<pre> PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY Race: "NAPA Autocare 250" Laps/miles: 250 laps/250 miles Race date: Saturday, July 22 Started: 32nd Finish: 40th, 13 laps down Monies: ...
<pre> PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY Race: "NAPA Autocare 250" Laps/miles: 250 laps/250 miles Race date: Saturday, July 22 Started: 32nd Finish: 40th, 13 laps down Monies: $12,900 </pre> PJ Jones: "I would race PPIR tomorrow if I could, just to prove I can do better than that. We experienced an equipment failure that couldn't be immediately identified. If it was purely a motor problem, I don't think I would have been able to stay out on the track until the end. The race became a valuable test session - seat time at a brand new track is never a waste. I've got to applaud the pit crew - their pit stops were the best we've had all season. Now, we just need to pull all the elements together at the same time and we'll be in the winner's circle."
Performance Summary: No one can disagree - PJ Jones is a real racer. Starting 32nd, Jones knew early on the day would not be his. Many drivers would have called it quits, brought the car behind the wall without finishing the race. Not Jones. He remained in the game until the end, knowing a better day will come.
Jones immediately faced two problems - handling and horsepower. The #19 Yellow/Pameco Chevy fell back to the end of the field. At first the car was tight in the center but luckily began to improve after only a few laps on the one-mile track. Jones tried to help the motor by switching ignition boxes, but he still seemed to lose ground coming off each corner. By lap 51, Jones had gone 2 laps down. Crew chief, George Church continued to ask PJ about the car in hopes of identifying the problem. Should we changed the carburetor? Is it a possible exhaust problem? With very few cautions, teams began making green-flag pit stops. Jones came into the pits for the first time on lap 108. The crew performed as if Jones were in the lead. The pit stop included four tires and fuel in addition to pulling a spring rubber out of the right rear. Jones was back on the track in approximately 17 seconds. The new tires, and adjustments made a noticeable difference in the handling, but Jones continued to have difficulty picking up speed off the corner.
By lap 175, only 19 cars were on the lead lap. It was apparent many were struggling to remain competitive. The leaders began filtering into pit road for a second round of service by lap 187. Jones remained on the track until lap 197 and again, the crew produced an outstanding pit stop. Just as he returned to the track, the yellow caution flag came out at lap 200. The team decided to bring PJ back into the pits at lap 204 and change carburetors.
The team hoped the change would offer conclusive information on the car's performance. The race restarted at lap 206, only to return to yellow on lap 209. The race went back to green on lap 214, and the remainder of the race was a dual for the win between brothers Jeff and David Green. Jeff Green won the event, with only eight cars finishing on the lead lap.
The next event in the NASCAR Busch Series takes place Saturday, July 29 at Gateway International Raceway.