Erik Jones has emerged as a leading candidate to replace injured Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR Talk has learned.
Jones, who drives for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series and is under contract with JGR, met Monday morning with team owner Joe Gibbs to discuss taking over the ride. Busch is out indefinitely after suffering a compound fracture in his right leg in an Xfinity Series crash Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.
Jones, 18, is scheduled to run a full truck season for KBM and a 10-race Xfinity schedule for JGR. There are no major scheduling conflicts that would preclude him from driving in NASCAR’s premier series until the Martinsville Speedway weekend in late March.
The team has received approval from NASCAR to put Jones in a Sprint Cup car at Atlanta Motor Speedway and other 1.5-mile tracks. He wasn’t approved for the Daytona 500 as NASCAR typically doesn’t allow drivers to make their Cup debut in a restrictor-plate race at Daytona or Talladega Superspeedway without having raced at a lower-tier event at those tracks.
Over the past three seasons in the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series, Jones has notched four victories, two pole positions and eight top-five finishes. The Byron, Mich., native scored his first Truck Series victory at Phoenix International Raceway in November 2013 and added three more wins last season at Iowa Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix.