Bristol, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Eighteen-year-old Erik Jones has been getting a lot of attention since he won last weekend's Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Jones became a first-time race winner in Xfinity when he held off Sprint Cup Series regulars Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the 300-mile event at Texas. He became the first driver to win five NASCAR national touring series races before the age of 19. He scored four victories in the Camping World Truck Series -- one in 2013 and three in 2014 -- before claiming his maiden victory in Xfinity.
There have been 14 NASCAR national touring series races won by a driver under the age of 19, and Jones has 35 percent of those victories.
This year, Jones is driving the No. 4 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports full-time in the Camping World Truck Series. He is running a partial schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series, driving the No. 20 Toyota Camry in some races, including Texas, and substituting for the injured Kyle Busch in the No. 54 car in other events.
He started on the pole and led a race-high 79 laps, including the final 50, at Texas.
"This has got to be one of the biggest wins in my career by far, to race against these Cup guys (Keselowski and Earnhardt) and being able to go out and get a win," said Jones, whose first Xfinity win came in just his ninth start. "I knew we had a fast Camry, I never go into a race thinking we can't win, but it's still far-fetched to think. It's amazing. I've watched other guys do it, win races as young guys, and I want to be that guy."
Jones, a Byron, Michigan native, could be making his first career start in Sprint Cup in the near future.
"There's no question that at some point very quick (Jones) is going to be in a Cup car some," team owner Joe Gibbs said. "I think we have a bit of a strategy there that we talked about. I think he's ready to go at any time. We'll just work with that as we go forward."
Jones is scheduled to drive the No. 20 car in this weekend's 300-lap Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has one Xfinity start at this half-mile oval, finishing eighth last August.
"Bristol is a track that I definitely consider more in my forte of tracks I grew up running," he said. "It's always exciting to get back there, and it's kind of our first short-track race of the year too. It's going to be interesting to see where our program stands on that side of things, which is always nice to check out. I'm looking forward to it.
"We've been strong the last few weeks, and I think we will be able to carry that momentum right in to Bristol with our GameStop (sponsor) Toyota."
Jones is presently third in the Truck Series point standings, just six points behind leader and two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton. The next truck race is May 8 at Kansas.
Series: NASCAR Xfinity. Date: Saturday, April 18. Race: Drive to Stop Diabetes 300. Site: Bristol Motor Speedway. Track: 0.533-mile oval. Start time: 1:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 300. Miles: 159.9. 2014 Winner: Kyle Busch. Television: FOX Sports 1. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.