BUSCH: Gateway Buckshot Jones looks to beat the heat

(Spartanburg, S.C.)--- The first three NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division races at Gateway International Raceway have been nothing more than a thorn in the side of Georgia native Buckshot Jones. Jones has competed in all three...

(Spartanburg, S.C.)--- The first three NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division races at Gateway International Raceway have been nothing more than a thorn in the side of Georgia native Buckshot Jones. Jones has competed in all three Busch Series races at Gateway and has had similar results each time. After starting 10th for the inaugural event in 1997 and running in the top-15 for much of the race, Jones hit the turn two wall and finished the race in 25th. A year later in 1998, Jones was leading the race with 25 laps to go when an oil line came loose on the engine and relegated him to a 31st place finish. During last year's Carquest Auto Parts 250 Jones again experienced engine problems that forced him to retire from the race at lap 120. Since then, the team and Jones have taken the necessary steps to make sure this year's results are different and do not resemble those from year's past. On July 10 and 11, the Buckshot Racing team spent two days testing in St. Louis for this year's Carquest Auto Parts 250. "Our testing went well and I am much more confident going into this year's race than I have been in years past," said Jones. "We focused quite a bit on our qualifying runs, but the area I was most impressed with was how well our car ran on longer runs. It's hard for us to compare actual times from our recent testing to last year's because of the new Chevrolet body style and the new Goodyear tires." In addition to having to battle 42 other competitors at Gateway, drivers and teams must also contend with the hot summertime temperatures that can be brutal in St. Louis. Temperatures can easily reach 130-degrees inside of the car. Unlike a passenger car, drivers can't just flip the switch to turn on the air conditioning. "Imagine riding around Miami in August with the windows rolled up on your car for two or three hours," said Jones. "That's what it's like at some of these tracks we're at in the summer." In an effort to keep cool inside of the car, Jones will rely upon plenty of hoses that direct the air into his helmet during the race and a water jug with a straw located in the driver's compartment. Occasionally under pit stops, the team will give Buckshot ice bags to place inside of his driver's uniform to keep him cool. "The heat definitely can play a role in the racing at St. Louis," said Jones. "It was a smart decision to move the race to the evening because at least you don't have to deal with the glaring sun. The best you can do to deal with the heat is be prepared and in shape when you get to the track. Some people just assume you can drink plenty of fluids before the race and you will be fine. That's not the case as most every driver I know of has some sort of exercise program they follow to keep in shape. If you're in shape physically, your mind will follow." Preparation is the key to success. By testing the No. 00 Cheez-It Chevrolet at Gateway and keeping in shape, Buckshot Jones believes he can turn his past misfortunes in St. Louis into good fortunes.

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Buckshot Jones