Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Erik Jones ‘blindsided a little bit’ by JGR’s decision for 2021

Erik Jones said Sunday that he was mildly surprised when told that he wouldn’t return to Joe Gibbs Racing next season, adding that he has a “great few opportunities” for 2021.

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Jones’ remarks came in an interview with NBC Sports ahead of Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 (4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) at Michigan International Speedway in his home state. He said that he was informed of the organization’s decision Thursday morning; the news broke later that day.

“I was blindsided a little bit,” Jones told NBCSN. “I didn’t really expect it coming from our talks. I thought we were moving in a good direction, but at the end of the day, I’ve had a great really eight years almost with Joe Gibbs Racing between Xfinity and Cup, and I’m thankful for that time. It’s good to see the support that’s been out there the last few days on social media, and everybody that’s coming out in support has been awesome. We’ve got a great few opportunities out there, which has been good to see over the next few weeks.

“Hopefully, we can have some good talks. Excited about that, and excited about the next 15 races, too.”

Jones is the latest driver to become a key free agent ahead of the 2021 season. He is in his third season driving JGR’s No. 20 Toyota and ranks 15th in the Cup Series standings.