Erik Jones said his Darlington win didn’t seal the deal for him to return to the No. 20 next season, as it was already done.
“It had been maybe a week and a half that we had finally gotten it done,” said Jones at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I felt good about it. I had a good idea the last few months that we would get it done, but it was about a week and a half ago that we got it done.”
Joe Gibbs Racing announced Friday that Jones would remain in his Toyota Camry for at least another season. Jones was asked if he expected more than one year and said he’ll see where it goes.
“I think if we keep doing what we’ve been doing here the last couple of months, I don’t think we will have any issues,” said Jones.
“It feels good,” he continued about the deal. “I’ve had a good relationship with JGR since 2015. I’ve enjoyed racing for them, and I hope I’m there for a long time. I hope we can continue to prove that we deserve this ride. I think Chris (Gayle, crew chief) and I have been doing our job here lately in trying to execute. We have good momentum going now, just need to keep that rolling.”
Officially locked into the playoffs through his Southern 500 win, Jones knows all about momentum. He started last year’s postseason on the pole in Las Vegas and working on a string of three top-eight finishes. But a bad finish in the first race when he was collected when Kevin Harvick blew a tire, was the beginning of the end for his title hopes.
Once again Jones is working on a hot streak, having scored over 200 points since the start of July. Even better, Jones is going to start the playoffs with bonus points on his side.
“Right before the playoffs is a good time to get your momentum rolling,” he said. “I feel like this time of the year has always been pretty good for us in the past couple years between my rookie season and up till now. We are on a roll and want to keep rolling here in Indy and on to Las Vegas.
“Last year, we had a rough first round. We want to go deep in the playoffs. We want to be able to make a run at it and make it to the Round of 8 — definitely my goal. That gives you a shot to go to Homestead. If we make it there, I’d say it’s been a real successful year.”