Erik Jones has a Sprint Cup ride for the 2017 season.
Furniture Row announced Sunday that Jones would drive a second car for the team next season. Jones will pilot the No. 77 car, a number below the No. 78 Martin Truex Jr. drives for the team.
“I just can’t believe this is really happening,” Jones said in a statement. “We have been talking about Cup racing for a while, but to actually make the announcement is surreal. This is every young driver’s dream, to be with a manufacturer like Toyota, an organization like Furniture Row with its successful technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, and an incredible sponsor like 5-hour ENERGY who is so well known for promoting its racing program. They have given me a life-changing opportunity and my mission is to make each of them proud.”
Jones is also getting an established Cup Series sponsor. The team said 5-Hour Energy, which has sponsored Clint Bowyer since entering the sport when Bowyer moved to Michael Waltrip Racing, would sponsor Jones for 22 races in 2017.
Bowyer is spending the 2016 season at HScott Motorsports before taking over the No. 14 car for Tony Stewart in 2017. Bowyer likely couldn’t take 5-Hour Energy with him to Stewart-Haas Racing because of the presence of Monster Energy as a sponsor for Kurt Busch.
“The combination of a young incredibly talented driver, the success Toyota has had with all of its teams at Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row and the way Martin has been running in the No. 78, we just felt this opportunity met our company’s objectives the best,” Rise’ Meguiar, a vice president for 5-Hour’s parent company said. “Erik has earned the hype around him and we are proud to be a part of introducing him nationally with commercials, in-store displays and promotions. This is a really exciting opportunity for 5-hour ENERGY.”
Jones has won 12 Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races in 87 career starts. He’s currently driving full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series in the No. 20 car. Jones is fourth in the points standings despite winning three times in 2016.
He drove in four Cup Series races in 2015, though he only gets credit for three of them. He made his unofficial Sprint Cup Series debut at Bristol when Denny Hamlin had to get out of the car thanks to a muscle spasm during a rain delay.
Jones then made a start in the No. 18 car for Kyle Busch at Kansas in the sprint and was the substitute driver for Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 in the fall as Kenseth was serving his two-race NASCAR suspension for punting Joey Logano at Martinsville.
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