It’s been long rumored that Erik Jones would eventually take over the No. 18 car in place of the injured Kyle Busch. With David Ragan now moving over to Michael Waltrip Racing after this weekend, Jones will take the reins for Joe Gibbs Racing at the Sprint Cup level at Kansas on May 9.
Jones, 18, is in his first full season in the Camping World Truck Series and also racing in place of Busch at the Xfinity level. Though he’s never started a Sprint Cup race, Jones did take over for Denny Hamlin at Bristol earlier this season when he suffered from neck spasms.
During his eight NXS races thus far, Jones has already won in Texas and notched five top-five finishes. At the Trucks level, the Byron, Michigan native has two top-five results in three starts.
Suffice to say, this season has been a whirlwind one for the young driver. Now his latest endeavor will have him being the third driver in the No. 18 already this season—none of which have been Busch. After Matt Crafton took the wheel in Daytona, Ragan manned the ride until he moved over to MWR to take Brian Vickers’ ride.
There is still no timetable given on the return for Busch, so Jones’ stint at the premier level might be short lived. But with a chance to prove himself at the pinnacle of the sport in a JGR machine, Jones is certainly living the dream.