Erik Jones Keeping His ‘Nose’ Clean

As 18-year-old Erik Jones takes over the driving duties of the No. 18 M&M’s Red Nose Day Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) this weekend at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, the goal will be simple – to keep his “nose” clean.

The No. 18 M&M’s Toyota will have a special Red Nose Day paint scheme at Kansas and Jones is hoping to have a solid day in his first official NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start Sunday in the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas. He’ll simply look to complete all the laps, learn about the car and team, and glean some invaluable experience in NASCAR’s top series.

The Byron, Michigan native has seen a rapid rise through the racing ranks. One of his most storied head-turning moments was two years ago as a 16-year-old, when he out-dueled the driver he’ll be substituting for this weekend – Kyle Busch. It happened in the Snowball Derby at Pensacola (Fla.) Speedway, the most famous Late Model race in the country.

Busch found out first-hand that Jones had what it takes to succeed in NASCAR, so much so that he signed the young driver to a limited schedule for the 2013 and 2014 seasons at his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) Camping World Truck Series team. It didn’t take long for the rest of the racing world to figure out what Busch already knew. In November 2013, Jones brought home his first Truck Series win at Phoenix International Raceway in just his fifth series start. He added three more Truck Series wins in 2014 for a total of four wins in just 20 career Truck Series starts.

Jones now runs full-time in the Truck Series for KBM and a partial schedule for JGR in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. 

With three races complete in the 2015 Truck Series season, Jones sits third in the standings, six points out of the lead on the heels of two top-five and three top-10 finishes to start the season.

Jones already has made his mark in the Xfinity Series, as well, in his eight starts this season in the Nos. 20 and 54 JGR Camrys. He captured his first career Xfinity Series win in April at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, and has posted three poles and five top-five finishes thus far.

While Kansas marks Jones’ first official Sprint Cup start, he had the opportunity to turn laps in a Sprint Cup car in a relief role, taking over for Denny Hamlin last month at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Hamlin was unable to continue the race following an extended rain delay and Jones took over for the remainder of the race. He brought the No. 11 Camry home 26th and gained invaluable Sprint Cup experience.

The special paint scheme Jones will be running on the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Saturday night highlights M&M’s support of Red Nose Day. Parent company Mars is proud to be a partner of Red Nose Day, a nationwide charitable event that will be held May 21. The M&M’s brand is one of the world’s most beloved chocolate candies and a leader in colorful fun. Thus, it’s a natural fit to leverage the M&M’s brand and the humor-oriented Red Nose Day festivities to help raise money through this partnership. 

So, as the Sprint Cup Series heads to Kansas for Saturday night’s race under the lights, Jones will look to keep his “nose” clean as he makes his official Sprint Cup debut in the Heartland of America.