Top NASCAR Cup Series free agents for 2023: No. 3 – Erik Jones
It seems like only a matter of time before Erik Jones and Petty GMS Motorsports reach an agreement on a contract extension for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Jones, who admitted he felt blindsided when it was announced that Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota would not be bringing him back for the 2021 season, has found a stable home at Richard Petty’s team since arriving last year as the replacement for the 23XI Racing-bound Bubba Wallace behind the wheel of the #43 Chevrolet.
While his first season went about as expected, considering the fact that Richard Petty Motorsports had been one of the least competitive teams in the sport in recent years, he has taken a massive step forward in year number two following the team’s partnership with GMS Racing.
He may not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2019, but the 2022 season has been a strong one for the 26-year-old Byron, Michigan native. He sits eight positions and more than 100 points ahead of teammate Ty Dillon in the standings, and with five times as many top 10 finishes. Jones has beaten Dillon’s top finish on four occasions.
There are other teams that would be silly not to give Jones a second look (or in the case of Joe Gibbs Racing, a second chance), but Jones speaks very highly of his current situation with Petty GMS Motorsports. It would be very surprising if the two sides do not agree to a deal to keep him behind the wheel of the #43 Chevrolet for a third season next year.