PJ Jones: "I'm actually really surprised I had to get out of the car. I consider myself to be in excellent health and have definitely experienced extreme heat conditions before. I felt I had prepared myself well by drinking plenty of fluids...
PJ Jones: "I'm actually really surprised I had to get out of the car. I consider myself to be in excellent health and have definitely experienced extreme heat conditions before. I felt I had prepared myself well by drinking plenty of fluids during the day, but I knew by lap 80 I was in trouble. My fresh air hose wasn't operating properly and the air simply wasn't moving. I was definitely inhaling some pretty dangerous fumes. I don't even think I want to know how hot it was in that car. The car was tight, but we had kept working on that. We did what we set out to do and that was avoid the wrecks - we could have recorded a pretty decent finish. Now, since that car is still in good shape, we can take it to Myrtle Beach and finish the way we know we should have today. I feel confident this team is definitely on the right track." David Ridling: "To have the rear end gear fail once we came to an abrupt stop is not uncommon. These cars are set to go the distance and when you stop the fluid from flowing over the gear like we did for an extended time, meltdown is inevitable. PJ did a heck of a job and this race team is back to where we should be. Great things are coming."
A race at South Boston Speedway has been likened to the scrappy fights in a bullring. You expect your fiercest competition to come from the other 42 drivers trying to make their way around the .4-mile track. For driver, PJ Jones, the final blow came not from a fellow competitor, but from the heat and fumes that pervaded the #19 Yellow/Pameco Chevy. Starting 19th, Jones knew job one was staying out of trouble. The best way to do that is head to the front, and by lap nine, Jones was already 17th. The first caution came at lap 25. Jones was in the 16th spot and radioed the crew with the water temperature - 220 degrees. It was hot, but the team wasn't concerned. It's typical for the engine to heat up in a place where the air doesn't move. Again, a caution came at lap 40 and this time the water temperature was 240 degrees, but it would slowly fall back down before returning to green-flag racing. Two more cautions came out early on, but running 15th, Jones and crew chief, George Church knew Jones could only pit if the leaders pitted. The car was handling too well to lose positions early on. The leaders finally pitted during a caution on lap 115. Jones brought the #19 Yellow/Pameco Chevy into the pits for four tires, fuel and an adjustment to help loosen up the car. At the same time, a hose was used to spray water into the grill to cool down the engine. It helped. The water temperature dropped from 245 to 210 degrees. The stop took longer than expected and Jones returned to the track in 24th position. -more-
Jones was having a hard time advancing through the field. The car was still tight, so Church decided to bring the #19 Yellow/Pameco Chevy into the pits during a caution on lap 174, raising the track bar up two turns. Jones went back out 19th. Yet another caution came at lap 202. Jones was running 21st. That's when everything seemed to happen at once. Jones told Church he was "burning up" in the car and needed to get out. As the team got Wayne Grubb to relieve Jones, Jones came down pit road, got out of the car and was quickly treated by the track paramedics. Grubb, one of the only drivers available to get in the car, was having difficulty fitting Jones' seat and belts since he did not match Jones' height. The crew shut off the motor while trying to get Grubb in the car. When Grubb tried to restart the car, that's when the team learned the rear end gear had locked. The #19 Yellow/Pameco Chevy would not be able to return to the track, finishing 35th for the day. The next event in the NASCAR Busch Series takes place Saturday, June 17 at Myrtle Beach Speedway.