NASCAR prospect with famous last name nears victory lane
Jagger Jones is inching closer to his first NASCAR regional touring series victory in the K&N Pro Series.
Three top-fives, a runner-up and a sixth-place finish — not too shabby for a rookie.
From the moment he fired the engine in his No. 6 Sunrise Ford at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, Jagger Jones has been a threat to win.
“I think we’ve had a decent start,” he said. “We just need to keep improving and get a little more speed for the end of these races. I seem to start off pretty decent, but those final couple laps, (I’ve got to) find that extra little bit. That’s what we’ll be looking to do in Colorado, hopefully get a podium. I think we’ve got a chance to win.”
After leading 31 laps in his season debut, he appeared to be on his way to a win in his first K&N Pro Series event — until the lapped car of Kenny Bumbera impeded his lane on the white flag lap, allowing Hailie Deegan to scoot by for the victory.
Jones said getting over the defeat was rather quick.
It’s eyes out the windshield, not looking in the rearview mirror.
“A real racer just wants to win every race,” he said. “When you get that close to a win, especially in my first start, it kind of hurts. Any race, when you finish second like that, kind of sucks. I’ve been trying to take it as more motivation to try and get better so I can win one of these upcoming races.”
Driving the Sunrise Ford No. 6 car comes with championship pedigree.
Derek Thorn piloted the car to two K&N West titles, most recently last season, and visited Victory Lane twice last season. Jason Bowles gave car owner Bob Bruncati his first NASCAR title in 2009 in the No. 6.
But the grandson of Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones doesn’t feel any pressure stepping into the seat. It’s something he’s been dealing with all his life.
“I’m used to pressure,” Jones said. “When your grandpa and dad have raced so much, you have a lot of expectations on you. You kind of get used to it. Tune it out, use it as extra motivation. I’m used to the pressure.”
Having a veteran, championship crew chief, spotter and team working with him every week relieves much of that would-be-pressure from his shoulders. Instead, it’s belief that they can and will.
“I think it’s more confidence,” he said. “I’ve got a great team behind me, a great crew chief in Bill Sedgwick who’s doing a great job, great spotter in Ryan Partridge who’s also won a lot of races. If anything, use it as confidence and reassurance to know I’m in a good place. I just gotta work on myself. Keep tuning the car, getting everything right and (know) we are capable of winning. I know I can do it. It just might take a couple races, but I think we’ve made improvements.”
Jones will look to earn his first career victory this upcoming weekend at Colorado National Speedway, a venue where Bruncati’s blue and orange machines have enjoyed a plethora of success, especially last season, sweeping the podium.
“Last year the Sunrise team finished 1-2-3,” he said. “Those are pretty good odds for me and Trevor going into this weekend. Also, they repaved the track. I’ve watched some videos and it seems about a second and a half faster with the super late models that have been racing there. For me, it’ll be starting fresh. I think everyone will feel a little bit of that with the repave — it think that’ll help us if anything.”
The Colorado NAPA 150 is scheduled to take place Saturday, June 8, with the green flag flying around 8 p.m. MDT. The race will air for free online via the NASCAR operated FansChoice.TV platform.
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