Jones ruled out of Dover with fractured vertebra

Erik Jones will not compete in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover Motor Speedway after being diagnosed with a compression fracture in a lower vertebra.

Corey Heim, the reserve driver for Legacy Motor Club, will pilot the No. 43 Toyota Camry. It will be Heim’s debut in the Cup Series.

There is no timetable for Jones to return to the seat. He will travel with this team to Dover.

“Erik’s long-term health is our number one priority,” said Jimmie Johnson, co-owner of Legacy Motor Club. “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 from a head-on crash in Turn 3 at Talladega Superspeedway on lap 157. The Legacy Motor Club driver was in a seven-car draft with his Toyota teammates when the pack tightened and contact sent Jones spinning to the right.

“I don’t know if I’m all right,” Jones radioed to his team after the crash. “I need help; my back.”

After being released from the infield care center, Jones said he was sore and his back had been stretched in the crash. He later returned to the infield care center and was transported to UAB University Hospital for further evaluation. Jones was released at 11:30 local time and returned to North Carolina.

NASCAR took the No. 43 car from Talladega Superspeedway for further evaluation.

Legacy Motor Club has requested and been granted a medical waiver for Jones. It keeps him eligible for the Cup Series playoffs.

Story originally appeared on Racer