Erik Jones and Chris Gayle will remain together in 2018.
Gayle, who took a crew chief role with Furniture Row Racing this season to oversee Jones in the No. 77 Toyota will return to Joe Gibbs Racing as Jones’ crew chief for his sophomore season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The 21-year-old Jones is replacing Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota.
“I’m excited to work with Erik again in 2018 and continue to build on our rookie season of 2017,” said Gayle (pictured at right, with Jones). “I think the lessons we learned together this year will be invaluable to us next season. I’m also very excited to be coming back to JGR and work with all the great people and familiar faces in that organization.”
Before this season, Gayle had been a JGR crew chief in the Xfinity Series for four seasons.
Going into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Jones sits 18th in points with 14 top-10 finishes. He is also sitting in a good spot to be crowned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
“While we still have one more shot this weekend to close out the year with a win for Furniture Row Racing in the No. 77 Camry, I’m really excited about what’s to come next year moving back to JGR full-time in the Cup Series and to have Chris Gayle with me as my crew chief,” Jones said.
“Chris and I have come a long way in my rookie season and his rookie season as a crew chief in the Cup Series. We’ve learned a lot together and built a good relationship that I think will only continue to grow as we both move back to JGR and continue fighting for wins and championships.”
With Jones and Gayle slotted in at the No. 20, the team’s current crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, will move to the Xfinity Series. Ratcliff has worked with Kenseth since 2013 but will head back to the series where he has 36 wins and claimed the championship (with Kyle Busch) in 2009. Ratcliff will oversee the No. 20 team with rookie driver Christopher Bell.