Jones makes statement at the PAS. PERRIS, CA, MAY 18, 2002 - In case you haven't noticed, Tony Jones has evolved into one of the top non-winged sprint car drivers in the country. Further evidence of this statement was provided Saturday at the ...
Jones makes statement at the PAS.
PERRIS, CA, MAY 18, 2002 - In case you haven't noticed, Tony Jones has evolved into one of the top non-winged sprint car drivers in the country. Further evidence of this statement was provided Saturday at the Perris Auto Speedway after Jones methodically drove to his third NAPA Auto Parts / Auto Trader Magazines SCRA main event win of the season.
Starting seventh, Jones fell behind early, but maintained his composure. Steadily working his way to the front, Jones took the lead five laps from the finish and went on to score a victory that his famous father (who co-owns Jones' car along with Johnny VermeJones er) would have been proud to call his own during his days as driver.
"Bubby Jones puts a great car together; he massages this thing all week long and you just can't beat having him on your team. He teases me and tells that its 90% car and 10% driver, and I believe him because this is a good race car," Jones said with a smiled.
After finishing one-two in the JE Pistons Dash, Richard Griffin and Rip Williams started on the front row for the 30-lap feature. Griffin took the lead at the start, but Williams would go on to lead the opening lap after a nice run off the turn four cushion.
SCRA's newest star in the making, Damion Gardner, showed his power early. Moments after passing Griffin in turn four; Gardner dove down to the bottom of turn two and took the lead on lap six. Despite slapping the wall one lap later Gardner continued to set the pace.
Charles Davis, Jr. passed Griffin for fourth on lap eleven. Griffin tried to take back the position on the following lap only to make contact with Davis. Griffin avoided a spin, but would have to stop on the racing surface with a flat right front tire. Taking advantage of his own caution period, Griffin returned with a new tire and went on to finish tenth.
Trying to give his new sponsor, Tomarco Fasteners, a victory in their first race with the Sharon Jory team, Williams passed Gardner three laps after the restart. Once out front, Williams pulled away from Gardner. Steve Ostling started 10th in the Fischer Motorsports / Watt Enterprises No. 29 Okie and was pressuring Gardner for second when fifth place Bobby Graham hooked the turn one cushion and flipped on lap 19. Graham was not hurt.
"The red flag gave us an opportunity to get caught up," said Jones, who was running fifth at the time. "We started seventh and I think we fell back to 12th and it's hard to get caught back up. We had great restarts tonight, and we had a lot of breaks tonight, and we were able to pull another win off for the Ferreira Dairy / Avenger Chassis car."
During the stoppage, Gardner's crew made some needed repairs resulting from his earlier brush with the wall. Shortly after those repairs were made, Gardner had another scare when a push truck struck his right rear tire. Fortunately, there was no damage to Gardner's Coy Construction No. 20 Eagle and he was ready to challenge for his first SCRA win when racing resumed.
Jones, however, proved to be even more ready to grab his 13th career SCRA win. With ten laps to go, Jones was up to third. Two circuits later, Jones gave Gardner one of his crowd pleasing slide jobs in turn three to take over the second position. Coming down to complete lap 24, Jones tapped Williams on his rear nerf bar before taking the lead one lap later.
Jones was less than a half a lap from a comfortable win when the yellow light appeared for debris. Even though Jones was less than pleased with the decision to go yellow for debris on the final lap, he showed his maturity and sped away to victory after the restart.
Williams was not as lucky and would finish fourth behind Ostling and Sander Engineering Fast Time Award winner Gardner. Jeremy Sherman and Cory Kruseman, who were taking a red-eye flight to Indiana together after the race, finished fifth and sixth respectively. Rickie Gaunt won the KSE Hard Charger Award with a 17th to eighth place run.