Erik Jones is the only NASCAR driver in history to win Rookie of the Year honors in all three series. Jones had no wins this season, but took pole position at Bristol where he would go on to finish second. He also finished the year with five top-five finishes and ended up just inside the top 20 drivers in the points at 19th.
The success even surprised Jones himself. “I was in the truck series for so long, I never thought I would climb to Cup so quickly,” Jones told Motorsport.com. “Getting to Xfinity and only being there for a year and now completing my first year in Cup was a really fast jump. But, no, I never thought it would happen so quickly.”
Due to financial considerations, Furniture Row Racing will not field the 77 car next year so Erik Jones will race with Joe Gibbs Racing in the number 20 car in 2018. Jones is excited to make waves next year with his new team, and cites a strange reason for his confidence: consistency. It’s weird for a rookie who is switching teams to be talking about consistency, but a key to his rookie success will be following him to Joe Gibbs.
“It’s really nice for me,” Jones said about his crew chief, Chris Gayle coming with him. “I’ve never really had the opportunity to work with a guy for more than a year. So this is kind of the first time I’m having a chance to get to know a guy a little better and have a second year to go out and use some of the chemistry we’ve built from the previous season into next year. It’s going to be really nice to have a guy that we’ve already built that working and personal relationship and have a head start on adjusting on cars when we get to Daytona.”
Building on his rookie season would make Jones a driver to watch next year.
The ROY award is based on a points system that awards points for finishes in relation to other rookie drivers among number of starts, stage points and even conduct of the racer off the track. ESPN has a full break down of the system here.
Jones’ ROY win caps off a nearly perfect season for Furniture Row Racing as a teammate to championship winner Martin Truex Jr.