Erik Jones to Join Richard Petty Motorsports in Multi-year Deal

Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud for Skirts and Scuffs

Erik Jones has signed a multi-year contract with Richard Petty Motorsports to pilot the famous No. 43 Chevrolet starting with the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. 

Jones has earned two NASCAR Cup Series victories since joining Joe Gibbs Racing as a full-time driver in 2017. He earned the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series title in 2015 for Kyle Busch Motorsports. 

The move ends Jones’ seven-year tenure with Toyota, who announced on August 10th that Christopher Bell would fill the No. 20 seat for the 2021 season. 

"These past few months have been kind of hectic trying to work with teams, talk to different people and figure out what opportunities are out there." Jones said, "It's just nice to finally have it sealed up – have it done, announced and have it out there. You don't have to answer all the questions anymore from everyone – where you going, what are you doing and when you are going to announce it. So, it's nice to have it done. It's a really cool opportunity for myself and I think it's going to be a pretty great pairing for both of us."

Jones missed the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs this year after qualifying to contend for the series championship in both 2018 and 2019. He remains winless, but holds nine top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes in 33 starts so far this season. 

The 24-year-old will become the 13th different driver to drive the No. 43 since 1992, joining the likes of The King himself, John Andretti, Bobby Hamilton, and Bobby Labonte. 

Jones replaces current driver Bubba Wallace, who will be racing for the new team co-owned by NBA icon Michael Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin. Wallace has spent his entire Cup career with RPM, making 109 starts since 2017. 

“Erik is an exceptionally talented driver, and we are excited to have him join our team,” said Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer at Richard Petty Motorsports. “At only 24 years old, Erik is part of NASCAR’s next generation of stars. He has won races at every level in NASCAR he has competed in — including in the NASCAR Cup Series. Erik is a proven winner and we look forward to providing him with the opportunity to add more wins to his already impressive resume.”

Jerry Baxter will remain as crew chief for the organization. Sponsorship will be announced at a later date.  

"We get to skip kind of the awkward introduction stage and we can go right into working on the race cars and kind of what we're going to look for in each other and the team to go out and be strong right off the bat at Daytona." Jones said of Baxter, "So, I think that's going to be a good pairing. Jerry's a racer at heart, as am I, and I think we can share that right off the bat and kind of get things started off on the right foot."  

Jones will move from a four-car organization to a single-car operation at RPM, something he is excited about - going forward with a small group of people working toward the same goal: finding a stable footing and searching for their first win together.  

"That was one of the things that when RPM reached out I was excited about - the opportunity to be a single-car team and just have everybody working in the same direction. The cool part is I'll have the chance to get to know everybody at RPM – everybody that's working on the car in the shop and getting it to the race track. Coming from JGR, I never got the chance to meet everybody. It's a pretty big company and there's a lot of people that I never had the chance to really interact with too much. 

“So, that was always a little strange for me with growing up racing and working on my own stuff with my family and getting to know everybody that had a hand in working on the race car. So, kind of getting back to that small town and small team feel I think is going to be really kind of nice. Just having one voice, which is mine and Jerry's, to kind of lead the team in the direction we think we need to go, I think is going to be a good thing."

Erik Jones to Join Richard Petty Motorsports in Multi-year Deal  Erik Jones to Join Richard Petty Motorsports in Multi-year Deal Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Thursday, October 22, 2020 Rating: 5