Homestead: Eric Jones preview

Eric Jones and Team EJP Racing are attempting to make their ninth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start of the season together in the Ford 200, the final race of the 2003 NCTS season. Jones and the No. 03 Team EJP Racing Chevrolet Silverado last ...

Eric Jones and Team EJP Racing are attempting to make their ninth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start of the season together in the Ford 200, the final race of the 2003 NCTS season. Jones and the No. 03 Team EJP Racing Chevrolet Silverado last raced in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in the Silverado 350 at Texas Motor Speedway in October. In that event, Jones and the Team EJP Racing Team finished 14th after racing towards the top-10 in the late-stages of the race.

Eric on the Silverado 350: "Team EJP just couldn't catch a break at Texas. We made a green flag pit stop and just like Charlotte the caution came out and it put us a couple of laps behind. We got a set of tires there that had a bad vibration. Luckily, we caught another caution and replaced them. From there on, the truck was great. We were flying, running right with the leaders. We were two laps down at the time, but we were passing some lead lap trucks without a lot of effort. It was a matter of time until we caught Bobby Hamilton for tenth, but then that last caution came out and it just killed us. He got the lucky dog, and that moved him a lap ahead of us. There was nothing we could do to catch him then."

This Week's Truck: In carrying on with the team tradition of naming their trucks after movie characters, this week's truck is Frankenstein, named after the famous character in the movie of the same name. It is a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado, and the body was hung by Bo Fletcher of Aero Advantage. Other trucks in the Team EJP fleet are Johnny 5, the truck Eric drove to a career-best sixth-place finish at Kansas Speedway in July, and "E.T.", which was part of Eric's family-owned team, which is named after the title character of the movie E.T. and is also short for "Eric's Truck". The team also has a new truck ready for 2004 named Dracula.

Eric on Frankenstein: "It has been rebuilt a lot, but it is still a really good truck. I know it has been built and rebuilt several times, and resurrected from the dead. It should be interesting to see what we need to replace after this weekend! It seems like every time this truck has been on the track somewhere, something has happened to it. Hopefully Frankenstein won't need to be rebuilt and brought back from the dead again!

"This is a truck we usually run on the shorter tracks, but it got going pretty well in the test on Monday. We didn't get a whole lot of time on the track, but at the end we made a shock change and changed the rear gear and we got to running pretty good. I would say we were a top-15 truck without a doubt."

Eric on the new Homestead-Miami Speedway: "I have really been looking forward to getting out on the new banking. I really enjoy the tracks that carry some speed, and everything I had heard about this place said we were going to be a lot faster. We wondered what the new progressive banking was going to be like, and where the groove is going to be.

"After being out there for the first time, all I can say is this place is awesome! It is a track that you can drive it in a little too deep and not worry because you can just ride it around the top. I know we will see some two- and three-abreast racing.

"Most of the fast guys were running on that transition between the bottom and middle grooves. I couldn't get that very bottom groove to work for me. What I think you will see are guys using those transitions to help the handling of their truck. If someone wants to de-wedge their truck, they will dip their left side tires below one of those transitions and try to hook it. I think you'll see a lot of guys moving all over the place looking for the groove that works best for them."

Eric's Championship Prediction: "I think Brendan is going to win it. He has a little cushion on the others, and he has been so strong on the mile-and-a-half tracks this season. He has momentum on his side because of his record on these kinds of tracks. I just hope all of the team trucks out there stay out of the championship fight and let the guys that have been going for it all season settle it among themselves."

Eric on the Quality of the Field for the Ford 200: "This is probably the best quality field we have had all season. Ultra Motorsports has five trucks here, Brendan's team has two trucks, Jack Sprague is here with IWX, and we have guys like Frank Kimmel and Buddy Rice out there too. The competition is going to be as tough as it has been all season this weekend."

Pit Crew Profile: Rosy Santerre is team owner Steve Prescott's grandfather, and may be the oldest active crew member on a major league NASCAR team. At 83 years young, Rosy handles the sign board for Team EJP at every event, and is often found hard at work on the truck during practice or moving pit equipment to get the pit stall set up prior to each race.

About Team EJP Racing: Team EJP Racing is owned by Steve Prescott, and based in Gardiner, Maine. The team made its debut with a three-race schedule with Prescott behind the wheel in 2000. Since then, Steve has concentrated on building a winner as an owner. The team has run a limited schedule in 2001, 2002, and 2003 with drivers Tom Carey, Barry Bodine, and Eric Jones. The team runs the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado body style and utilizes engines built by long-time NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Series, Truck and modified series standout Ron Hutter.

-ejp-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Frank Kimmel , Eric Jones