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Busch, Jones to split duties in No. 51

Erik Jones returns to the No. 51 with Kyle Busch
Erik Jones returns to the No. 51 with Kyle Busch
Getty Images: Tom Pennington

Kyle Busch Motorsports owner/driver Kyle Busch and 17-year-old Erik Jones will split driving duties in the No. 51 Toyota Tundra in the Camping World Truck Series in 2014. The No. 51 won the owner’s championship in the Truck Series in 2013.

Busch will race 10 times in the No. 51, beginning with the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway on February 21st, while Jones will be behind the wheel for 12 races, beginning with the March 29th race at Martinsville Speedway. ToyotaCare returns as primary sponsor for the team in 2014, and will be featured on the hood for seven races for each driver.

“We are pleased to have ToyotaCare back onboard our No. 51 this year and really look forward to seeing Erik continue to develop as a driver with his increased schedule this season,” said Busch on the KBM website. “Toyota and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) have put a lot of time and effort into the new Tundra that hits the track this year and it is going to make for an exciting season.”

At 17 years, five months and nine days, Jones became the youngest winner in Truck Series history last season, winning at Phoenix last November in the No. 51; in five races for KBM, he earned five top 10 finishes. He became the first 16-year-old to start a Truck Series race since the team owner did so in 2001. Busch added five wins in 11 Truck Series starts in 2013.

“Erik did a tremendous job for us last year picking up wins in both the truck and the Super Late Model while running a very limited schedule,” said Busch. “At just 17-years-old he shows a lot of poise behind the wheel, provides great feedback to the crew chiefs and he has already proven that he can win on some of the biggest stages.”

“I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra and representing Toyota and ToyotaCare,” said Jones. “I really learned a lot last year from Kyle and everyone at KBM. I felt like each time out we all grew as a team and at the end of the season I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream by winning in one of NASCAR’s top three divisions. Going into this season, I feel like we have a great chance to get back to victory lane and go out and defend our Owner’s Championship.”

Veteran crew chief Eric Phillips will call the shots for the No. 51 Tundra team in 2014. Phillips, who has 27 career Truck Series win, has visited victory lane with eight different drivers (Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Travis Kvapil, Brian Scott, Dennis Setzer and Mike Skinner).

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