Texas II: Eric Jones qualifying notes

Jones, Team Chick Ready To Soar Into Victory Lane; Starts 28th At Texas Justin, Texas - - Kansas based Team Chick Motorsports with talented driver Eric Jones head to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend looking to bounce back from their...

Jones, Team Chick Ready To Soar Into Victory Lane; Starts 28th At Texas

Justin, Texas - - Kansas based Team Chick Motorsports with talented driver Eric Jones head to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend looking to bounce back from their miserable finish two weeks ago at California Speedway, where the team exited the field after blowing a motor while running in the top-15.

In just their fourth race together at California, the team began to show their full potential, qualifying their No. 74 Taylorvortex.com/Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet a season best 24th. After gaining some much welcomed confidence, the team set their sights on a top-ten finish. Despite underfunded, the team was ready to prove the lack of dough doesn't always mean you can't win.

At the start of the event, Jones quickly maneuvered his No. 74 Chevrolet Silverado towards the front. Using veteran moves on several rookies entered in the field, the Granger, Iowa native began blistering off impressive lap times, catching the leaders. An early race caution had Jones radio his crew chief, and Team Chick Motorsports co-owner Steve Chick, Jr. that his truck was good, but they could make a few more adjustments to be even better.

On the restart, Jones once again used patience, but began drafting off his other competitors, quickly placing him in the top-15. He would stay there for several circuits. On lap 27 of the 100 lap-event, the yellow flag waved for an incident involving Bill Lester. However, Jones would also find misfortunate on the same marker as his engine exploded on the backstretch. Smoke quickly engulfed the No. 74 machine, with Jones taking quick action to unbuckle his safety equipment, climbing dejectedly from his automobile.

The team would be credited with a 32nd place finish, the worst of the season.

"Man, I had really high hopes for the race, especially the way we were running," said Eric Jones. "There was no sign of a potential engine failure, when it let go, it let go."

With Fontana now in the back of their minds, the team shifts towards a good finish at Texas Motor Speedway, one of the fastest circuits for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

Jones, who finished 23rd in his first NASCAR Busch Series start of the season last Saturday at Kansas Speedway with the newly founded Red Cactus Salsa Racing has two prior starts at TMS (Texas Motor Speedway) in 2003.

Driving the No. 03 Chevrolet, Jones motored to two top-fifthteen place finishes including a Texas best 11th in his track debut last spring. With respectable finishes in the record books for Jones, he looks for them to be rewritten again, this time with a top-ten finish.

"I really enjoy competing at Texas Motor Speedway," continued Jones. "It's a very fast track, but fun to race. Our entire Team Chick Motorsports crew is ready to put our hard luck behind us and finally break out into the top-ten."

Jones will be guided by his team, which has three previous starts at Texas Motor Speedway which is cemented in Justin, Texas with driver Aaron Daniel. In those starts, the team has gathered two 19ths, and a 21st place finish. Those results are impressive for a team that hasn't had the opportunity to test at the 1.5-mile oval.

On Friday afternoon, Jones qualified his Chevrolet Silverado 28th. After fighting a steering box problem throughout the weekends practice sessions, the team vigorously worked to correct the problem, heading into qualifying they did.

Jones toured the facility 30.137 seconds at 179.182 MPH, much faster than their practice runs. "Things weren't looking good early this afternoon," mentioned Jones. "We had a hard time with the steering box, but now that's fixed, we're in the show and we can concentrate on race day."

The Team Chick Motorsports team will be one of 36 teams competing in one of the most competitive events of the 2004 season. Jones was just four-tenths of a second off Mike Skinner's pole speed. "This is going to be a very competitive race, I think we have a truck good enough to head to the front, we just have to keep patient and be around in the end," he added.

-tcm-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Bill Lester , Eric Jones