Drag racing: Jones eager for chance in his biggest race
West Jordan • Tim and Jill Jones almost named their oldest son Chevy, but they were afraid he might not like cars.
In reality, that really wasn't an option.
Josh Jones, now 17, has been drag racing at Rocky Mountain Speedway since he was 8 year old, and he will race in the biggest event of his career this weekend.
The Juan Diego senior was invited to compete in the IHRA Summit Super Seniors Junior Dragster World Championships, which begin Friday at Memphis International Raceway in Tennessee.
"This is probably the highlight of my career," Jones said. "I've won track championships, and I've been to the [NHRA] Western Conference Finals, but nothing as big as this."
Jones was born into a racing family and hung out at the track when Tim pushed the limits of his 1970 Chevy Nova. The checkered flag also blankets the Jones' two other sons â Jake, 15, and Jared, 12. Both are accomplished racers, and they sleep in rooms filled with trophies nearly as tall as they are.
"I like racing against [Josh]," said Jake, who competes in the same age division as his older brother. "But I've only beaten him one time. I cut a perfect light [at the start] the best light you can get and I had a lot of bragging rights."
The family packed its racing trailer with Josh's dragster and the engine from Jake's car as a spare, then made the 1,500-mile trip earlier this week. Each member of the family has a job helping Josh in his quest for the international title.
Tim adjusts the alcohol-powered engine using Jill's notes on forecast weather and humidity as well as statistics taken from Josh's runs. Jake and Jared prep the tires, wipe the clutches and fuel the engine.
"We assign everybody something to do after each run so that we're set to go for the next run," Tim said. "It's kind of a family thing."
Jones will have two timed runs Friday and Saturday, which can be watched live at ihra.com, followed by a16-car head-to-head tournament that will determine the outcome.
Jones, who has won all three age classes in which he has raced at RMR, went to Memphis with one goal in mind.
"I'm going to win," he said. "I'm just going to go out there and act like it's a normal race. I won't be nervous by how big it is."
Jones will be racing for several prizes, among which is $5,000 in cash and a new car.