BUSCH: Buckshot Jones Pikes Peak preview

(Spartanburg, S.C.)---Buckshot Jones hopes he can celebrate his 30th birthday with a premature birthday party in victory lane at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The driver of the No. 00 Cheez-It Chevrolet will officially turn 30 years old on ...

(Spartanburg, S.C.)---Buckshot Jones hopes he can celebrate his 30th birthday with a premature birthday party in victory lane at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The driver of the No. 00 Cheez-It Chevrolet will officially turn 30 years old on Sunday, July 23, one day after the Pikes Peak race.

Buckshot has plenty of birthday memories, but nothing would be better than a win at Pikes Peak. During the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division race at Pikes Peak in 1998, Buckshot led 69 laps before blowing a tire with only 62 laps remaining in the race.

"No one really knows if we would have won the race two years ago if our right front tire didn't blow, but what I do know is we had a car that handled really well all race long," remembered Jones. "A win at Pikes Peak would truly be a great birthday present."

The flat, one-mile tracks are a favorite of Buckshot's. Tracks like Pikes Peak, Milwaukee and New Hampshire suit his driving style very well. Both career wins for Buckshot have come on the one-mile tracks of Milwaukee and New Hampshire respectively.

"I'm not really sure why we seem to run so well at the one-mile flat tracks," said Jones. "Confidence plays a key role when we show up to the one-mile tracks. Because we've had our fair share of success at these tracks in the past, we typically aren't left struggling to find the 'hot' set-up."

Last year's race at Pikes Peak was a race the team has forgotten all about-and for a good reason. After starting ninth and battling an ill-handling car that the team just couldn't seem to make any better, Buckshot hit the turn one wall on lap 128. The team was unable to repair the car and Jones suffered his first DNF of the season on his way to finishing a disappointing 39th.

"Last year's race at Pikes Peak wasn't the best of birthdays for me," Jones said. "I can think of plenty of more memorable birthday moments. For the last several years, I've always raced on or around my birthday so I haven't had the opportunity to really enjoy a true birthday. Having my family at the races with me on my birthday is good enough for me."

Jones is hoping the third time at Pikes Peak will be the charm for he and his team. After returning to the Busch Series full-time in 2000 from the Winston Cup Series in 1999, the Georgia native hasn't had the season he hoped for in 2000. In April, the team switched from running Pontiacs to Chevrolets in order to be more competitive.

"By no means have we had the season everyone including myself anticipated," said Jones. "We've had some decent runs in the Monte Carlo and I'm pleased with the progress the team has made with the new body style-- I'm just not satisfied with the results."

Jones' 30-year birthday wish is simple... a victory at Pikes Peak and a strong finish to the 2000 season.

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Buckshot Jones