1998 a bittersweet year for Buckshot BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Jan. 4, 1999) The 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division season fell short of expectations for driver Buckshot Jones and his Buckshot Racing team. However, the three-year...
1998 a bittersweet year for Buckshot
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Jan. 4, 1999) The 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division season fell short of expectations for driver Buckshot Jones and his Buckshot Racing team. However, the three-year veteran of the NASCAR Busch Series did have the consolation of his second series victory and some very competitive outings to serve as a send-off as he embarks on a Raybestos Rookie of the Year campaign in 1999 on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Jones' progress through the NASCAR Busch Series season was reflected by his roller-coaster ride through the point standings. Consistency was an elusive goal for the Bayer/Alka-Seltzer Pontiac team, and it ultimately hurt them in the standings, where Jones finished ninth. But for the early part of the season, Jones looked to be heading for a career year in the NASCAR Busch Series, if not a serious shot at his first series championship. Jones opened the season with a fourth-place finish in the season-opening NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway, and then was steady, if unspectacular, as he rolled into the second spot in the point standings by the fourth race of the season, bolstered by finishes of 15th at North Carolina Speedway, eighth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and 13th at Nashville Speedway USA. Jones navigated his way to 14th at Darlington Raceway before he hit two tough tracks -- Bristol Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway -- and was involved in accidents at both. They relegated Jones to 28th at Bristol and Texas, and to seventh in the point standings. Jones then finished 12th at Hickory Motor Speedway before the team rebounded in a big way by qualifying third and finishing fourth in the Touchstone Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway. It was an effort that marked much of Jones early season runs. "We tried to work on being patient and these guys did a great job," he said afterward. "We needed a strong finish and we got it. The guys always do a good job and we showed how good this team is today." Jones put the exclamation point on his team's season the very next race, when he scored his second career victory, in the Gumout Long Life Formula 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway. In a stroke of luck unlike most of what he would see throughout the year, Jones was involved in an accident early in the race, but rebounded to win convincingly. Unfortunately for Jones, the fourth-place position he occupied in the point standings following that win was the highest he would be for the rest of the year, as his fortunes changed almost weekly. Jones was involved in accidents two races in a row, at Nazareth Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway, then was off the pace at both Dover Downs International Speedway and Richmond International Raceway, resulting in finishes of 33rd, 29th, 19th and 30th. And, it knocked him to seventh in the standings. The roller-coaster ride was truly on. Jones would only have two top-five and four top-10 finishes in the final 21 races from his victory to the end of the season. Along the way he ran a handful of NASCAR Winston Cup Series races as he tried to gear up for his rookie run in 1999 in that series.
Source: NASCAR Online