Watkins Glen: PJ Jones race report

Tough Day at The Glen for DLP Team and P.J. Jones P.J. Jones, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry for Hall of Fame Racing, battled various handling maladies and bounced back from a pair of off-track excursions on his way to a 37th-place...

Tough Day at The Glen for DLP Team and P.J. Jones

P.J. Jones, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry for Hall of Fame Racing, battled various handling maladies and bounced back from a pair of off-track excursions on his way to a 37th-place finish in Sunday's Centurion Boats at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on the Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International road circuit.

Jones was in the driver's seat of the DLP HDTV Toyota for this weekend's road course event before 20-year-old Brad Coleman takes over the seat next weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

After starting 38th on a grid set by owner points after qualifying was rained out on Friday, Jones actually had a solid start to today's 90-lap event, picking up 10 positions over the opening five laps around the 2.45-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen layout. But by lap 12, he began reporting that the car was pushing while entering The Glen's lightning-fast corners and was loose on the exit of the turns.

Then, on lap 16, Jones and rookie Patrick Carpentier got together while making their way through the fast, right-hand turn one and both drivers spun off track. Jones got back on track in 37th place and nursed the ill-handling car for another 10 laps before pitting for tires, fuel and chassis adjustments for the first time on lap 26. He resumed in 43rd position.

Later, while back in the top-30 on lap 70, Jones was engaged in close, side-by-side racing in a pack of cars that included Jeff Gordon. At the end of the sequence, after exiting the backstretch chicane known as the "Bus Stop," Jones was pushed off the track from behind by Sam Hornish, Jr. Jones slid off the track and backed into a tire wall but was able to get back to the pits for sheet-metal repairs over several pit stops to follow. Throughout the next 20 laps, interrupted for some 50 minutes by a red flag while safety crews cleaned up a huge, multi-car pileup at the entrance to pit lane, Jones worked his way up to his final finishing position of 37th.

"It was a tough day," said Jones, who twice worked his way into the top-10 while the field cycled through green-flag pit stops. "We never really got a break. We got taken out in turn one by the 10 (Carpentier). He just got in a little too deep. We got taken out by the 77 (Hornish) in turn nine. And we just didn't have the best handling car right from the get-go, either. With everything, we just couldn't overcome it. It just was not a great day.

"On the incident with the 24 (Gordon) and the 77, we were held up in a little traffic and we were racing for position toward the end, and he (Gordon) got beside me. I gave him room on the outside but he didn't give me any room coming back to the left. I was already in the dirt, but I wasn't trying to bounce off of him. That was the only choice I had. Then he got his feathers all ruffled up and decided he wanted to play. At that point, I just let him go. We just didn't have a great car and that's just how it goes."

With the 37th-place finish, the No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing entry is now 39th in the series' owner standings with 1,433 points, 236 markers behind the 35th-place No. 84 Red Bull Toyota team.

-credit: hofr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Patrick Carpentier , P.J. Jones , Brad Coleman
Teams Hall of Fame Racing