Petty GMS Motorsports has taken care of some important business ahead of the Cup Series playoffs. The team reached a contract extension with Erik Jones that will keep him in the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro.
According to a press release, this is not a simple extension like he signed during the 2021 season. This new deal covers multiple years, which will provide Jones with some stability as he continues to embrace the Next Gen era of the Cup Series. This extension will also keep Jones and crew chief Dave Elenz together after they have contended for strong finishes in 2022.
“I’m really excited to have this deal done and finally be able to talk about it,” Jones said in a press release. “I really like the group I have at Petty GMS and working with Dave [Elenz]. Each week I feel like we get better and better and put ourselves in contention to win.
“Knowing where I’ll be driving allows us to really focus on building the team and making our cars better. I’m looking forward to finishing this season strong, hopefully with a win, and continuing to build on what we started this year with Petty GMS.”
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Jones Continues His Pursuit of a Playoff Spot
The driver of the No. 43 has not reached Victory Lane since the 2019 season when he drove for Joe Gibbs Racing. However, he has come close during his time in the No. 43 Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet.
Jones posted six top-10 finishes during his inaugural season with the organization (2021), headlined by a seventh-place run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Fast-forward to 2022, and Jones now has seven top-10 finishes and two top-fives through the first 21 races.
Jones finished third at Auto Club Speedway in the second race of the season. He then finished fourth in the July trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway while avoiding a last-lap wreck that collected Corey LaJoie. He fell 35 points after NASCAR issued L1-Level penalties to both the No. 42 and the No. 43 entries, but he remains within reach of a spot with a win.
“We’ve had a great relationship with Erik since he joined RPM and now Petty GMS,” Richard Petty said in a statement. “Erik’s done an outstanding job representing the No. 43 and all of the fans who love to see that car on track. It’s nice to have Erik locked in for the years to come and continue building on the legacy of the No. 43 as he continues his Cup career.”
Questions Remain About Jones’ Teammate
The deal with Jones is one important piece for Petty GMS Motorsports as the team continues to move deeper into the Next Gen era. However, there is another question that must have an answer in the coming months.
Petty GMS Motorsports is a two-car team, but there is only one driver locked in for the 2023 season. Jones will return to the No. 43, but Ty Dillon will not be back in the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro.
Dillon and Petty GMS Motorsports announced prior to the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that they would “mutually” agree to go their separate ways after the season finale at Phoenix Raceway. Though the interviews put a different tone on the conversation.
With Jones locked up for the future, Petty GMS Motorsports just has to take care of the other seat. The team needs to find the driver that will replace Dillon in the No. 42 and work with Jones for the 2023 Cup Series season.
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