Erik Jones signs contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing

Erik Jones has signed a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing that will keep him behind the wheel of the #20 Toyota in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for the 2020 season, the race team announced Friday. The 2020 season will be Jones' fourth full-time season in the Cup Series, the third as driver of the #20.

“I’m so happy to finally have my plans for 2020 confirmed and to talk about it,” Jones said. “I’m excited to be staying with Joe Gibbs Racing and the 20 team and to continue the success that we have built over the last two years in the Cup Series. I put my heart and soul into this and this race team. This is my living and how I want to make a career and what I want to do. I’ve been racing with JGR since 2014 and it’s really cool to be able to continue with the foundation we’ve built over the years and hopefully win more races and contend for championships together.”

After driving for JGR in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Kyle Busch Motorsports, owned by JGR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Jones made the leap to full-time Cup competition in 2017 as driver of the #77 Toyota for now-defunct Furniture Row Racing, through a deal with JGR. After his rookie season, he was moved to Gibbs to drive the #20 after JGR released Matt Kenseth at the end of what would be Kenseth's final full-time Cup Series season.

The official announcement of Jones' extension comes lest than a week after the driver claimed his second-career Cup Series win in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 1. His first win came last year at Daytona International Speedway.

“Erik has accomplished so much in our sport already and yet, he really is just at the start of a long career,” JGR owner Joe Gibbs said. “He’s been a part of Joe Gibbs Racing for almost his entire professional career and we’re excited to see what the future holds for him.”

The announcement of Jones' extension also further fuels speculation that Christopher Bell, one of JGR's drivers in the Xfinity Series will drive the #95 Toyota of Leavine Family Racing in the Cup Series next year. LFR has an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing and recently announced the release of its driver, Matt DiBenedetto, at the end of the 2019 season. JGR, meanwhile, is expected to retain all four of its current Cup Series drivers, also including Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr., for next season.