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

All-County XC: CF's Mohr, NMB's Spickler lead pack

All-County XC: CF's Mohr, NMB's Spickler lead packRunning is more than a hobby for Michael Mohr; it’s [more]

Change is name of game for North-South All-Stars

Change is name of game for North-South All-Stars The wholesale changes to the 2018 South Carolina football season [more]

Hoops: Tigers, Sharks post big wins over county rivals

Hoops: Tigers, Sharks post big wins over county rivalsThe Conway High boys remained undefeated on the season with [more]

Chants on break for finals week after loss to Terriers

Chants on break for finals week after loss to TerriersSophomore Tre Brown had a career and team-high 24 points, [more]

CAC swimmers post hot times at Snowflake Invite

CAC swimmers post hot times at Snowflake InviteThe Coastal Aquatic Club (CAC) spent the weekend in Rock [more]

Knox's triple-double lifts Seahawks past Panthers

Knox's triple-double lifts Seahawks past Panthers Myrtle Beach High sophomore Emorie Knox hit a major milestone [more]

CAC's Steele captures gold at Winter Junior Nationals

CAC's Steele captures gold at Winter Junior NationalsCarolina Forest senior and Coastal Aquatic Club standout Taylor Steele [more]

SEAHAWKS STORM PAST GREER FOR STATE TITLE

SEAHAWKS STORM PAST GREER FOR STATE TITLE Over the summer, the Myrtle Beach players were gathered inside [more]

Green Sea Floyds captures first state championship

Green Sea Floyds captures first state championshipFacing fourth down and a sneaker, Green Sea Floyds coach [more]

Hoops: Sharks beat buzzer, Warriors on late foul shots

Hoops: Sharks beat buzzer, Warriors on late foul shotsThe St. James High boys basketball team won a thriller [more]

Schools send football team to state with Seahawk Walk

Schools send football team to state with Seahawk WalkThe Myrtle Beach High football team received a hero's send-off [more]

Hoops: Myrtle Beach boys double up rival Socastee

Hoops: Myrtle Beach boys double up rival SocasteeThe Myrtle Beach High boys basketball team doubled up rival [more]

Seahawks' strange season takes a final twist to state

Seahawks' strange season takes a final twist to stateMickey Wilson has led his team to state championship games [more]

Hoops: NMB boys, CF girls fall short in comeback bids

Hoops: NMB boys, CF girls fall short in comeback bidsWhat appeared to be a pair of lopsided affairs turned [more]

MB's shot at state crown moved to Friday afternoon

MB's shot at state crown moved to Friday afternoonGame time has been moved up a day for the [more]

Socastee product Renfrow titled nation's top walk-on

Socastee product Renfrow titled nation's top walk-onThe Burlsworth Foundation announced Monday that wide receiver Hunter Renfrow [more]

Sun Belt puts 5 in bowls after inaugural title game

Sun Belt puts 5 in bowls after inaugural title gameAfter a thrilling 30-19 win by Appalachian State over Louisiana [more]

Gamecocks get close bowl trip to Charlotte vs. Cavs

Gamecocks get close bowl trip to Charlotte vs. CavsSouth Carolina football fans won't have to travel far to [more]

No. 2 Tigers in high Cotton for bowl game against Irish

No. 2 Tigers in high Cotton for bowl game against IrishThe College Football Playoff and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl announced [more]

Hoops: Conway wins; NMB gives female coach first win

Hoops: Conway wins; NMB gives female coach first winThe Conway High boys basketball team came down from its [more]

Seahawks flip the script on No. 1 Hartsville in rematch

Seahawks flip the script on No. 1 Hartsville in rematch Myrtle Beach exorcised its biggest demon from the 2018 regular [more]

Green Sea Floyds transitions from struggles to state final

Green Sea Floyds transitions from struggles to state finalAs the clock ticked toward zero, Josh Slobodiak searched for [more]

Chants go cold during key stretch, fall to Gamecocks

Chants go cold during key stretch, fall to GamecocksZac Cuthbertson recorded his fourth double-double of the season, but [more]

Gunter tops seven Chants earning Sun Belt awards

Gunter tops seven Chants earning Sun Belt awardsCoastal Carolina football had three players earn all-conference accolades and [more]

Seahawks eye redemption in rematch with Hartsville

Seahawks eye redemption in rematch with HartsvilleThe film was nearly as painful as the game itself. A [more]

All-County XC: CF's Mohr, NMB's Spickler lead pack

All-County XC: CF's Mohr, NMB's Spickler lead packRunning is more than a hobby for Michael Mohr; it’s [more]

Change is name of game for North-South All-Stars

Change is name of game for North-South All-Stars The wholesale changes to the 2018 South Carolina football season [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