Having turned 18 in May, Erik Jones is now eligible to compete on tracks larger than 1.25 miles and will get his first chance to join his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors drafting around Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway as he returns behind the wheel of the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra for Saturday's fred's 250.
As the temperatures have fallen over the last month, Jones has gotten hot. He enters this weekend's event at the famed superspeedway having claimed victories in the last two races he has participated in. In just his second start on a mile-and-a-half track in the Truck Series, the racing prodigy picked up the win in the Truck Series last stop at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. The Michigan native worked his way around teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. with 13 laps remaining and went on to pick up his second victory this year in the No. 51 Tundra and his third in just 14 career starts in NASCAR's third division. Jones followed that up last weekend driving Kyle Busch Motorsports' (KBM) No. 51 Camry to a win in the Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and becoming just the fourth driver in the history of the prestigious Super Late Model event to bring home the coveted Winchester rifle in back-to-back years.
Jones is now handed the tall task of tackling Talladega in a Tundra for the first time. KBM has a history of successful superspeedway debuts in the No. 51 Toyota. Josh Richards came from the 22nd starting position to register a career-best 13th-place finish in the 2011 fred's 250 and German Quiroga maneuvered his way from 23rd on the grid to an eighth-place finish in 2012. In addition to the team's proven results at the Alabama track, they will be unloading a race-winning truck. Kyle Busch led 25 laps with KBM-13 en route to victory in this year's season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
With three Truck Series wins under his belt already in just 14 career starts, Jones has already proven to be a quick learner and it would be of no surprise if the 18-year-old were to 'draft' his way to a victory Saturday in the first race that he is 'eligible' to compete in at Talladega Superspeedway.