Erik Jones Sets Expectations for Looming Contract Talks

Erik Jones

Getty Erik Jones has addressed his looming free agency.

The driver of the No. 43 has weighed in about his NASCAR future. Erik Jones has said that he is happy about his role at Petty GMS Motorsports and that he would like to return to the organization.

Jones made the comments to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass ahead of the postponed Cup Series race at Dover Motor Speedway. He said that he has had some initial talks with the team about returning in 2023, but he does not expect any announcements to take place for a few more months.

“Obviously, I’m at the end of my deal that started with RPM and went through this year,” Jones told Pockrass. “I’ve been happy though. I’ve been happy with the way everything has gone. Obviously, this year, we’ve been running strong. We’re a playoff contender right now, which is great. I like working with [crew chief Dave Elenz], I like working with my guys.”

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Jones Faced Contract Questions Throughout 2021

Erik Jones

GettyErik Jones poses for a photo at Daytona International Speedway.

Jones, who replaced Bubba Wallace in the No. 43 after the 2020 Cup Series season, faced similar questions during his first year in the stock car. Fans and analysts wanted to know if he would return to Petty GMS Motorsports — then Richard Petty Motorsports — for a second season.

Jones did not provide an answer until August 22. He kicked off race day at Michigan International Speedway by announcing that he would return to the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro for a second consecutive season and pursue wins.

“Actually, yes. I can officially announce that we have put pen to paper and that I’ll be back in the No. 43 next year,” Jones said during his media availability, transcript courtesy of Jayski. “That was literally done yesterday while I was out doing some stuff. It’s cool to have it done.

“I’m just happy to have it done at this point in the season and to be able to focus not only on the rest of this year but work on getting next year settled in with a new car and everything going on there. So yeah, I’m happy we can finally say it and get it out there. We’ve been really close on everything the last couple of weeks and just finished everything up.”

Petty GMS Motorsports Made Changes Ahead of 2022

Jones spent his first season with RPM as the only driver in the building. He posted six top-10 finishes while working with crew chief Jerry Baxter, and he ended the year 24th in points.

The Cup Series organization made major changes ahead of Jones’ second season in the No. 43. RPM merged with GMS Racing to form Petty GMS Motorsports, which made Jones and Ty Dillon teammates. The organization also secured a new crew chief for the No. 43 team in Dave Elenz.

The changes inside the organization and the move to the Gen 7 cars have benefited Jones. The Michigan native has three top-10 finishes and one top-five. He also led 25 laps at Talladega Superspeedway before a split-second decision on the final lap led to him finishing sixth instead of winning his first race since the 2019 season.

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