In a Daytona race marked with several “Big Ones,” in the end, a new first-time winner ended up in victory lane. The No. 20 driver though says he was surprised at how quickly he was able to actual get a win in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Back in December of 2012, Erik Jones, at just 16 years old won the Snowball Derby over now MENCS teammate Kyle Busch. At the time, Jones competed part-time in the ARCA Racing Series, and won the Snowball Derby, pulling away with a mere eight laps to go. He was a first-time winner at Five Flags Speedway that day. Fast forward to July 7, 2018 and he’s again a first-time winner — this time at NASCAR’s highest level.
Jones Thought It Would Take Longer
In 2017, Jones was a rookie in the MENCS, running the No. 77 car full time, the second car team for Furniture Row Racing. While the driver had 10 top tens in the 2017 season, he never came out with a win, though he started first at Bristol last August, and finished second ultimately. Even with those impressive finishes, Jones said he thought getting to victory lane would have taken longer than his second season, and first with Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 20 Toyota.
“When I won the Snowball Derby in 2012 I was 16 years old, and I didn’t have any opportunities in NASCAR at that point, so I kind of thought I was going to find something else to do pretty soon,” Jones said.
“But I thought at that point I was going to get maybe some smaller opportunities for other teams, but that kind of changed everything for me, so really these last six years have flown by,” he said.
Jones said it does not seem like 2,044 days ago that he was winning the Snowball Derby, and getting attention by NASCAR.
“It’s definitely went by quickly, and I never would have thought six years would have went by so quick, but looking back right now over the six years and what all has happened, places I’ve been, things I’ve done, it’s flown by,” he said.