Joe Gibbs says JGR's plan is to run Jones full-time in the Xfinity Series in 2016.
Erik Jones is in the fast lane at Joe Gibbs Racing.
On Tuesday, team owner Joe Gibbs told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Jones will run for the Xfinity Series title next year and dabble in some Sprint Cup races as well.
Coach seemed adamant that expediting the 19-year-old phenom’s career path was of upmost importance to the organization.
Jones a 'big part' of JGR's future
"We look at Erik as a big part of our future and we've got a plan laid out,” Gibbs said. “It's not something we've talked about in public, but we all kind of know inside of our racing organization, and with his parents and his agent (Alan Miller), who is just great.
We've got a path charted that we think is the best to get him ready and to fulfill his goal of being in a Cup car as quick as we can get him there
Joe Gibbs on Erik Jones
“So we've talked over a plan, and basically the plan next year would be a full XFINITY season and try and run for a championship there and also to, in all likelihood, have him in some Cup races. So that would be the goal for next year.”
Jones has enjoyed a remarkable season. He entered 2015 expecting to run for the Camping World Truck Series title and run part-time in the NXS tour. However, after Kyle Busch was injured earlier this season his protege stepped in — and delivered.
In his first full season in the CWTS, Jones scored one win, four poles, seven top fives and nine top-10 finishes in the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra. He’s currently third in the point standings — five points behind defending champion Matt Crafton and 16 points behind series leader Tyler Reddick.
On the NXS side, Jones has wins at Texas and Chicago this season — with two different JGR teams — along with three poles, eight top fives and 11 top-10 finishes in 17 starts. Jones qualifying effort has been equally impressive. He’s averaged 3.7 in trucks and a 4.6 start in the NXS.
He showed tremendous promise when he filling in for Denny Hamlin at Bristol in the Cup race and turned heads when tasked to sub for Busch in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota three races later at Kansas.
'We've got a plan'
With a full stable of Cup drivers at JGR, it’s still unclear what Gibbs has proposed for Jones beyond 2016. While Coach would not elaborate on specifics, he’s certain the driver will figure prominently into the company’s future.
“We've got a plan laid out in the future,” Gibbs said. “It's something we can't, you know, we don't want to talk about now, but there is no question -- this guy (laughs), Erik's headed for Cup.
"He’s headed for Cup and we've got a path charted that we think is the best to get him ready and to fulfill his goal of being in a Cup car as quick as we can get him there."