Erik Jones Finally 'Time' to 'Clock' Back In

Four months ago Erik Jones made history at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway, when at the age of 17 years, five months and nine days he became the youngest winner in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series History. While everyone likes to take a little time to cherish their accomplishments, 139 days between starts is a little much and Jones has been chomping at the bit to get back behind the wheel of the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra. The talented youngster will finally get his chance on Saturday, when he makes his 2014 Truck Series debut Saturday in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Since 'clocking' in for his Truck Series debut in last year's spring event at Martinsville, Jones has gone from a relative unknown to one of NASCAR's most promising young talents. The Michigan native made the most of his five starts in NASCAR's third division last season with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), finishing inside the top-10 in each event. Each time behind the wheel, talented wheelman showed more and more confidence and it appeared to be only a matter of time before he collected his first win. He knocked on the door of victory with a runner-up finish in just his third career start at Iowa in July and then in his fifth and final start of the season led 84 laps en route to his first career win at Phoenix in November.

The racing prodigy collected a total of four victories in 2013, adding an ARCA Series victory at Berlin Raceway and wins in two of Super Late Model's biggest races - the Winchester 400 and the Snowball Derby - to his historic Truck Series triumph. That's an impressive collection of trophies, for a driver who only climbed behind the wheel 13 times combined between the three series. To go along with the trophies, Jones added a Truck Series Owner's Championship ring to his mantle, helping the No. 51 team earn KBM's second championship in its four-year existence.

Jones hard work last season paid off, earning him a 12-race Truck Series schedule this season. The high school senior will be sharing the ride with his boss, Kyle Busch, who kicked off the reigning champions 2014 season with a dramatic win in the season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Busch, who also won the 2013 series finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway, gave the team its third consecutive victory dating back to Jones triumph last November at Phoenix.

Now that it's finally time for Jones to 'clock' back in, he will be in pursuit of a second consecutive victory for himself, a fourth consecutive victory for the No. 51 ToyotaCare team and a grandfather clock to add to his ever-growing collection of trophies.


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Steven B. Wilson

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