BUSCH: Jones Still Deciding

Jones gets closer to a decision Dave Rodman FOUNTAIN, Colo. (June 13, 1998) Buckshot Jones hopes that his next NASCAR Winston Cup Series start will come in next Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Jones has already...

Jones gets closer to a decision

Dave Rodman

FOUNTAIN, Colo. (June 13, 1998) Buckshot Jones hopes that his next NASCAR Winston Cup Series start will come in next Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Jones has already tested the Aquafresh Pontiac he'll try to qualify on Friday for what would be his third career series start.

Beyond that, barring an unforeseen occurrence, it seems a sure bet that he will not desert his family operation with which he's contending for the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division championship. Jones is no longer the leading candidate for the seat in the Stavola Brothers Racing No. 8 Circuit City Chevrolet.

Jones, taking a break after practicing his Bayer/Alka-Seltzer Pontiac for Sunday's Lycos.com 250 at Pikes Peak International Raceway, said he could see more reasons not to make the jump.

"After what happened at Richmond in the Busch car, I don't know that I want to do anything else in conjunction with a Busch race," Jones said of an abortive attempt to qualify the Stavolas' car. "After I wrecked our (Busch) car in qualifying, I had to go and practice the Cup car.

"Then we had a last round of Busch practice and by the time I got out of the Cup car and got to my Busch car, we had to wait in line for about 10 minutes to practice. I lost 10 minutes of practice that I couldn't afford to miss and I gave up a little there."

Jones eventually took a provisional to make the Hardee's 250 and went on to finish 30th in that race. He fell three spots in the NASCAR Busch Series standings, to seventh. He said that enough was enough.

"The Busch deal is my main concern and I'm not going to do anything else this year that's going to jeopardize that," said Jones, who is 277 points out of first in the NASCAR Busch Series standings heading into Sunday's event. "If I do any more races that are in conjunction, I would say it would be just one or two, but not any more than that."

That alone would make a full NASCAR Winston Cup program unlikely, as there are nine "combination" races remaining on the schedule this season. He did say that in addition to his going to work for the Stavolas, there has also been talk of the teams merging in some fashion.

"That's one of the deals that's being talked about, but that would be tough," Jones said. "Billy's got his own shop and we're building a new shop close to where we are now in Spartanburg (S.C.). It'd be hard for me to leave what I've got.

"My dad's run my team since I started racing. I don't think I could get any better. If I went over to the Stavolas and after six or seven races I had a bad run, or me and Jim (Long, crew chief) couldn't communicate -- heck, I'm out of a job.

"Where I am now I'm not out of a job. It'd be hard to leave dad, but the hardest thing would be to leave this team. There's no way I'd leave them. If I go, they're going with me...as long as they want to go.

"I already told Billy (Stavola) that and he said there wouldn't be a problem with Ricky (Pearson, Buckshot Racing crew chief) coming, but the rest of the team...

"I don't know, the whole thing's still open... I'll always listen to what anyone's got to say and there may be something there that would work out where they'd be part owners and dad would be a part owner. If I was to drive for someone else besides my dad, I'd definitely drive for Billy Stavola. He seems to be one of the fairest owners in this racing. He seems to give these guys everything they need and money is not an object."

At any rate, Jones knows he has a five-race NASCAR Winston Cup Series deal for this season with Aquafresh. Beyond that -- and next weekend's race at Pocono, which is an off-weekend for the NASCAR Busch Series -- he's not sure.

"Next week for sure we'll have an answer," Jones said. "I need to know what I'm going to do. Billy needs to know because if I'm not going to do it he needs to find someone who's gonna drive full time.

"That's another thing. I told him he probably needs to find somebody else. I can't drive the rest of the year for him. It's hard for a team to get a sponsor when you're going from driver to driver. It doesn't look good."

There is one other possibility Jones said has been discussed.

"We talked about maybe taking the sponsorship to them and running the races, and maybe a few more than the five, in their equipment," he said. "It's possible we might run more than five, now that this opportunity's come up."

Source: NASCAR Online

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