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NASCAR Cup: Erik Jones claims Rookie of the Year

No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota of Erik Jones (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota of Erik Jones (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

In his single season behind the wheel of the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota, Erik Jones claimed 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors.

“You look back on the season, and starting out a new group over at Furniture Row Racing, a second team there was a big step for us, and a lot of guys that, obviously, some hadn’t been in the Cup Series, some had, but a rookie crew chief, a rookie driver, and we were able to have a strong season, compete for some wins along the way, and end up with rookie of the year, so definitely one to be proud of,” Jones said.

The 2017 Cup Series honor was the third top rookie award for Jones in the last three years, as he was the NASCAR Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year in 2016 and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year in 2015.

Jones will return to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2018 to drive the No. 20 Toyota previously driven by Matt Kenseth. A deal between JGR and FRR put Jones in the No. 77 for 2017. Furniture Row Racing has shuttered operations of the No. 77 team for 2018, focusing solely on the No. 78 team of newly-crowned Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr.

“It’s unfortunate,” Jones said of the shut-down of the No. 77 team. “I feel like we’ve built a competitive team, one definitely capable of winning races. It’s unfortunate they couldn’t get a driver and get everything together to make that car continue to run, but I think we’ve improved a lot of people’s skill set throughout the year by learning and being with a top-notch team.”

Jones led a 2017 rookie class that also included new JGR teammate Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon and Gray Gaulding. AJones ended the season with a rookie points tally of 310, beating nearest competitor Suarez by 14 points.

Jones first season of full-time competition in the Cup Series included five top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes in the 36-race season, including a career-best second-place finish at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway. He started that race from the pole, his first-career series pole.

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Posted by on November 21, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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