Thanks to a scheduling conflict for part-time driver Cody Coughlin, defending Camping World Truck Series champion Erik Jones will make his first start of the season in the series this weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Jones will start in the No. 51 Toyota due to Coughlin, Kyle Busch Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing agreeing Coughlin should devote his weekend to his championship efforts in the CRA Super Series (Super Late Model) and CRA/JEGS All-Star Tour (Pro Late Model).
The Drivin’ for Linemen 200 would have been Coughlin’s fourth of 11 scheduled starts this season. Instead Jones, a full-time driver in the Xfinity Series, will be in a truck for the first time since clinching the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November.
It will be Jones’ third start at Gateway. However, the 20-year-old failed to finish in his first two starts due to a crash and an electrical problem.
“It’s a place I took a liking to after making my first laps there in 2014,” Jones said in a press release. “We were really fast there the last two years, just didn’t have good endings. It’s always tough to pass there, so you need to qualify well and keep good track position if you are going to get a win.”
Jones did earn the pole at Gateway last year and led 84 laps before he dropped out of the race after 145 laps.
If Jones earns a win Saturday, it would be the 50th for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Of the 49 it has so far, Jones has been responsible for seven of them.
Jones is currently seventh in the Xfinity Series standings after earning two wins so far this season.