Back injury sidelines Erik Jones for Dover race

Erik Jones suffered a compression fracture in a lower vertebra last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway and will not compete this weekend at Dover, Jones and Legacy Motor Club announced Tuesday.

Corey Heim, who is Legacy MC’s reserve driver, will fill in for Jones in the No. 43 car at Dover. It will be Heim’s first Cup start. The team will request a medical waiver for Jones to remain eligible for the Cup playoffs.

Legacy MC stated that there is no timeline for Jones’ return to racing. He will be at Dover to help the 21-year-old Heim adjust. Heim competes full-time in the Truck Series and is second in the points. He’s also run five Xfinity races this year.

“Erik’s long-term health is our number one priority,” said Jimmie Johnson, co-owner of Legacy M.C., in a statement from the team. “It will be great to see him at the track Sunday, and we intend to give him the time it takes to recover properly.

“I know Corey will do a great job behind the wheel for the Club. In the meantime, our thoughts are with Erik and his wife Holly — they have our total support.”

Jones was injured in a multi-car crash on Lap 157 when contact sent his car up the track and hard into the Turn 3 SAFER barrier at Talladega. He was cleared from the infield care center but later returned before being transported to UAB University Hospital on Sunday night. He was evaluated and released. Jones returned to North Carolina on Sunday night and met with specialists.

In a video on social media, Jones said that he would be "taking it kind of week-by-week here and seeing how things go but hope to be back in the car as soon as I can."