Sears Point: PJ Jones enters race

PJ JOnes To Try Hand At Road Racing In Sonoma, Bennett Lane Winery To Sponsor Arnold Motorsports Dodge Calistoga, CA (June 23, 2004) With two strong races in his back pocket and sponsorship from the Bennett Lane Winery, PJ Jones and ...

PJ JOnes To Try Hand At Road Racing In Sonoma, Bennett Lane Winery To Sponsor Arnold Motorsports Dodge

Calistoga, CA (June 23, 2004) With two strong races in his back pocket and sponsorship from the Bennett Lane Winery, PJ Jones and Arnold Motorsports will be ready to tackle the turning and churning layout of Infineon Raceway this weekend in the NASCAR Nextel Cup event from Sonoma, California.

Jones, 35, is a veteran road racing talent with numerous road racing wins in other series in his racing career. His 4th-place finish at Watkins Glen in 2002 was a highlight to his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup resume, but if you ask PJ, he'll tell you he's a better oval racer than road racer.

"I don't know about this road racing thing, I'm going to give it a shot and see what turning right is all about! I'm just kidding, I love road racing, especially in stock cars - don't get me wrong," Jones laughed. "But I think I'm a better oval racer than a road racer. Everything I did early in my career was on ovals in sprint cars and midgets and even to date with the USAC Silver Crown racing I do. Honestly, I had to adapt to road racing like any other driver in this series, I just got some pretty good experience with the Indycar and sports car racing I've done. So I'm not going to lie and say it doesn't help me when we race in Sonoma and Watkins Glen because it does!"

In the last two weeks, Jones has shown he can pedal it on the ovals too giving Arnold Motorsports their best finish of the season two weeks ago (22nd at Pocono) and also putting them in position to one-up that result with a solid top-20 at Michigan last Sunday. Unfortunately, Jones was collected on the last lap in Michigan by another driver and finished 25th.

"PJ has done such a great job with this team and I think he's shown what kind of a solid team we have here," said crew chief Mike Hillman, who was Jones' crew chief in 2002 at Watkins Glen. "We're a first-year team that works really hard and has the ability to race really well. After working with PJ at Watkins Glen, I know what he can do on a road course with a good car and that's what we plan to put under him."

Jones' No. 50 Dodge will have backing at Infineon from the Bennett Lane Winery which is located in nearby Calistoga, California. Despite Infineon's wine country location, Bennett Lane is the first California winery to sponsor a NASCAR Nextel Cup car in the Dodge Save Mart 350. With his car in the lineup, Bennett Lane owner Randy Lynch hopes to forge a closer connection between the two cultures of wine and racing.

"Wine is something I came to love later in life. But racing is something I've been involved with since I was a teenager," Lynch says. "It gives me a sense of great personal accomplishment along with the thrill of the race. It's also very exciting to blend my two passions right here among the vines."

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Series NASCAR Cup