Overcome with hysteria, doctors have prescribed Erik Jones with a cross country race weekend. Jones, who has only been in the seat of a race car once since he defended his Snowball Derby title six months ago, is set to break the cabin fever with his first-ever double-duty weekend. The young gun will compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth Friday night and the ARCA Midwest Tour's Swiss Colony Howie Lettow Memorial 150 Super Late model event at the Milwaukee (Wis.) Mile Sunday.
Jones, who turned 18 last week, will make his superspeedway debut at Texas Motor Speedway Friday and jet north over 1,000 miles to Milwaukee Saturday morning, where he will practice Kyle Busch Motorsports' No. 51 ToyotaCare Camry in preparation for the team's title defense of the prestigious Super Late Model event on Sunday.
"I pushed really hard to get the Howie Lettow Memorial on my race schedule this year -- it's one that I have on my 'Must Win List'," Jones said. "I'm looking forward to being behind the wheel of a Super Late Model for this first time since December. This has been one of the longest off seasons, but now that I'm finished with high school, I can put all my focus into racing."
"Working with everyone at KBM is always great -- their late model program is incredibly strong and we have had great success together so far," the Michigan native continued. "I'm also pretty pumped about being able to run two races in one weekend. Racers want to race everyday, so I'm looking forward to jumping from my Toyota Tundra to the Toyota Camry and defend Kyle's (Busch) title."
In last year's event, Busch was fastest in all four practice sessions over the two-day show and followed that up by registering a new track record in qualifying. The Las Vegas native continued his dominance when the green flag dropped, leading 104 laps en route to victory in what turned out to be a darkness-shortened 115-lap event.
With the prestige of the event and a possible bonus of $5,000 to the highest finishing non-NASCAR regular, the entry list for the Howie Lettow Memorial has grown to over 50 strong. In contention for the bonus, Jones is hoping to cash in add to his late model wins from 2013, which include the Winchester 400 and his second consecutive Snowball Derby title.
"Milwaukee is such a special place in the Midwest and to race in Howie's honor is really huge to a late model racer. He was a legend in the sport and a mentor to so many great drivers. I went to Milwaukee last year and honestly didn't run that great. However, with the momentum I have going with the KBM guys I think we have a good shot at getting the win. I just celebrated my 18th birthday, so I can't think of a better gift. Make it two and I'd be in heaven."