Keeping up with Jones could become habit in NASCAR circles

cathyelliottIt occurred to me after I watched the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16 that I have spent precious little time this season talking about the “all-stars” of our sport. Instead, I have stayed true to form and gone off on a series of odd tangents on things like inappropriate terms of endearment and Tiger Woods.

I have done you a disservice. I feel badly about it. So this week I have decided to take a deep breath and make a decision … to keep right on doing what I’ve been doing.  Sorry.

Well, truth be told, that’s not the truth. I’m not sorry. After spending the past couple of years contemplating NASCAR’s future prospects and thinking things were looking pretty bleak, I have come full circle – or perhaps I should say full oval. We have discussed Brett Moffitt this year, and Chase Elliott. Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson always seem to be in the conversation (and in the thick of things on the racetrack).

This week, it is time to talk about NASCAR’s current number one, Number 2: Erik Jones.

Like the old joke about how Democrats vote – early and often – Jones has wasted no time making a name for himself since Kyle Busch Motorsports signed him to drive in five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) races in 2013. Success came early; Erik finished second in his third career start and later that same season became the youngest driver  to win in the history of NASCAR’s high-level competition, at the age of 17. (He lost the top spot to Cole Custer the following season, but still, it was pretty impressive.)

In 2014 Jones moved up to the NASCAR Nationwide Series with Joe Gibbs Racing. He competed in three events for JGR that year, and earned another winner’s trophy in the NCWTS, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; that’s his boss Kyle Busch’s hometown, by the way. Way to go, Erik.

On April 10 of this year Jones won his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, but probably the biggest moment of his career came when he made his unofficial debut at Bristol Motor Speedway after his JGR teammate Denny Hamlin was sidelined by neck spasms. It was subsequently announced that he would take over driving duties in the No. 18 Toyota until Kyle Busch – who was seriously injured during Speedweeks at Daytona – was medically cleared to reclaim the driver’s seat.

Long story short, Jones is making headlines in a big way. As far as NASCAR trajectories go, he appears to be on a straight and focused line to the front of the field.

He certainly has proven himself willing to do whatever it takes to make it big, even in temporary situations. I think I heard somewhere that Jones will be filling in as an interim late-night talk show host until Stephen Colbert takes over David Letterman’s former seat, and there are also rumors that he has been tapped as an understudy for the title character in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera, a legendary leading man with a long and successful career whose name, by the way, also happens to be Erik.

Coincidence? I think not.

Cathy Elliott is the former director of public relations for Darlington Raceway and author of the books Chicken Soup for the Soul: NASCAR and Darlington Raceway: Too Tough To Tame. Contact her at cathyelliott@hotmail.com.

Comments

comments

Birds split doubleheader, return to open homestand

Birds split doubleheader, return to open homestandThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans split a doubleheader Sunday with the [more]

Local track athletes capture first at S.C. Junior Olympics

Local track athletes capture first at S.C. Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club played host to [more]

Native son Drew Brophy returns for art retrospective

Native son Drew Brophy returns for art retrospectiveThe Myrtle Beach Art museum drew over a thousand folks [more]

Drew turns softball skills into memorable summer

Drew turns softball skills into memorable summerOlivia Drew was crying, and her mother, Brittany Drew, was [more]

Pelicans limited to one hit as offensive woes continue

Pelicans limited to one hit as offensive woes continueAlex Lange fired six excellent innings Thursday, but the Myrtle [more]

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silver

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silverThe frontrunners in this year's My Horry News All-County Girls [more]

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World Cup

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World CupAmerican soccer fans don't have a rooting interest in this [more]

Pelicans open second half with eye on playoff streak

Pelicans open second half with eye on playoff streakThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans begin the second half of the [more]

Pelicans help propel South to victory in All-Star Game

Pelicans help propel South to victory in All-Star GameA pair of Myrtle Beach Pelicans played key roles in [more]

NMB's Ballard, MB's Coble reconnect at North-South

NMB's Ballard, MB's Coble reconnect at North-SouthA pair of former teammates and rivals joined forces for [more]

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finale

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finaleThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans dropped their final game of the [more]

CCU's Biermann, Lancaster make All-American squad

CCU's Biermann, Lancaster make All-American squadCoastal Carolina shortstop Seth Lancaster and designated hitter Zach Biermann [more]

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny The Myrtle Beach Mutiny needed a wake-up call late Saturday [more]

Pelicans split twinbill with Mudcats, play finale today

Pelicans split twinbill with Mudcats, play finale todayAfter the Myrtle Beach Pelicans fell 2-1 to the Carolina [more]

Pelicans lose fifth straight, play doubleheader today

Pelicans lose fifth straight, play doubleheader todayVictor Diaz's seven strong innings for the Carolina Mudcats were [more]

All-County Boys Tennis: Johnson, MB duo top list

All-County Boys Tennis: Johnson, MB duo top listThe future looks bright for the sport of high school [more]

Hess carves his way to Team USA surfing nod

Hess carves his way to Team USA surfing nodCarter Hess carved his way to a spot on the [more]

Pelicans' bullpen spoils Thompson's perfect start

Pelicans' bullpen spoils Thompson's perfect startAfter Keegan Thompson was removed following seven perfect innings for [more]

Piggot feasts, scores four goals to lead Mutiny win

Piggot feasts, scores four goals to lead Mutiny winThe Myrtle Beach Mutiny rolled to a 6-0 victory over [more]

CCU trio makes all-region; Lancaster an All-American

CCU trio makes all-region; Lancaster an All-AmericanCoastal Carolina shortstop Seth Lancaster was named to the Perfect [more]

Braves' icons Avery, Jones to appear at Pelicans game

Braves' icons Avery, Jones to appear at Pelicans gameThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans will welcome former MLB All-Stars and [more]

Coastal guard Labinowicz announces plan to transfer

Coastal guard Labinowicz announces plan to transferCoastal Carolina University men's basketball player Artur Labinowicz plans to [more]

Report: Myrtle Beach Bowl 'near lock' for 2020 kickoff

Report: Myrtle Beach Bowl 'near lock' for 2020 kickoffIn yet another development in the Grand Strand's booming sports [more]

Adaptive surfers depart for US Surfing Championship

Adaptive surfers depart for US Surfing ChampionshipLocal surfers, volunteers, and family members gathered at the Charleston [more]

All-County Boys Golf: MB's Jarman trades bat for club

All-County Boys Golf: MB's Jarman trades bat for clubIf things had worked out differently, Myrtle Beach High senior [more]

Birds split doubleheader, return to open homestand

Birds split doubleheader, return to open homestandThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans split a doubleheader Sunday with the [more]

Local track athletes capture first at S.C. Junior Olympics

Local track athletes capture first at S.C. Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club played host to [more]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach