At the end of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, Erik Jones got the boot from Joe Gibbs Racing. Richard Petty Motorsports picked him up to take over for them in the No. 43 car after the departure of Bubba Wallace. Would Jones be able to carry over the same success he had with Joe Gibbs Racing to a lower-funded team?
The following article continues a FlurrySports series that looks back on the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season from the perspective of drivers and race teams. Read on for season reviews of the lone Richard Petty Motorsports driver, Erik Jones.
NASCAR Cup Series 2021 Season Reviews | Richard Petty Motorsports
Erik Jones — No. 43
Erik Jones kicked off his 2021 NASCAR Cup Series campaign on a tow truck as he was involved in the early “Big One” on Lap 14 of the Daytona 500. The next week on the Daytona Road Course, he did a lot better. Jones drove through the field and gained 23 spots to finish 14th. After NASCAR left the state of Florida, Jones was able to get his first top-10 of the year at Las Vegas. His next top-10 would not come until the Bristol Dirt Race as he finished ninth on the special surface.
Solid Start Goes Awry and Jones Tumbles in the Points
Erik Jones then failed to finish in two of his next three races at Martinsville and Talladega. The result was the No. 43 team falling to their lowest point in the season standings. Jones was just 27th in the driver points standings after his ‘Dega crash.
Jones did his best to try to climb up the standings ladder again, but only notching a single top-10 from Bristol to Michigan was not nearly enough. He had to win the regular-season finale at Daytona to qualify for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Unfortunately, he could not get the job done and his championship hopes ended right there.
Erik Jones Closes 2021 Season Strong
After Darlington, Erik Jones actually put together a fairly respectable final nine races of the year. He added three more top-10s to his season numbers. Jones ultimately ended the year with six top-10 finishes, an average finish of 19.7 and a final points position of 24th.
Richard Petty Motorsports Set to Merge with GMS Racing Ahead of 2022 NASCAR Season
During the offseason, Richard Petty Motorsports announced that it will merge with GMS Racing to form Petty GMS Motorsports. They will add another car starting in 2022 to be driven by Ty Dillon. The Nos. 42 and 43 cars will look to put Petty GMS into victory lane in next season.