Recent struggles taught Erik Jones valuable lessons about himself, how to handle frustration

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JOLIET, Ill. — Erik Jones went from knocking the monkey off his back to becoming a tiger this weekend.

First, after three straight races of leading the most laps yet coming away without a win each time, Jones once again led the most laps Friday in the Truck Series race at Iowa – but this time he broke through with his first series win this season.

Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, Jones earned his second Xfinity win of the season.

Dominating both of those races – in addition to a win this past Tuesday in a Late Model race at Berlin Raceway in his native Michigan – has Jones suddenly looking to be at the top of his game.

“I was really excited about this week,” Jones said after Sunday’s Xfinity win. “Going back to Gateway last week, I thought we had a shot to win, we won at Iowa, got the win at Berlin and then to win here kind of topped off the whole week.

“It was just an awesome week. I’m very proud of everybody involved, to keep pushing on from some of the races we’ve had in the last month or so.

“It was kind of a rough go at it, but we’re back now and we need to keep going.”

Going back the last six weeks, Jones did not perform up to his normal standards several times in both the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series. That left him having to deal with frustration and adversity, two things that were new for him, Jones admitted.

“It’s kind of the first lesson I’ve really had in racing of the highs to highs and lows to lows,” he said. “Most of my career, I’ve been so fortunate to have success. Honestly, most parts of the year, I never had to deal with adversity or really being out of the game for too long.

“But over the last month and a half, I had to grow a lot as a person, kind of had to grow up along the way and figure out how to deal with it and deal with adversity. It wasn’t easy and there were a lot of things I wish I could have done differently along the way, but it was a learning experience.

“… I just kept pushing along, knowing we had fast cars and knowing that it would eventually turn around.”

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