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NASCAR Cup: Erik Jones signs extension

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 02: Erik Jones, driver of the #20 Sport Clips Throwback Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 02, 2019 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Erik Jones has signed a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing to remain the driver of the No. 20 JGR Toyota in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for the 2020 season, the race team announced Friday.

“I’m so happy to finally have my plans for 2020 confirmed and to talk about it,” Jones said. “I’m excited to be staying with Joe Gibbs Racing and the 20 team and to continue the success that we have built over the last two years in the Cup Series. I put my heart and soul into this and this race team. This is my living and how I want to make a career and what I want to do. I’ve been racing with JGR since 2014 and it’s really cool to be able to continue with the foundation we’ve built over the years and hopefully win more races and contend for championships together.”

Jones is the most recent Cup Series winner, claiming victory on Sept. 1 in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. It was his second-career win, the other coming at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in July 2018. The 2019 season is Jones’ third full season of Cup Series competition. He drove the No. 77 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing, through a deal with JGR, in 2017 before moving to Gibbs to drive the No. 20, beginning in 2018. Jones also made three Cup starts in 2015, one as a fill-in for the injured Kyle Busch in the No. 18 JGR Toyota and two as a substitute for the suspended Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 car.

Jones also has raced for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series, at least part-time, since 2014. He raced full-time in that series in 2016, winning four races and finishing the season fourth in the standings. In all, he has nine Xfinity wins in 78 races. Jones also has 42 starts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series for Truck Series team owner and Cup Series teammate Kyle Busch, resulting in seven wins and a series championship in 2015, his only full season in the series.

“Erik has accomplished so much in our sport already and yet, he really is just at the start of a long career,” JGR owner Joe Gibbs said. “He’s been a part of Joe Gibbs Racing for almost his entire professional career and we’re excited to see what the future holds for him.”

The announcement of Jones’ extension feeds into the speculation of Christopher Bell going into the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota in the Cup Series next year. JGR already has announced Bell’s extension for next year but hasn’t confirmed what series he’ll be racing in, primarily. Bell is contending for the Xfinity Series championship for JGR this year. Meanwhile, LFR already has announced the release of Matt DiBenedetto, current driver of the No. 95, effective at season’s end.

Joe Gibbs Racing also is expected to retain Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. — all Cup Series championship contenders this year — for 2020.

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Posted by on September 6, 2019. 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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