who will be flying their colors.

  2. Anonymous8:43 AM

    Erik Jones is one of few I am able to find out how he broke in to NASCAR. As often reported most people buy their opportunity in these days. I hope Erik is not the same but statistics would suggest otherwise. Nonetheless he does seem to be competitive and I'm sure JGR will want to keep him, Suarez (who came through Drive for Diversity Program), and Coughlin (whom brings Jegs sponsorship). I believe JGR will team with a high profile Toyota team next. Which if rumor would have it correctly will possibly be Chip Ganassi Racing. Maybe through that partnership more rides will open up as I don't see Hamlin, Busch, Edwards, or Kenseth retiring soon. Maybe Kenseth but not sure. Don't forget Matt's son is coming up through JGR too.