|Jone & Kids Selfie|
NASCAR XFINITY Series star Erik Jones was on hand Wednesday, April 27 at W.B. Simpson Elementary School in Wyoming, Del., to help announce the winner of the inaugural Monster Mile Youth Nation Design Challenge. More than 100 fifth-graders lined the parking lot as Jones drove up in the official Dover International Speedway pace car, which featured a design by one of their classmates, Sabrina Marelli.
Marelli’s concept featured a yellow-base, a ladybug on the roof, a rainbow on the hood, and an orange-and-yellow checkered pattern in the back.
“All this attention is insane but really exciting,” said Marelli, who was greeted by her mother, Jessica, and younger brother Jack, 8, a third-grader at W.B. Simpson. “I can’t wait to see the cars on the track.”
Jones, 19, will be one of the top contenders in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash race at the Monster Mile on Saturday, May 14, part of the upcoming May 13-15 NASCAR tripleheader weekend.
|Checking Marelli’s design|
After the pace car arrived, all attendees went inside the school for an assembly which was attended by more than 200 fourth- and fifth-graders.
A video featuring Jones’ success from 2015, including his championship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, was shown, and Jones took questions from the students, such as what his favorite subjects were in school (history and English), how fast he goes in his NASCAR XFINITY Series car (200-205 mph on certain tracks, 160-170 mph at Dover) and how old he was when he first started racing (go-karts at 7).
“I was fortunate my parents were able to support my racing career in a lot of ways,” said Jones, who drives the No. 20 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. “I was in the third grade when I started racing and I love it. I’ve been pretty lucky.”
Almost 600 fifth-graders from 11 schools from across Delaware participated in the Monster Mile Youth Nation Design Challenge, which saw students draw designs for the Monster Mile’s official pace car during national “Youth Art Month” in March.
The winning design, selected by a team from the Dover International Speedway marketing and communications departments, was placed on the pace car earlier this month.
Marelli’s grand prize includes a VIP experience for the May 14 NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash race. Marelli will be on stage for NASCAR XFINITY Series driver introductions on Saturday, and she also received tickets for the “AAA 400 Drive for Autism” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, May 15.
The May 13-15 NASCAR tripleheader weekend at Dover International Speedway also includes a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, May 13.
ERIK JONES FACTS
- Birthday: May 30, 1996 (age 19)
- Hometown: Byron, Mich.
- NASCAR XFINITY Series career (through April 23): Three wins and 25 top-10 finishes in 34 races; two additional wins in 2016 Dash 4 Cash Heat races
- NASCAR XFINITY Series debut: 2014 (Chicagoland)
- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career: Three races in 2015, with two top-20 finishes (Texas and Phoenix)
- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut: 2015 (Kansas)
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships: 1 (2015)
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career: Seven wins, 18 top-5 finishes and 33 top-10 finishes in 40 races
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut: 2013 (Martinsville)
- Dover International Speedway starts: 2 (Finished third in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ninth in NASCAR XFINITY Series races in 2015)