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HomeNASCAR NewsNASCAR Cup Series NewsErik Jones: From Snowball Derby Triumphs to Cup Series Heights

Erik Jones: From Snowball Derby Triumphs to Cup Series Heights

Back in 2012, an unheralded 16-year-old hailing from Byron, Michigan, Erik Jones, etched his name in the annals of history by clinching victory at the prestigious Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.

Fast-forward a year, and Jones added yet another chapter to his story, becoming only the third driver ever to secure back-to-back triumphs at the event, joining the esteemed company of Rich Bickle and Augie Grill. His consecutive victories still mark the most recent instances of this Super Late Model crown jewel.

After a hiatus from the event while ascending the racing ladder, Jones has rekindled his annual tradition of participating in the Snowball Derby. His return in 2023 sees him just as enthusiastic about the competition as he was eleven years ago.

“I always look forward to the Derby,” Jones shared on Five Flags Speedway’s ‘In The Groove’ podcast. “It’s the pinnacle of our Super racing season. The anticipation builds throughout the year, and it’s always a highlight on my calendar. I’m gearing up and feeling excited about the challenge ahead.”

Reflecting on his pivotal win in 2012, where he outpaced the likes of Kyle Busch and Jeff Choquette for the Tom Dawson Trophy, Jones reminisced on his relatively low profile in the short track racing realm beyond the Midwest.

“I was pretty much an unknown down South. While we’d snagged victories in the Midwest in crate cars and some Supers, we hadn’t ventured far to conquer any significant Super Late Model races. That year, we were really pushing our limits and didn’t run many Super races. The Derby was our chance to test our mettle.”

And test it they did. It was a flawless weekend for Jones, culminating in a perfect outcome. Leading for 124 laps, he snatched the lead from Kyle Busch on lap 284 and asserted his name in the racing world.

“It transformed my career in a big way. Prior to that, I hadn’t really entertained any NASCAR opportunities. That win marked the first time folks were reaching out to me to take that next leap.”

One of his significant backers was Kyle Busch. Their relationship had already begun, but the Snowball Derby victory catalyzed future prospects at Kyle Busch Motorsports.

“I knew Kyle a bit before that. He called me to test his car at Nashville, juggling between there and Talladega. I drove as a favor, really. Then we went down there and bested him. He was a key advocate, aligning me with Toyota at the time, pushing me into the Truck Series.”

Since then, Jones has ascended to NASCAR’s pinnacle, steering the iconic No. 43 for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB. Yet, despite his Cup Series success, he cherishes the chance to return to Five Flags Speedway for the Snowball Derby.

“The Sunday morning aura at the Snowball is unmatched. The anticipation, preparing your gear, it’s a feeling that’s tough to replicate in racing for me.”

With his name already etched twice on the Tom Dawson Trophy, Jones still yearns to triumph again. To him, winning now would hold even greater significance.

Erik Jones (2)

“Winning another one at this stage in my career would mean the world. The feeling would be different from when I was 16 or 17. As you mature and gain diverse experiences, you grow to appreciate the sport’s history and nuances. The race has grown in stature year after year. It would be a significant milestone, something I ponder often.”

In Jones’ eyes, the Snowball Derby’s competitiveness mirrors the intensity of a typical NASCAR Cup Series Sunday.

“It’s among the toughest and most competitive races I’ve encountered. The Cup Series is grueling, but striving for a Derby victory feels just as intense as racing on Sundays. When you clinch the Snowball Derby, it’s on par, for me, with any Sunday win.”

ALSO READ: VAST Racing Products Launch: Accelerating into the Future with Erik Jones

Our Reader’s Queries

Is Erik Jones Married?

In 2018, he began a romantic relationship with Holly Shelton, a skilled race car driver. Their love story culminated in a beautiful wedding ceremony on August 2, 2023.

Has Erik Jones ever won a race?

In a thrilling race at Darlington (SC) Raceway on September 4, 2022, Jones emerged victorious, securing his second Southern 500 win. This triumph marked the culmination of Jones’ fifth full year of Cup competition, during which he achieved an impressive record of one win, three top-five, and 13 top-10 finishes. Jones’ exceptional driving skills and unwavering determination were on full display, cementing his status as a true racing champion.

Who is the sponsor of Eric Jones 2023?

Erik Jones, a NASCAR Cup Series driver, and his racing team, Erik Jones Racing, have expanded their partnership with Energy Products, a Michigan-based company. The collaboration aims to support the national launch of Energy Products’ new VAST Racing Products Division. This move is expected to bring more exposure to both Erik Jones and Energy Products, as they work together to promote their latest venture.

What NASCAR driver is from Byron Michigan?

Despite Michigan being the birthplace of many talented drivers, none have yet to claim victory in the race. However, Byron’s own Erik Jones, representing the Legacy Motor Club in his No. 43 Allegiant Chevrolet, is determined to change that. On August 6, 2023, he set off for the NASCAR Firekeepers Casino 400 at the Michigan International Speedway, with the support of his small village behind him.

Khushal Bhatia
Khushal Bhatia
Khushal Bhatia, a distinguished BA (Hons) English graduate from St. Stephen College (University of Delhi) and a holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism (English) from IIMC Delhi, is an accomplished journalist. Currently affiliated with, Khushal is an expert in covering a range of sports topics with a specialization in motorsports, particularly NASCAR. His insightful articles explore the nuances of the sporting world, providing readers with comprehensive analysis and the latest updates. With a commitment to unbiased reporting, Khushal's expertise and authoritative voice make him a reliable source for sports enthusiasts.


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