HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Three years after Erik Jones beat Kyle Busch in a Super Late Model race, leading Busch to call a Toyota executive and say that manufacturer needed to sign the kid, Jones became the youngest NASCAR Camping World Series champion.
The 19-year-old Jones finished sixth Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway to claim the crown and give Kyle Busch Motorsports its first driver’s title. It is the team’s third consecutive owner’s title and fourth overall.
“So many things had to come into play for me to be in this moment,” Jones said. “It’s just real special for everybody.”
Said team owner Kyle Busch: “I knew he was going to be that good. I’m thankful that he stuck with me and believe in what our plan was form to give him this shot. Erik has done a lot of growing up in a short period of time.”
Jones ran conservatively since he needed only to finish 15th or better to clinch the championship. Jones beat Tyler Reddick by 15 points for the crown.
“We’ve got to move on to next year and hopefully we can plug away at it and get a championship done for our team,” Reddick said. “I know what second place feels like, and I really don’t like it too much. If I didn’t have enough reasons to win the championship, I’ve got one more.”
Matt Crafton, who had claimed the past two series titles, won Friday night’s race.
Jones is scheduled to run a full Xfinity schedule and select Sprint Cup races next season for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“He’s going to have a long, long career without a doubt,” Crafton said of Jones.