Erik Jones

Erik Jones on future: ‘No intention’ of leaving Joe Gibbs Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Erik Jones was back to business Wednesday, making the media rounds three days removed from winning Sunday’s Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway. Part of that business was fielding questions about his contract status at Joe Gibbs Racing, where he’s bullish about a potential return.

Jones, 23, enters his fourth full season in the NASCAR Cup Series. His first came in 2017 as a rookie with Furniture Row Racing, then a JGR affiliate; his last two have been at the wheel of Gibbs’ No. 20 Toyota, a seat he hopes to keep beyond this season.

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“I have no intention of leaving my role there,” Jones said Wednesday at Daytona 500 Media Day. “I’d love to continue that. But it is definitely a crazy year. There’s a lot of things happening. There’s a lot of things in motion, I guess, already probably for people, not really for me. I’m excited to see. The pressure is on myself from within, right? There’s no pressure from the outside, in my opinion. It’s pressure from me trying to perform.

“I want to run well. I want to win races. I think if you can do that, the rest of the things are going to come with it, what you want to do. You’ll have as many choices as you want. Hopefully that’s the case.”

Contract negotiations went late into last season for Jones. He re-signed with JGR on Sept. 6, five days after claiming his second career Cup Series win with a triumph in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

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The timing this year is similarly uncertain, but Jones says he has his hunches.

“At this point in the year, you don’t know. It’s too early,” Jones said. “Last year, I would say by May, June, I felt pretty confident in coming back, what we had going on. You just can’t really get it out there yet. I think for me, you always kind of know what you got going.

” … For me, yeah, I mean, you do what’s right for you. I think for me, that’s staying with JGR.”