BUSCH: P. J. Jones Gateway review

PJ Jones: "The weather really hurt us this weekend. With only 1½ hours of practice and no qualifying, it was difficult to get a feel for how this car would perform in the race. We struggled, but the performance only makes us more...

PJ Jones: "The weather really hurt us this weekend. With only 1½ hours of practice and no qualifying, it was difficult to get a feel for how this car would perform in the race. We struggled, but the performance only makes us more motivated to head back to the drawing board, plan some more test sessions and arrive at the next event with a winning race car."

Performance Summary: Rain always seems to find its way to the NASCAR Busch Series. At Gateway, it turned a valuable day of practice into a complete wash-out and returned again Saturday, canceling another practice session and qualifying. A win during the 1999 season placed the #19 Yellow/Pameco Chevy 36th in the starting field. The teams were given a 1½-hour practice session on Saturday afternoon before the rains came one final time. Amazingly, the race itself was the only event that started as scheduled on Saturday evening.

Starting 36th would place driver, PJ Jones on the outside row and his first goal was to make his way to the inside groove. Team spotter and owner of Emerald Performance Group, David Ridling, helped Jones work his way to the bottom, but before the first lap was completed, a multi-car wreck occurred just in front of Jones. He avoided the crash and advanced to the 30th spot. The race went back to green on lap eight, but the caution flag was flying again on lap 10. Jones described the car's handling as "a little tight," but seemed to get into the corners well. Suddenly, just before the restart, Jones radioed to say he had no clutch, even after trying to pop it back in position. The restart on lap 15 was challenging, as Jones tried to get the car into higher gears, causing him to slip to 36th position. Thankfully, the race stayed green for the remainder of the event. By lap 30, crew chief, George Church, could see Jones was making progress in the corners, catching those ahead of him. Jones moved up a spot to 35th by lap 69 and would continue to move up as the leaders began their first round of green-flag pit stops. Jones was 30th before pitting for right side tires and fuel on lap 84. Once the entire field had pitted, Jones settled into 34th place.

At lap 111, Jones indicated the motor was skipping. He quickly changed the ignition box in hopes it would solve the problem. Church directed Jones to bring the #19 Chevy into the pits to see what the crew could do to send Jones back out to compete. Apparent engine failure forced Jones to take the #19 Yellow/Pameco Chevy behind the wall. He would record a 37th-place finish, with rookie Kevin Harvick collecting his first win of the season.

The next event in the NASCAR Busch Series takes place Friday, August 4th at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

<pre> Race: "CARQUEST Auto Parts 250" Laps/miles: 200 laps/250 miles Race date: Saturday, July 22 Started: 36th Finish: 37th, 73 laps down Monies: $15,175

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kevin Harvick