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NASCAR driver Erik Jones tours Naval Station Mayport

Jones drives No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Erik Jones is used to being in the drives seat. On Thursday the NASCAR Cup Series driver took a passenger seat in a much larger vessel than the race-car he spends most weekends in. 

Jones met Rear Admiral Sean S. Buck, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, U.S. 4th Fleet, and distinguished Sailors at Naval Station Mayport. Jones got a firsthand account of life on ship during a tour of the guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

“This ship looks huge then you get in there and it’s tight and cramped,” said Jones. “There’s a lot going on. The technology they have and everything they can do from that ship is amazing. It’s impressive to see how many people it takes to make that world go round. And how organized they are with all the people on the ship.”

Jones captured his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory and earned a spot in NASCAR’s Playoffs in last July’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

The prestigious season-opening DAYTONA 500 is on Sunday, Feb. 17 and Jones is hoping he can ride the momentum from wining at Daytona in July. 

“Anytime you come back to a track where you won the last time you feel good,” said Jones. “The Daytona 500 is always that race that we all want to win. We all want to start our year off on the right foot. We all want to get that checkered flag right off the bat.”