Richard Petty Motorsports announced Wednesday morning the hiring of Erik Jones to drive the iconic #43 RPM Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021. Jones will replace Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. who already has announced plans to move to a new team owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin next season. The deal between RPM and Jones is a multi-year deal, but neither side disclosed the exact length of the contract.
“It is an incredible honor to have Richard Petty want you to drive for his race team and with the car number he made famous,” Jones said. “Richard Petty Motorsports has a rich history in the sport, but they are not resting on that history. They still have something to prove, and I have something to prove. We are both motivated to write a new chapter. I am proud to be a part of Richard Petty Motorsports.”
Jones has been the driver of the #20 at Joe Gibbs Racing his entire full-time Cup Series career, dating back to the 2017 season, when he was moved from JGR’s NASCAR Xfinity Series program to the Cup level. Jones has two wins in 144-career Cup Series races, including three races as a substitute for the injured Kyle Busch in 2015.
“Erik is an exceptionally talented driver, and we are excited to have him join our team,” Richard Petty Motorsports CEO Brian Moffitt said. “At only 24 years old, Erik is part of NASCAR’s next generation of stars. He has won races at every level in NASCAR he has competed in, including in the NASCAR Cup Series. Erik is a proven winner, and we look forward to providing him with the opportunity to add more wins to this already impressive resume.”
Jones won the NASCAR Truck Series championship with Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2015. In 120 races between the Xfinity and Truck series, he has 16 wins.
Jerry Baxter will remain at RPM to continue as crew chief on the #43 team. Jones’ arrival marks a reunion of sorts between driver and crew chief, as the two worked together at KBM in the Truck Series.