DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2000) Buckshot Jones came back to the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division to restart his career after a failed effort in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1999. He almost did so in dramatic fashion, but it was...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2000) Buckshot Jones came back to the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division to restart his career after a failed effort in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1999. He almost did so in dramatic fashion, but it was a restart late in Saturday's NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway that did him in. Jones was running second to Kevin Harvick, after having led 28 of the previous 43 laps, when the field took the green flag coming out of caution with 12 laps to go. Jones got hung up and slid back to fifth, then had to settle for eighth position by the end of the race.
"That's how is usually is on the restarts," said Jones. "With slower cars there, you can't go anywhere if someone is on the inside of you, and that's what kind of happened. We just got kind of hung up with them, and that's the way it goes here. You know, that is the first time we've come down here and led the race. We got to lead, and we had great pit stops. The guys always got me back out front. I'm happy with it."
Jones found himself in a tight spot late in the race in his No. 00 Cheez-It Pontiac.
"It didn't matter what line you were in, you just couldn't really get any help," said the NASCAR Busch Series Most Popular Driver in 1998 (as voted by the fans). "We got a little bit too tight. But that's the way it goes. At least we've got a car we're taking home. The car just got tighter and tighter as the race went on. But I'm pretty happy with everything. It was a pretty good run.
"We just got tied up there at the end, and you're just kind of there for the ride. You can't do a whole lot. Like I said, we got there (the lead), we got to lead some laps today, and we stayed up front all day. At least we're taking it home in one piece. That's a good way to start the season."
It beats last year's start, when Jones failed to make the show at Daytona in his NASCAR Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year debut. Jones is up and running, with only seven drivers ahead of him in the point standings. That's good news, isn't it?
"I think it is," said Jones. "It's not what we wanted to do, but it's better than what could have been."
For Jones, the "could have beens" were a little too frequent last year. So he's not going to bother with them on this restart.