Erik Jones Ready to Battle the Boss

After sharing the No. 51 Tundra with team owner-driver Kyle Busch during each of his first two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series seasons and winning two owner's championships, this year Erik Jones moved over to compete full-time for a driver's championship in the No. 4 Toyota Tundra. With Busch making his 2015 Truck Series debut behind the wheel of the Dollar General Tundra in Saturday's Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, the event will mark the first time that Jones and his mentor will face off against each other in NASCAR's third division.


Jones was signed by Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) to a part-time Truck Series ride for the 2013 season after outdueling Busch in December of 2012 at the prestigious Snowball Derby Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. NASCAR changed the age restriction for the 2013 season, ironically put in place because of Busch, which allowed 16-year-old drivers to compete on tracks of 1.25-miles or less and road courses. The Michigan native kicked off his five-race campaign with a ninth-place finish in his NASCAR debut at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway that March, and in his final event at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway became the youngest winner in the history of the Truck Series at that time.


His success in 2013, earned the talented youngster a 12-race Truck Series schedule last year. KBM's racing prodigy went on to win three more races and his teammate and boss, Busch, collected seven more as the No. 51 Tundra team earned back-to-back owner's championships. Jones also made three NASCAR XFINITY Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2014, finishing inside the top 10 in each, and at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway raced against Busch for the first time at a NASCAR track.


With Jones finally eligible to compete full-time this season, he moved over to the No. 4 Tundra where he is on a mission to earn KBM its first-ever driver's championship. The NASCAR Next alumnus currently sits third in the championship standings, 24 tallies behind points leader Matt Crafton, entering this weekend's event at Pocono. He has recorded one win, three poles, seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes this season, despite the fact that he was competing for the first time in a truck at six of the first 11 tracks on the schedule.


On Saturday at the Tricky Triangle, the pupil will take on his mentor for the first time in Truck Series action. Jones is ready to battle the boss and he hopes that outcome is the same as it was in the 2012 Snowball Derby.


Speedway Digest Staff

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest