There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Erik Jones has a future in NASCAR at the Sprint Cup level. The only question was when and where he would ultimately land with a full four-car lineup at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Team owner Joe Gibbs previewed his plans for the 19-year-old driver on Tuesday morning with “The Morning Drive on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“We look at Erik as a big part of our future,” Gibbs said. “We’ve got a plan laid out and it’s not something we’ve talked about in public, but we all kind of know inside of our racing organization, and with his parents and his agent—is just great.
“So we’ve talked over a plan, and basically the plan next year would be a full Xfinity season and try and run for a championship there and also to, in all likelihood, have him in some Cup races so that would be the goal for next year.”
Jones has experience at the Sprint Cup level, filling in for Kyle Busch for a start and replacing Denny Hamlin on the track after an injury. Though he’s a full-time driver in the Camping World Truck Series, Jones has two wins at the Xfinity level this season in place of Busch.
Similar to the path that recent stars like Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott have followed, Jones will be full-time in Xfinity next season with no room for him in the Cup garage. But Gibbs didn’t hold back when talking about the fledgling star’s future.
“But there is no question—this guy Erik’s headed for Cup,” Gibbs said. “He’s headed for Cup and we’ve got a path charted that we think is the best to get him ready and to fulfill his goal of being in a Cup car as quick as we can get him there.”
Make no mistake about it, NASCAR fans, the young guns are coming.
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