No one in their right mind would bring Erik Jones to a casino right now.
His NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season can be summed up with one word.
Despite dominating races, the NASCAR Next alum has yet to visit Victory Lane. Jones’ latest unfortunate event unfolded at Gateway last week. He led a race-high 84 laps at the St. Louis-area track before an accident on Lap 145 forced him out of the 160-lap race for good. The week before, he led 68 of the first 84 laps before battery issues took him out of contention. Flashback to mid-May, Jones lost to Kasey Kahne by the second-smallest margin in NCWTS history – again after leading the most laps. Rewind another week back, Jones ran out of fuel after pacing the field for a track-record 151 laps.
Jones will attempt turn his luck around in Friday’s American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1) where he is the defending race-winner.
"Iowa has been a pretty fun place for me,” Jones said. “I ran well in the XFINITY Series race there earlier this year, so I'm pretty excited to get back there this weekend and I think the whole team is as well. It's a place that has been pretty good to me since I went there for the first time in 2013, when we ran second in the spring, and then we were able to get the win there last year.”
Just how bad has Jones’ luck been?
He leads the NCWTS in nearly every statistical category, yet ranks fourth in the standings, 33 points behind Matt Crafton. Jones sits atop the series in in average start (2.5), average mid-race position (2.1), average running position (3.8), number of fastest laps (333), laps led (480) and driver rating (124.7). His average finish is 8.3, a stark drop from his average start and mid-race positions.
Heading into Friday’s race, Jones’ sole focus is on taking the checkered flag.
“I'm looking forward to having another short-track race this weekend,” Jones said. “We showed some good speed in our Special Olympics World Games Tundra last week at Gateway and we have a really good short-track program overall. I think we have a good shot at defending our title this weekend."