NASCAR Cup

Erik Jones joins Richard Petty Motorsports for 2021 Cup Series

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Erik Jones has signed for Richard Petty Motorsports to replace Bubba Wallace in the famed #43 car in 2021 NASCAR Cup Series.

Jones has signed a multi-year driver agreement with the team, to drive the number made famous by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty.

“It is an incredible honor to have Richard Petty want you to drive for his race team and with the car number he made famous,” said Jones. “Richard Petty Motorsports has a rich history in the sport, but they are not resting on that history.

“They still have something to prove, and I have something to prove. We are both motivated to write a new chapter. I am proud to be a part of Richard Petty Motorsports.”

Petty collected 200 career premier series race victories, and for 192 of those, the race car was adorned with the iconic #43 on either side. Lee Petty also placed the #43 in victory lane. Following the Richard Petty 1992 Fan Appreciation Tour, the number was retired for two years before returning to the track with Wally Dallenbach Jr., and later John Andretti.

In 1995, Bobby Hamilton added his name to the history of the #43, and captured two wins for the team. In addition, Andretti (1999) and Aric Almirola (2014) each added their names to the list of winners in the #43.

Jones will now be entrusted with it, driving the team’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE after losing his seat at Joe Gibbs Racing ahead of next season. He will be replaced in the #20 JGR Toyota by Christopher Bell.

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“Erik is an exceptionally talented driver, and we are excited to have him join our team,” Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer at Richard Petty Motorsports, said. “At only 24-years old, Erik is part of NASCAR's next generation of stars. He has won races at every level in NASCAR he has competed in - including in the NASCAR Cup Series.

“Erik is a proven winner and we look forward to providing him with the opportunity to add more wins to this already impressive resume.”

Jones has two wins, 33 top-five finishes and 62 top-10 finishes in 144 career starts in the series. In addition, the Byron, Mich., native collected two pole awards (Bristol, Las Vegas), and has led 645 laps throughout five years in the NASCAR Cup Series. Jones captured his first-career NASCAR Cup Series win at the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on July 7, 2018, and collected his second-career win on September 1, 2019 in the historic Southern 500 at the Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. This year, he kicked-off the NASCAR Cup Series season with a win in the Busch Clash, an annual invitation-only 75-lap exhibition race at the Daytona International Speedway.

Crew chief Jerry Baxter will continue to lead the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE team in 2021 with Jones. It will be a reunion of sorts for Baxter and Jones, who have their connection through Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series for three seasons.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Author Charles Bradley