WELCOME, North Carolina — Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) announced today that Byron native Erik Jones will join the organization in 2021 as driver of the No. 43 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“Erik is an exceptionally talented driver, and we are excited to have him join our team,” said Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer at Richard Petty Motorsports. “At only 24 years old, Erik is part of NASCAR’s next generation of stars. He has won races at every level in NASCAR he has competed in — including in the NASCAR Cup Series. Erik is a proven winner and we look forward to providing him with the opportunity to add more wins to this already impressive resume.”
Jones signed a multi-year driver agreement with the team. Terms were not disclosed in the press release.
No number has any stronger recognition in NASCAR history than the legendary No. 43 with Richard Petty. Following the Richard Petty 1992 Fan Appreciation Tour, No. 43 was retired for two years before returning with Wally Dallenbach Jr., and later John Andretti. In 1995, Bobby Hamilton took over No. 43, and captured two wins for the team. In addition, Andretti (1999) and Aric Almirola (2014) each added their names to the list of winners in the No. 43.
“It is an incredible honor to have Richard Petty want you to drive for his race team and with the car number he made famous,” Jones said in the press release. “Richard Petty Motorsports has a rich history in the sport, but they are not resting on that history. They still have something to prove, and I have something to prove. We are both motivated to write a new chapter. I am proud to be a part of Richard Petty Motorsports.”
In his fourth season in the Cup Series, Jones has two wins, 33 top-five finishes and 62 top-10 finishes in 144 career starts.
Jones captured his first career Cup Series win at the Daytona International Speedway July 7, 2018, and his second Sept. 1, 2019, in the Southern 500 at the Darlington Raceway.
Jones was the first driver to win Rookie of the Year honors in all of NASCAR’s top-three national touring series. In 2015 Jones captured the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS) championship.
The next year, he finished fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) championship driver points standings.
Crew chief Jerry Baxter will continue to lead the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE team in 2021 with Jones.
Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., the current No. 43 driver, is moving to a new team for 2021.
The Petty team is headquartered in Welcome. Richard Petty collected 200 career premier series race victories, and for 192 of those, the race car was adorned with the iconic No. 43 on either side. Richard Petty’s father, Lee Petty, also placed the No. 43 in victory lane.