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April 23, 2024

Erik Jones to miss Dover Cup race; Corey Heim to drive No. 43 Toyota

Erik Jones will not compete in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover Motor Speedway, Legacy Motor Club announced Tuesday. Corey Heim, the organization’s reserve driver, will pilot the No. 43 Toyota in the Würth 400, scheduled for 2 p.m. ET (FS1, PRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

RELATED: Jones, Wallace, Hamlin crash out at Talladega

Jones was involved in a nose-first wreck into the outside retaining wall in Turn 3 during Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Although he was initially evaluated and released from Talladega’s infield care center, Jones later returned and was transported to UAB University Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, for further evaluation. Jones returned home to North Carolina on Sunday night and met with specialists in the Charlotte area, where it was determined that Jones suffered a compression fracture in a lower vertebra, Legacy M.C. said in a statement.

Although there has been no timeline set for his return behind the wheel, Jones will be in attendance in Dover to help call the race with his crew.

“Erik’s long-term health is our number one priority,” said Jimmie Johnson, co-owner of Legacy M.C. “It will be great to see him at the track Sunday and we intend to give him the time it takes to recover properly. I know Corey will do a great job behind the wheel for the Club. In the meantime, our thoughts are with Erik and his wife Holly — they have our total support.”

Jones, 27, is currently ranked 20th in the Cup Series standings and has one top-10 finish (Daytona International Speedway) in 10 starts this season. In his career, he has three Cup wins (two at Darlington Raceway and one at Daytona), 37 top fives and 89 top-10 finishes in 265 starts. Jones has driven the No. 43 since 2021, first for Richard Petty Motorsports then for Petty GMS Motorsports and then Legacy M.C.

NASCAR officials confirmed that Jones has been granted a medical waiver for the Cup Series Playoffs. He would be allowed to qualify for the 16-driver postseason field despite being sidelined, should he meet all other requirements for eligibility.

Heim, 21, is a full-time driver for Tricon Garage, piloting the No. 11 Toyota in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Heim currently sits second in the Truck standings and has one win, five top fives and seven top-10 finishes in seven races. Heim has additionally started nine races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series spanning from 2023-24, scoring a career-best fourth-place finish in March at Richmond Raceway.

Sunday’s race at Dover will mark Heim’s Cup Series debut, with the Georgia native set to compete in Saturday’s Xfinity race for Sam Hunt Racing as well. Heim made his Xfinity debut at the Monster Mile in 2023 but was forced to the garage with an engine failure with 30 laps to go. He has just one other start at the 1-mile oval, netting a sixth-place result in ARCA Menards Series East competition in 2020.