It took the 22-year-old young gun 57 races to collect his first win, but on Sunday Erik Jones managed to take the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway. It was also a win that took the race into overtime, which NASCAR used to call overdrive thanks to driving legend Darryl Waltrip.
NBC Sports has a video about how the young driver is capturing hearts of fans and drivers alike. As one can see he is garnering a lot of respect from the older drivers on the NASCAR circuit.
It's always a great thing to see a driver getting their first win. It's even better when they can do it early in their careers and prove to the race team that they can live up to their potential and not just be yet another driving bust. Just like any sport, racing can be one where prospects fail to live up to the potential owners place on them. Jones just so happens to be replacing a NASCAR fan favourite Matt Kenseth.
This is Jones' second full season in NASCAR and he just so happens to be with one of the most premier teams in the sport after competing for Furniture Row Racing last season. He now races the number 20 car for Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR also has a few young drivers in their stable — including Daniel Suárez who is the first Mexican driver in NASCAR history. They also have two high caliber competitors in Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin to help out these high-end prospects as Busch is still in the prime of his career at 33.
This win shows just how much promise Jones has and that his development has been helped by being around some of the best drivers over the last two years, when he was at Furniture Row Racing last season, he was a teammate of the 2017 NASCAR champion Martin Truex Jr. Busch is also a former NASCAR champion who won Toyota's first NASCAR championship in 2015. Busch is the present points leader and is looking at winning his second championship come November. Because of his win, Jones has made the NASCAR playoffs, better known as the chase. Jones also collected his first win before fellow 22-year-old driver Chase Elliot who has 96 races under his belt already and is regarded by experts as the better prospect.