Erik Jones Taking Over Matt Kenseth's Ride | Bonehead Picks

Erik Jones Taking Over Matt Kenseth’s Ride In 2018

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Matt Kenseth’s replacement didn’t take long and it was who we all expected. After Erik Jones finishes his rookie season with Furniture Row Racing, he will take over the number 20 in 2018. Since officially moving up to Monster Energy this season, he has been on loan to FRR from Joe Gibbs Racing driving the 77 car alongside Martin Truex Jr, and has performed fairly well as of late. With only four top tens so far in 18 races, Jones has finished in the top the in the last two races and has led 31 laps.

This is not however his first go around in Monster Energy for JGR before moving up. Jones played fill-in three times, once for Kyle Busch in Kansas in 2015 while he was injured and twice the same year for Kenseth while he was suspended for the Joey Logano incident at Martinsville. With a best finish of 12th in Texas that season, Jones had an average finish of 23.7 compared to an average start of 8.3. Whatever Jones may have learned two years before may have helped with the small improvement.

He was discovered by Kyle in 2012 when Jones beat him at the Snowball Derby in 2012. Jones joined Kyle’s truck team which is somewhat linked to JGR the following season, and within the first two years in 17 races won four of them. During his time between Kyle Busch Motorsports and JGR, Jones has won a combined 13 races which also includes the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship and finished fourth in the Xfinity Series in 2016 (fellow JGR driver Daniel Suarez won the title).

While FRR has an alliance with JGR, it gives Jones an advantage of what to expect when he returns to the team full-time. While filling Kenseth’s shoes may be a hard task from the start, Jones will still have Kyle and Denny Hamlin to look up to for advice. JGR could be entering rebuilding mode in 2018, but wins will eventually once again build up.

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