IRL: Indy 500: Beck Motorsports sign PJ Jones

Jones to drive Beck Motorsports entry at Indy INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 16, 2004 -- PJ Jones, son of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones, will attempt to qualify for the 88th Indianapolis 500 in a Beck Motorsports entry, team owner Greg...

Jones to drive Beck Motorsports entry at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 16, 2004 -- PJ Jones, son of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones, will attempt to qualify for the 88th Indianapolis 500 in a Beck Motorsports entry, team owner Greg Beck announced May 16.

Jones will begin practice in the No. 98 CURB Records-sponsored Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone either Wednesday, May 19 or Thursday, May 20 and will attempt to qualify on Bump Day, Sunday, May 23, Beck said. The paint scheme will be similar to that on "Old Calhoun," the roadster that Parnelli Jones drove to victory in 1963 at Indianapolis.

"I'm excited to be a part of seeing a great second-generation driver be part of this race," Beck said. "Kicking around names, PJ's name came up. I immediately realized that this was the best deal for us. Basically, the light clicked on when PJ's name came up.

"I'm also really happy with how quickly this came together. Our goal now is Indy. Hopefully, things go well to show everyone what we can do. Then, hopefully work with our sponsors for later this year."

Jones, 35, from Torrance, Calif., will attempt to make his first Indy 500 start. He was injured during a crash while driving for Team Menard in practice for the 2002 Indianapolis 500 and did not attempt to qualify.

"It's great to have an opportunity like this, with my dad having run here and won here in 1963," Jones said. "This (car) number is special to me because this was dad's number.

"I like how the IndyCar(R) Series is heading, requiring the driver to really show what they have to get a decent run. It's more of a challenge to be out there fighting the car to some extent, lifting in the corners with this less downforce then before. We are going to work as hard as we can to get where we need to be come Race Day."

Said Parnelli Jones: "This means a lot. PJ had an opportunity here years ago. Unfortunately, that quickly ended in a crash in practice. He didn't have the opportunity to show what he had as the backup car was not available."

PJ Jones is a veteran of CART, IMSA sports car, NASCAR and USAC competition. He made 58 CART starts with a best finish of second in 1999 at Nazareth, Pa. He also was on the overall winning team at the 1993 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona sports car race.

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Tickets: Tickets are available for the 2004 Indianapolis 500 on May 30. For information, log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or call the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.

-ims-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Parnelli Jones