Erik Jones Inks Multi-Year Agreement With RPM

0
2494
Erik Jones Inks
Erik Jones will move to Richard Petty Motorsports on a multi-year agreement in 2021. (Toyota photo)

WELCOME, N.C. — Richard Petty Motorsports announced Wednesday that Erik Jones will pilot the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, made famous by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty, in the NASCAR Cup Series starting next season.

Jones has signed a multi-year agreement to drive for the team.

“Erik is an exceptionally talented driver, and we are excited to have him join our team,” Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer at Richard Petty Motorsports, said. “At only 24 years old, Erik is part of NASCAR’s next generation of stars. He has won races at every level in NASCAR he has competed in – including in the NASCAR Cup Series. Erik is a proven winner and we look forward to providing him with the opportunity to add more wins to this already impressive resume.”

The most successful drivers are inseparably linked to the car numbers they have had the most success with. No number has any stronger recognition in NASCAR history than the legendary No. 43 with Richard Petty.

Richard Petty collected 200 career premier series race victories, and for 192 of those, the race car was adorned with the iconic No. 43 on either side. Lee Petty also placed the No. 43 in victory lane. Jim Paschal was the first to collect a victory in the No. 43 without the famous last name of Petty.

Following the Richard Petty 1992 Fan Appreciation Tour, the number was retired for one season before returning to the track with Wally Dallenbach Jr., and later John Andretti.

In 1995, Bobby Hamilton added his name to the history of the No. 43, ultimately capturing two wins for the team, one each in 1996 and 1997. In addition, Andretti (1999) and Aric Almirola (2014) each added their names to the list of winners in the No. 43.

“It is an incredible honor to have Richard Petty want you to drive for his race team and with the car number he made famous,” Jones said. “Richard Petty Motorsports has a rich history in the sport, but they are not resting on that history. They still have something to prove, and I have something to prove. We are both motivated to write a new chapter. I am proud to be a part of Richard Petty Motorsports.”

In his fourth full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series, Jones has two wins, 33 top-five finishes and 62 top-10 finishes in 144 career starts in the series.

In addition, the Byron, Mich., native collected two pole awards (Bristol, Las Vegas), and has led 645 laps throughout five years in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Jones captured his first-career NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona (Fla.) Int’l Speedway on July 7, 2018, and collected his second-career win on Sept. 1, 2019 in the historic Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

This year, he kicked off the NASCAR Cup Series season with a win in the Busch Clash, an annual invitation-only 75-lap exhibition race at Daytona.

The 24-year old was the first driver ever to win Rookie of the Year honors in all of NASCAR’s top-three national touring series.

In 2015 Jones captured the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship. The next year, he finished fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings.

Crew chief Jerry Baxter will continue to lead the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE team in 2021 with Jones.

It will be a reunion of sorts for Baxter and Jones, who were connected through Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series for three seasons.