Erik Jones Rising Star Ready to Shine Big and Bright Deep in the Heart of Texas
Erik Jones enters Friday night's WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) at Fort Worth with a 10-point lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship standings. The 19-year-old will be looking to hold off a challenge from two-time reigning champion Matt Crafton and fellow teenager Tyler Reddick over the final three races to deliver Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) its first-ever driver's title and become the youngest champion in series history.
Jones and the No. 4 Toyota Tundra team know that if you are going to a tussle deep in the heart of Texas that you better bring your best, so they will be unloading a chassis that has won seven times in 11 career starts, including a victory with owner-driver Kyle Busch in last year's WinStar World Casino 350 at TMS. Busch was victorious with KBM-021 in its debut at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. in September of 2013 and also collected a victory with the Tundra at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway in November of 2013.
Including his win at TMS last fall, Busch piloted the Toyota to victory four times in 2014; Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Chicagoland Speedway. Jones got in on the action with 'Blackjack' last September at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, when he picked up his first win on a mile-and-half track. Not only does the truck end up out front, it can usually be found up front, having led a combined 658 laps across its 11 career starts. With seven career wins, the chassis is one win from tying KBM-007 for most wins in the team fleet. '007' has eight career victories across 21 starts.
The last time that KBM-21 saw action was earlier this season with Jones in the June race at TMS. The Michigan native captured the pole and led 68 of the first 84 laps before electrical charging issues relegated him to a 15th-place finish.
Jones enters this weekend's race with a streak of 12 consecutive top-10 finishes, the longest current streak in the Truck Series. After the eighth race of the season at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., the talented youngster found himself fourth in points, 33 behind Matt Crafton. His recent run of top-10 finishes, which has included wins at Iowa Speedway and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont., has propelled him to the top of the championship standings, where he sits 10 points ahead of Crafton with three races remaining.
With a strong Tundra underneath him for Friday night's 147-lap shootout, the rising star is ready to shine big and bright deep in the heart of Texas as he continues his quest to corral KBM's first-ever Driver's Championship.
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