Jones, #43 Diversified Partners/CAPG Dodge Bring Home 21st-Place Finish at Phoenix
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- P.J. Jones and the #43 Diversified Partners/Lotus of Scottsdale Dodge team of the Curb Agajanian Performance Group capped their first NASCAR Busch Series race weekend in more than two months with a 21st-place finish during today's Arizona Travel 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Jones capped a five-race run in the #43 that began with his 13th-place finish at Daytona on July 4 weekend with a modestly successful day on the mile tri-oval not far from his current Scottsdale residence. Backed this weekend by local sponsors Diversified Partners and Lotus of Scottsdale, Jones put his racing machine 22nd on the grid during qualifying this morning.
He was running in the top 20 within the first three laps of today's 200-lap event, but was never able to climb much farther up in the running order while a handful of minor handling problems proved to be major enough to inhibit his progress toward the front.
As the race wore on, Jones's day certainly had its eventful moments. Just 19 laps along, he deftly avoided a spinning Danny O'Quinn, saving a sideways race car after slight contact in the pileup with another competitor. Later, on Lap 93, Jones accidentally got into the back of Auggie Vidovich, who was nursing an ill-handling car in front of him.
Shortly after the race's midpoint, Jones and his crew gambled with a two-tire pit stop on Lap 108. But the race, which saw no less than seven cautions over the first 102 laps, stayed green for the next 63 laps, and it was during that extended run on two tires that Jones and several other competitors fell off the lead lap. Jones fell back as far as 26th with some 45 laps remaining, but was able to pick up five spots by the checkered flag for his final finishing position of 21st.
This concludes the season for the #43 Curb Agajanian Performance Group team. Announcements regarding the 2007 season will be made as the team is able to solidify sponsorship commitments.
"It was an eventful day, for sure. I believe we had a top 15 finish in our Diversified Partners/Lotus of Scottsdale Dodge. What it came down to was the two-tire stop just before the long green run. The way the race was going, it seemed like the thing to do, but it just didn't work out for us. We didn't have the best car out there, but we were definitely better than a lot of cars that are out there week in and week out. The team hadn't raced since Labor Day weekend (at California Speedway), so to come out here and do as well as we did after more than two months off is really an accomplishment in such a highly competitive series. I had some intermittent radio problems that hurt me in traffic. Otherwise, we stayed out of major trouble. I feel bad for getting into the back of the 4 car (Vidovich). He was struggling with his car and just didn't get back onto the gas when the rest of us did. Overall, we made a lot of progress this year after what turned out to be a part-time effort. Our finishes didn't necessarily show the potential we have as a team. But when you look at what we accomplished against the full-timers out there, I'd think this is a team that could go a long way with full-time sponsorship."