Jones, #43 Washington Mutual/CAPG Team Bank On Strategy To Help Overcome Ill-Handling Car for Near-Top-20 at California
FONTANA, Calif. (Saturday, Sept. 2, 2006) -- P.J. Jones and the #43 Washington Mutual Curb Agajanian Performance Group Dodge team used gutsy race strategy to try and overcome a persistent understeer that prevailed through practice and qualifying and most all of tonight's NASCAR Busch Series Ameriquest 300 at California Speedway. The payoff: they transformed an ill-handling race car into a near top-20 finish.
Jones, driving his third race of the season in the #43 with new sponsor Washington Mutual supporting the effort for the first time, started 39th despite the tight conditions in practice Friday and qualifying earlier today. But he did his best to drive through it, and the CAPG team did its best to remedy the situation during numerous pit stops throughout the 150-lap event. Then, during a Lap-94 caution period, crew chief Mark Durgin made the call to top off the fuel tank and run all the way to the finish.
It turned out to be just the right call as the race went green for the final 51 laps and Jones had just enough fuel to take the checkered flag in 22nd place before running out on the cool-down lap.
The finish was Jones' best since bringing the #43 CAPG Dodge home in 13th at Daytona in July.
"I think everybody is pretty satisfied with our results on and off the track for our new sponsor, Washington Mutual, this weekend. We had a very successful Fan Fest over in Ontario on Thursday, and I think we put on a pretty decent show, all things considered, here tonight. We were tight from the very beginning, and we threw everything we had at the problem and just couldn't seem to make it go away completely. That was the case for a lot of teams out there. We gambled with that last splash of fuel with 50-something laps to go and it turned out to be the right call with the race going green the rest of the way. Considering how the Washington Mutual car was tight all weekend, I think 22nd place is a very good result to take home in our back pockets. Hopefully, we'll enjoy many more successful weekends together."