No one who was happy at Victory Lane on Sunday night would say that what Erik Jones did was "redemption." Not Joey Cohen, who is in charge of
competition at Petty GMS. Not Dave Elenz, who was crew chief. Not even Jones himself. He was the one fist-pumping in front of a sea of confetti at
Darlington Raceway, which is something few people thought would happen soon (or ever again) after everything he's been through in the past 25
months. But it certainly felt like redemption. "I'm sure a lot of people didn't think I'd make it," Jones said. He said later, "I guess I just never saw it
that way." Jones was "a little bit taken by surprise" when he found out in August 2020 that he wouldn't be going back to Joe Gibbs Racing. After that,
he signed on to drive the No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports, which is now called Petty GMS after a merger. In 2021, he had five top-10
finishes, no poles, and led a total of nine laps for a team that was still finding its way. Jones said that when he switched to Petty GMS, he knew that
many people thought this might be his last Cup race. He "was finished." Elenz said, "I don't think it's good." " It's clear that he had a hard year last year. Last year,
I watched from a distance. There were some good races and a lot that weren't very good. But that's just stuff. That's a lot of cars he has to run.
Nothing of that has to do with him. I believe he had faith in himself and what he could do. I obviously believe that. I think it's more of a continuation of where he left off than a way to make up for what he did.
Jones said, "At the end of 2020, I was in a rough spot and trying to find a new home. The 43 car became that home and took me in. " Just seeing it
and being a part of it has been cool. It's probably the most rewarding part of my racing career to go from a four-car powerhouse team to a one-car
team last year to a two-car team this year and build it into a race-winning programme.