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Sprint Cup Series


Gibbs: Erik Jones to run Sprint Cup, XFINITY in 2016

Coach Joe Gibbs shed light on Erik Jones' NASCAR career arc Tuesday morning, saying that a full XFINITY Series schedule and some Sprint Cup events were planned for 2016.

Gibbs, appearing on "The Morning Drive on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, said that advancing the 19-year-old driver through the NASCAR development ladder was a top priority at Joe Gibbs Racing.

"We look at Erik as a big part of our future," Gibbs told SiriusXM, "and we've got a plan laid out and it's not something we've talked about in public, but we all kind of know inside of our racing organization, and with his parents and his agent ... is just great. So we've talked over a plan, and basically the plan next year would be a full XFINITY season and try and run for a championship there and also to, in all likelihood, have him in some Cup races so that would be the goal for next year."

Jones already has one Sprint Cup start to his credit, making an impressive drive at Kansas Speedway in May in place of the injured Kyle Busch. He also logged a hefty relief stint the month before, substituting for an ailing Denny Hamlin at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Gibbs, 74, said plans to get Jones into a full-time ride are taking shape, though his organization currently stands at the NASCAR-mandated maximum of four teams, with Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth on the JGR driver roster.

"We've got a plan laid out in the future, and it's something we can't, you know, we don't want to talk about now, but there is no question -- this guy, Erik's headed for Cup," Gibbs said with a laugh. "He's headed for Cup and we've got a path charted that we think is the best to get him ready and to fulfill his goal of being in a Cup car as quick as we can get him there."

Jones is in his first full season driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The Michigan native ranks third in the series standings, with four pole positions and one victory in 12 races thus far.

Jones has also competed in 17 of 19 XFINITY Series events this season, with four poles and two wins splitting time between JGR's Nos. 20 and 54 Toyotas.

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