BUSCH: Late-race wreck takes top-15 finish from P. J. Jones



Race:       "Sears Diehard 250"         Laps/miles: 250 laps/250 miles
Race date:  Sunday, July 2              Started:    21st    
Finish:     38th , four laps down       Monies: $8,825

PJ Jones: "We should be leaving Milwaukee with a top-fifteen finish. Even though I was fighting some handling problems, we held our own out there and we more than held our own on the outside groove. With less than 10 laps to go, the #20 car got passed me and all of the sudden he checked up. I had nowhere to go. I couldn't believe that we were so close to another good finish and it was erased in an instant. That won't happen at Nazareth. We get a break next weekend, but the #19 Yellow/Pameco team would be ready to race tomorrow if we could. We feel good about our progress and want to keep that momentum going full-steam ahead."

Performance Summary: Knowing rain was on the way, driver, PJ Jones, was aware the first portion of the race would be interesting. Increased temperatures and humidity had changed track conditions considerably and Jones was quick to assess its effect on the #19 Yellow/Pameco Chevy. Jones was 19th by lap 28 and was being held up by the #30 car. He tried the outside groove to make the pass and it worked - so he did it again, passing the #25 car as well to grab the 17th position by lap 38.

Next stop was pit road during a caution due to rain on lap 44. A problem with the lug nuts on the right front tire relegated PJ back to the 28th spot, but after the 30-minute rain delay, Jones immediately began improving his position and had moved all the way up to 16th before the next caution came at lap 108. The team matched PJ's efforts on the track with a solid pit stop and he remained in the same pack of cars, taking the 16th spot again on lap 146.

Jones was untouchable on the outside groove, recording lap times that were better than the leader.

As the race continued, track conditions would continue to affect the handling and the #19 Yellow/Pameco Chevy began to get increasingly loose. Jones remained strong - not allowing the car to get the best of him, but pushing it to the limits at each turn to maintain his position in the field.

Mission accomplished.

Jones was 17th when the rain fell again at lap 200, causing another 30-minute rain delay. Most teams pitted one final time before going back to green. With fresh tires, Jones returned to the track 19th, but the caution quickly returned on lap 209.

On the restart, Todd Bodine dashed to the inside of PJ, making it three-wide going into turn one. Jones wisely got off the gas to avoid what was sure to be a wreck, falling back to 24th on lap 215. By the next caution on lap 232, Jones had advanced to 22nd, but it was apparent he was fighting a very loose car. On lap 243, the #20 car of Tom Hubert passed Jones, and moments later Hubert hits the brake and Jones has nowhere to go. Spinning, the car comes to a stop in the infield grass and Jones is forced to await a tow truck to place him back on the asphalt.

The incident brought out the caution with only five laps to go at the restart. Jones slid back to a 38th-place finish with Jeff Green taking the win. The next event in the NASCAR Busch Series takes place Sunday, July 16 at Nazareth Speedway.

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Drivers Todd Bodine , Jeff Green , Tom Hubert