Joe Gibbs Racing and Erik Jones will part ways at the end of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Jones was in a contract year with Gibbs. The 24-year-old has driven the No. 20 Toyota Camry for three seasons and has two career wins (Daytona, Darlington), and made the playoffs in 2018 and ’19.
“We appreciate all Erik has done for Joe Gibbs Racing over the past several years,” said team owner Joe Gibbs. “He joined us as a teenager and has accomplished so much in his time here, and we remain focused on the remainder of this season and earning him a spot in the playoffs.”
Before moving into the No. 20, replacing Matt Kenseth, Jones won Rookie of the Year with Furniture Row Racing. Furniture Row was an alliance partner of Gibbs.
Jones graduated into the Cup Series after a successful stint with JGR in the Xfinity Series. Although he only ran one full season, 2016, when he earned Rookie of the Year and finished fourth in the championship, Jones won nine races in the starts he made between 2015-17.
Before moving into Gibbs equipment, Jones won a Truck Series championship under the tutelage of Kyle Busch.
“I greatly appreciate the opportunity that JGR provided me with over the last four years, and I wish the team nothing but success and good fortune,” said Jones. “JGR gave me a solid foundation from which to go out and compete at the highest level, and I look forward to building on that in the years to come.”
Ed Laukes, group vice president of marketing for Toyota, issued a statement on the manufacturer’s behalf: “Erik has been an incredible friend to Toyota throughout the last eight years. We’ve become close not only to Erik but to his entire family. We’ve celebrated together, we’ve cried together, and we’ve supported each other through it all. Unfortunately, the time has come that we have to part ways from a competitive standpoint. We know Erik will continue to do great things in this sport and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors. We will certainly continue to follow his career and will be there to congratulate him as he continues to succeed.”
The split of Gibbs and Jones likely clears the way for Christopher Bell to move into the Gibbs stable. Earlier this week, Leavine Family Racing announced it would finish out the season but had been sold.