One more piece of the silly season puzzle has fallen into place with the naming of the new driver for the iconic number 43 Richard Petty Motorsports car.

Just one day after Stewart-Haas Racing announced that Xfinity Series driver Chase Briscoe would be moving up to the Cup Series to take over the driving duties of the number 14 car; Richard Petty Motorsports has named Erik Jones as the replacement for Bubba Wallace who is moving on to join the new racing team owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.

Jones spoke on the opportunity to drive for The King saying, “you look at the history of NASCAR and the 43, everybody knows who Richard Petty is if they’re a race fan. And even if they aren’t a race fan, a lot of people know who Richard Petty is. So, that’s really neat. Having the chance to get to spend some time with him the last couple of weeks has been pretty cool. I’d never really gotten the chance to talk too much with him and spend a lot of time with him, other than in passing. So, it’s just really cool to hear the old stories. I’m a really big fan of the history of the sport and to get to hear some of the stories first-hand is a pretty cool experience. It’s really neat to see how invested he is in the team, in the sport and the direction we’re going. I think that’s going to be a really good match.”

Chief Executive officer for Richard Petty Motorsports Brian Moffitt spoke on the new hire saying, “Erik is an exceptionally talented driver, and we are excited to have him join our team.  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 his already impressive resume.”

On August 6, Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Jones would not be returning to the number 20 car next season.  Since that announcement, there has been much speculation over what would be the fate of the young driver.

Jones came to the attention of JGR owner Coach Joe Gibbs in 2013 when JGR driver Kyle Busch introduced him after Jones beat Busch in the Chili Bowl International.

Jones becomes the latest in the list of drivers to sit behind the wheel of the iconic number 43 car that has had some famous names including Lee, Maurice, Kyle, and Richard Petty; John Andretti; Bobby Hamilton; Bobby Labonte; AJ Allmendinger; Aric Almirola; and Bubba Wallace.