Buckshot Jones Wants A Repeat Performance At Dover Downs SPARTANBURG, S.C. (May 24, 1999) --- Buckshot Jones is just getting started as a NASCAR Winston Cup driver, but Dover Downs is already the site of a very big accomplishment in his early...
Buckshot Jones Wants A Repeat Performance At Dover Downs
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (May 24, 1999) --- Buckshot Jones is just getting started as a NASCAR Winston Cup driver, but Dover Downs is already the site of a very big accomplishment in his early career. Jones qualified 19th and finished eighth in only his second career NASCAR Winston Cup race at Dover in May of 1998. At the time, he was filling in as the driver for the Stavola Brothers race team and had very little experience in a Winston Cup car.
"Getting the chance to compete in some Winston Cup races last year with the Stavola Brothers was a great opportunity," said Jones. "I've always liked driving at Dover and they gave me a strong car, so everything just fell into place. It was a big accomplishment for me.
"I like to drive on the concrete tracks and Dover is like a big Bristol. The downside about the track is that if you spin out, you have a hard time avoiding the wall. It's a tough track, but I think I like it because it's a challenge."
Jones had qualified for his first Winston Cup race in Atlanta in 1997, but got into an accident early in the race and only ran a handful of laps. As he strapped himself into the Winston Cup car last year at Dover, Jones knew that the race he was about to drive was going to be one of the toughest in his career. "Dover is a tough track to begin with, but this was the first time I had ever tried to run 400 laps and the heat was pretty intense that day," said Jones. "During the rookie meeting, Dale Jarrett came in to talk to the drivers and the one thing he told us not to do was to look up at the scoreboard to see how many laps we had remaining. Staying focused and being patient were the two things I needed to remember that day. "Unfortunately, less than halfway through the race my aluminum seat started to get hot. There wasn't enough padding to cover the seat and it was burning my skin through my uniform. Trying to stay focused became really difficult. I also didn't listen to Dale Jarrett's advice and with 200 laps to go I looked at the scoreboard. It was a long, hot day."
Jones attributes a lot of his success during the race to the team, but knows that he earned that eighth place finish and the respect of some veteran drivers.
"The team gave me a great car that day, they had smart pitstops and they helped me stay focused," said Jones. "They were a large part of why I was able to have such a strong finish, but I also think I drove a smart race. I came close to wrecking once or twice, but I was able to correct the car and not get tangled up in the wrecks around me. I learned a lot that day and I think I proved that I was ready to make the jump into this series.
"Now I'm heading to Dover with my own team this year and we have a lot of expectations and hopes. We're a brand new team on the series and we started from scratch this year, so there have been a lot of ups and downs. I'm hoping I can take what I learned from last year at this track and communicate that to my team and have a strong race again."