TMS Media Relations | Jun 06, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas (June 6, 2014) – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 18-year-old rookie Erik Jones opted to forego his high school graduation Friday night at Swartz Creek (Mich.) Community Schools to compete in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400, but Texas Motor Speedway ensured that the senior enjoyed the best of both worlds.
Texas Motor Speedway officials added a special segment to its pre-race activities prior to driver introductions and Jones, donned in his Swartz Creek Community Schools cap and gown, made his way across the frontstretch stage to the music of “Pomp & Circumstance” and received his high school diploma from Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage.
Gossage, donned in traditional faculty attire with cap and gown as well as a hood that properly represents his BA in Mass Communications from Middle Tennessee State University, also presented Jones with a “racing diploma” for graduating to 1.5-mile ovals and Texas being his first start on the larger, faster ovals.
After receiving his diploma, he moved his tassel to the other side of his cap as is tradition and received a congratulatory hug on stage from his mother Carol, father Dave, sister Lindsey and grandparents Robert Jones and Vicki Eckert.
“It kind of started off as a joke,” Erik said. “Texas Motor Speedway was gracious to get this all together and actually do a graduation for real. It will be interesting to see what they have planned but I’m looking forward to it. Being able to graduate at a race track, I don’t think I would have had it any other way.”
And within minutes, Jones was already preparing for his future profession as he quickly traded in his cap and gown for his firesuit to being re-introduced with his fellow NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers.
“Ever since about first grade all he has ever wanted to do is race,” Dave said. “Everything in school, whatever the assignment was, writing a story, it was about racing, or drawing a picture, it would be a race car. So to get to this point and have the two, having graduated and getting his diploma at a racetrack is beyond his wildest dreams.”
Jones, who became the youngest winner in Camping World Truck Series history when he won at Phoenix last year at 17, then buckled in the No. 51 Hiring Our Heroes/ToyotaCare Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports and started fifth in Friday night’s WinStar World Casino & Resort 400.
It was his second start of the season, with his previous start coming March 29 at the .526-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway where he started fourth and finished 18th.
The WinStar World Casino & Resort 400, scheduled for an 8 p.m. CT start, is being broadcast live on FOX Sports 1.
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