Rick Jones continues to elevate Pro Stock truck program

HOUSTON (April 12, 2000) - Take a Pro Stock Truck program with a year of experience, a championship chassis builder and a winning engine program, add in a lot of hard work, combine that with team chemistry and what do you get? A top-five ...

HOUSTON (April 12, 2000) - Take a Pro Stock Truck program with a year of experience, a championship chassis builder and a winning engine program, add in a lot of hard work, combine that with team chemistry and what do you get? A top-five program heading into the 13th annual O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, which explains why Rick Jones can be seen smiling a lot at the racetrack these days. Jones and his GMC Sonoma Pro Stock Truck team are celebrating an anniversary this weekend at Houston Raceway. It was exactly one year ago that the Galesburg, Ill., native made his debut in the series, and over the last 12 months he's made the most of the opportunity to transform his program into one of the best teams in the class. "I know it sounds like a broken record, but this whole Pro Stock Truck deal keeps getting tougher and tougher," Jones said. "At this point of the season, I'm pretty happy with where we are - I ca't say that I'm the least bit disappointed. Just to qualify in this class is an accomplishment. The Country Motors Trailer Sales Sonoma is running better and better each time out and when you do that, you start expecting to win. We're going rounds, we're planted firmly in the top 10 and my crew's doing a great job. They've given me one awesome truck to race." After three races, Jones and the Country Motors Trailer Sales program is fifth in the Pro Stock Truck standings and looking to move even further up the ladder at Houston. "Like any racer out here, you're constantly trying to improve," Jones said. "Just qualifying and being able to go rounds is saying something in itself, but we want more. I don't get down on myself when I do make mistakes, instead I try to learn from my miscues and when you can do that eventually you're going to succeed." Jones credits a number of factors in his team's early season success including an inexhaustible ability to work, a fast truck and the introduction of Reher-Morrison power into their Pro Stock Sonoma. "We have excellent personnel and we work extremely hard on this entire program. We don't overlook anything, and when we're at home, we never stop working on the truck," explained Jones. "We're constantly developing new stuff and we use the truck program as a test bed for our other new products. We make a lot changes - air induction changes, suspension changes, anything we can do to find something better. "Reher-Morrison horsepower has also been a blessing. I'm telling you, David Reher, Bruce Allen and Mark Johnson have done a tremendous job in elevating their Pro Stock Truck engine program. I don't know if they're making us look good, or if we're making them look good, but it's an excellent relationship, and they're great people to work with. Country Motors Trailer Sales is giving us the funding to step up as well. It's all coming together and to say that I'm pleased would be an understatement." Jones fielded Pro Stock Car teams during the early 1980's on the IHRA circuit and was an accomplished racer himself between 1990-94. With the lack of sponsorship dollars, and experiencing limited success on the track, Jones turned to chassis building, acquiring a list of championship clients that included 1998-99 NHRA Pro Stock title winner Warren Johnson. In September 1998, Jones was named to the Car Craft All Star Drag Racing Team as the Pro Stock/Pro Mod Chassis Builder of the Year. After a five-year sabbatical from competitive motorsports, Jones returned to the racetrack last season fielding one of the GMC Sonoma brand's two Pro Stock Truck teams. Although the team experienced its share of disappointments in '99, the investment in sweat and hard work is beginning to pay dividends in 2000. "We've been racing a year now and we're excited to be going back to Houston," Jones said. "Last year we ran poorly there, but in this season's last two races we've been a top-half truck. It just goes to show you the difference a year can make. Reher-Morrison, Country Motors Trailer Sales, GMC Sonoma, and my entire crew - we just keep doing a great job but we have to keep going. "We're having fun out here. We take it seriously, but if you can't enjoy being out here then you should be doing something else. We're going to keep plugging away and eventually we'll win a race. It's like I told somebody last week, every race I've qualified for in the last year I've advanced to the second round. Somebody asked me, 'when are you going to the semi finals?' My reply was that I would take qualifying for every race, and going to the second round over not qualifying or going out in the first round. We're staying consistent, and to be in the top five, qualifying for every race and going rounds is what you need to do. But sooner or later, if we can continue at this pace, the wins are going to come. We're taking it one race at a time." The O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil on April 13 - 16 at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Tex., is the fourth race on the 14-event NHRA Winston Pro Stock Truck schedule. Same-day television coverage can be seen on TNN on Sunday, April 16 beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Bruce Allen