After powering to his first top-10 finish of his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards career at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in seven starts nearly three months ago, Terry Jones enters Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway this weekend looking to top that effort in Saturday morning’s International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200.
Jones will once again pair with Mooresville, North Carolina’s Win-Tron Racing for his second start of the season in the No. 32 Jones Group International / JMC Steel Group Toyota Camry. While the Amherstburg, Ontario native is no stranger to the 2.66-mile superspeedway, he returns to the track facing unique changes.
For the first time in the series’ history at a superspeedway, qualifying will take place in groups, instead of the traditional two-lap single car runs. Additionally, the distance of the race has been shortened from 250 miles to 200, which simultaneously reduces the lap count from 94 to 80.
Those two changes in itself force the Win-Tron Racing team, guided by 2009 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship crew chief Mark Rette, to adjust their mentality and mind set entering the fourth race of the 2014 season.
“I can’t wait to get to Talladega and back behind the wheel of a Win-Tron Racing car,” said Jones, who will make his 52nd career ARCA start this weekend. “I had a blast at Daytona. Our test a few weeks ago at Talladega went well, so I’m anxious to get behind the wheel of our No. 32 Jones Group International / JMC Steel Group Toyota Camry and get to work.
“Qualifying is (going to be) different compared to the past and even Daytona a couple months ago, so that changes your practice strategy too. Instead of focusing on solo runs, we’ll be making sure we can get with some fast cars to post a good lap to align ourselves into one of the stronger groups for qualifying Friday afternoon.”
No matter where Jones lands in their inaugural version of “knockout qualifying”, the importance of getting to the front and staying there in his No. 32 Jones Group International / JMC Steel Group Toyota Camry has never been more important since one of the most anticipated contests of the year has been decreased by fifty miles.
“With the race shortened compared to last year, you have to get up on the wheel and find a good drafting partner,” offered Jones. “Ideally, I would like to connect with my teammate Frank (Kimmel, No. 44 Ansell / Menards Toyota Camry) and try to hug that bottom line and be in the hunt when it matters. You have to avoid the dreaded “big one” too, so there’s a lot of variables to deal with, but if we can duplicate or better our Daytona performance on Saturday, I’ll consider the day a success.”
Jones, a 12-year veteran on the tour will make his seventh start at the restrictor plate track on Saturday, May 3. In his previous six races under his own Jones Group Racing banner, he produced a best start of ninth (2010), while drafting to a career-best finish of fifth last May.
For Rette, he knows that Talladega offers the opportunity to produce Cinderella stories, not to mention first-time winners. He feels entering the final superspeedway race of the year, his team’s chances are as good as any.
“We had a strong run at Daytona and Terry did a magnificent job,” sounded Rette. “He went to the grass to avoid the wreck and we had to play catchup from there. The car is all ready to go and we have the confidence that Terry can go out there on Saturday and contend for the win. I can tell you this much, if we put this No. 32 Jones Group International / JMC Steel Group Toyota Camry in victory lane, you will see one hell of a party.”
Entering Talladega, Jones has 51 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards starts to his credit with one top-five (fifth; Talladega 2013) and six top-10 finishes to his credit. He has a career-best qualifying position of sixth at Salem (Ind.) Speedway in the fall of 2006.
The International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 is set for Saturday, May 3 with live coverage on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.
Win-Tron Racing PR