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May 2, 2024

Erik Jones cleared to return, but will sit out Kansas; return to No. 43 ride set for Darlington

Erik Jones looks on in the Cup Series garage at Phoenix Raceway
Chris Graythen
Getty Images

Erik Jones has been cleared to return to competition but will remain sidelined for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway as a precaution as he recovers from a back injury, Legacy Motor Club announced Thursday, saying that Jones plans to return at Darlington Raceway on May 12.

Corey Heim, who made his Cup debut in the No. 43 Toyota last weekend at Dover Motor Speedway, returns to the cockpit for Sunday’s AdventHealth 400 at Kansas (3 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

MORE: Cup Series standings

Jones, competing in his eighth full-time season of Cup competition, sustained a fractured vertebra in his lower back in an April 21 crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Legacy Motor Club officials indicated that Jones was cleared to compete by doctors and approved to return by NASCAR, but that he will rest for another event with a plan to return in time for the Goodyear 400 on May 12 at Darlington, where he is a two-time Cup Series winner.

Now in his third year driving the No. 43 car, Jones, 27, traveled to Dover last weekend despite his injury to support Heim and the Legacy M.C. group as Heim made his first laps in the Next Gen car. LMC officials indicated that Jones will also make the trip to Kansas this weekend to support the No. 43 team.

“As far as coming back, I think it is week-to-week,” Jones said at Dover. “My injury fortunately, is on the mild side, so we’ll just have to see how it’s healing up, how I’m feeling. Again, I’m feeling better and better every day.”

Heim qualified 32nd and finished 25th in last week’s debut at Dover, completing an incident-free race for the No. 43 group despite finishing three laps down. Heim will pull double-duty at Kansas Speedway, wheeling his No. 11 Tricon Garage Toyota in the Craftsman Truck Series on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s Cup race.

In four Truck Series starts at Kansas, Heim has two top fives and three top 10s with 71 laps led and a runner-up finish in 2023. Additionally, the 21-year-old Georgia native has two ARCA Menards Series wins at the 1.5-mile oval with five top-five finishes and 240 laps led in six starts.