Plans for Erik Jones' next step of the NASCAR ladder have been made official. The driver who races part-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series will make three Nationwide Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing later this season from behind the wheel of the No. 20 Toyota sometimes driven by Sprint Cup Series regular Matt Kenseth.
Jones is slated to make his Nationwide debut July 19 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., and will also race at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 11 and at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 8.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity to run some Nationwide races this year with Joe Gibbs Racing," Jones said. "Since I wasn't able to run a full season this year, adding to my Truck Series schedule was something I've been working hard on. I couldn't be more thrilled to be partnering with a team like JGR and have the chance to get behind the wheel of the No. 20 Toyota Camry. They are always a threat in the Nationwide Series. I was able to test with the team and Kevin Kidd (crew chief) a few weeks ago in Memphis and felt really comfortable. I have high expectations for all three races."
Jones has made three Truck Series starts, so far, this season, driving the No. 51 KBM Toyota he shared with truck owner Kyle Busch. He posted a season-best of 11th at Texas Motor Speedway. He made five Truck Series starts last year, claiming his first win in November at Phoenix. With the win, he made Camping World Truck Series history by becoming the series' youngest, ever winner at the age of 17 years, five months and eight days.
Jones also has an ARCA Racing Series win, scored last year at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway and Late Model wins in the Winchester 400 and the Snowball Derby.
"We have a long history of working with talented young drivers and we think very highly of Erik," JGR team president J.D. Gibbs said. "He has certainly been impressive in Kyle's equipment in the Truck Series, and I think we're all anxious to see him perform in the Nationwide Series now."