With Matt Kenseth remaining suspended after going through NASCAR’s appeal process, Erik Jones will be behind the wheel of the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Speaking with the media on Thursday at Texas before knowing the result of Kenseth’s appeal, Jones said that he was set to do the best job possible filling in.
“If that were to happen obviously I’m going to do the best I can for them and just to keep them in contention and hopefully have a good race for them,” he commented. “But we’ll just see what all happens there and obviously we’ll go into the truck race here first this weekend and try to fire off and get ourselves back to where we need to be in that series.”
Jones is set to do triple duty now this weekend, driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series and Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY Series. Jones enters this weekend as the Camping World Truck Series points leader, 10 points ahead of Matt Crafton.
This isn’t the first time that Jones has filled in for one of his teammates, as he has gone through the process already twice this year.
At Bristol Motor Speedway in April, Denny Hamlin elected to not return behind the wheel of his Toyota Camry following a red flag for rain at lap 23 due to neck spasms; Jones would hop in the car, running the rest of the race en route to finishing 26th. Jones would then run the full race at Kansas Speedway a month later, filling in for Kyle Busch after he was injured at Daytona. Starting from the 12th spot, Jones would run just inside of the top-10 until he would go around and get into the wall, resulting in a 40th place finish.
“Bristol was, I think, a tough situation for everybody never being in a Cup car altogether and then I was really comfortable at Kansas,” he commented. “I was pretty happy with the way things were going up to the point that I lost it, but running up in the top-10 and being competitive and being in contention definitely gave me a lot of confidence for the next opportunity that I get whether it be this weekend of whether it be in a year or two years or whatever it may be. I definitely feel confident in myself to be able to go out and do a good job.”
Jones added during his media availability that he had yet to meet with Jason Ratcliff, who crew chiefs the No. 20 Sprint Cup Series effort.