BUSCH: Phoenix II: PJ Jones preview

FAST FACTS P.J. Jones and the Curb Agajanian Performance Group Dodge team bring their ...


P.J. Jones and the Curb Agajanian Performance Group Dodge team bring their #43 Diversified Partners- and Lotus of Scottsdale-sponsored racing machine to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend, seeking a milestone run in the NASCAR Busch Series Arizona Travel 200.

Last we saw of Jones and his CAPG teammates, the 37-year-old veteran driver was behind the wheel of the #43 Washington Mutual-sponsored Dodge, fighting for a top-20 Busch series finish at California Speedway on Labor Day weekend.

Jones, a Southern California native who now resides in nearby Scottsdale, has logged thousands of racing and testing miles on the legendary mile tri-oval here in numerous types of race cars during his career. His four previous NASCAR top-tier starts include an eighth-place Craftsman Truck Series finish in 2004. In addition, he has raced in and tested here for everything from NASCAR Winston West, USAC Silver Crown and Midget, Indy Lights and IMSA GTP sports cars. He still holds the PIR road course lap record in his 1993 race-winning Toyota Eagle prototype.

After piloting the #43 CAPG Dodge to a season-high 13th-place finish on the superspeedway tri-oval at Daytona in July, Jones and his teammates had to endure a tough night at O'Reilly (Indianapolis) Raceway Park for a 39th-place finish the first weekend in August, then turned in a gutsy performance Sept. 2 at California in overcoming severe handling difficulties for a 22nd-place finish.

In May, Jones drove the #98 Curb Records-sponsored IRL IndyCar Series CAPG entry to a 19th-place finish in the Indianapolis 500.

Since its last race at Fontana in September, the CAPG team has been actively seeking sponsorship that will enable a solid NBS run in 2007 and beyond. "We have left our mark at a number of tracks this season and feel we have the momentum to carry our program well into the future with equipment and racing resources firmly in place," said Cary Agajanian, who co-owns the team with record industry executive Mike Curb. "As everyone in racing knows, we are very dependent on our ability to secure the financial support it takes to keep things going. That's our main focus right now."

Sponsoring the #43 CAPG Dodge this weekend is Scottsdale, Ariz.-based real estate developer Diversified Partners (www.diversified-partners.com), which also sponsored Jones' CAPG entry at the Indy 500, and the #43 CAPG Dodge at Daytona and IRP.

Also sponsoring the #43 this weekend is nearby auto dealership Lotus of Scottsdale (www.lotusofscottsdale.com).

P.J. JONES QUOTES ON PIR -- "I have always loved that place. I've always felt comfortable and confident at PIR, especially since I've logged probably thousands of miles there racing various kinds of cars and doing an incredible amount of testing. It's my home track, since I live in Scottsdale, now, and it's also the home track for two of my sponsors this weekend -- Diversified Partners and Lotus of Scottsdale. With my sponsors nearby, and a whole lot of family and friends here to root us on, we're looking for really good things. The Curb-Agajanian team has always been known for a solid short-track program, so I'll do my part to make that work to our advantage this weekend."

-credit: capg

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Drivers P.J. Jones