Although he's not exactly a young, up and coming racer anymore, Davy Jones is far and away the most accomplished racing driver living in our local area.
A resident of Douglas County in the Genoa area, Jones has won the 24 Hours of Lemans, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and finished second in the 1996 Indy 500, the third-closest finish in that famous race. Jones has 12 GTP victories and 60 top-10 finishes in the IMSA series, five invitations to the International Race of Champions, and a host of other racing honors on his resume.
Next weekend, Jones will race once again in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, this time in the Godstone Ranch Motorsports Corvette in the GT category. The team represents the Texas Heart Institute, and has just announced sponsorship from Fisk Electric, which participated in Las Vegas' City Centre project. Jones' co-drivers will be GT Champion Paul Edwards, AMA Supercross Champion Scott Russell, and team principal John McCutcheon.
I spoke with Davy on Friday, and he is really excited about the race, the team, and the car.
"I haven't raced at this level for a number of years, but this is a great opportunity," he said. "This isn't a car just thrown together for the race. It's a quality effort. We have teamed up with Leighton Reese, who won the 2009 Grand Am GT Championship, and we will be very competitive."
Although it's a one-race deal for now, Jones has the opportunity to drive a second car for the team this season, provided sponsorship materializes.
Although he hasn't been actively racing in recent years, he has kept busy with driver development programs. Jones is affiliated with the ProControl Driving Academy that is based in the National Automobile Museum. Although it lost its primary venue when Reno-Fernley Raceway's road course closed, it is exploring alternative locations.
Jones, with his long affiliation with Jaguar, has recently started a series of performance classes for owners of the Jaguar "R" model, teaching owners the nuances of driving a high-performance road car. He conducted a class at Homestead in December and has another on Feb. 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Jones has been engaged in an intensive fitness program for the past few weeks, working at K2 Pilates in Minden to get ready for the grueling 24-hour race. When I spoke with him Friday, he was on his way to Kirkwood for some skiing before he boards a plane on Monday for Florida. If you want to learn more about Davy Jones, join his fan club, or read his blog, check out davyracing.com
You probably saw the Associated Press story in Friday's Nevada Appeal on the relaxing of bump-drafting rules in the NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Daytona and Talladega. Combined with a larger restrictor plate and more horsepower for next month's Daytona 500, we should see more exciting racing than we have for a few years.
Also noted in the article is the planned change from the rear wing on the Cup cars to a blade-type spoiler. That switch will take place following a full-field test at Charlotte in March.
Not mentioned in the AP story were changes in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. Nationwide teams will be limited to 15 team members starting at Daytona, including driver, spotter, crew chief and seven over-the-wall pit crew members. The Camping World Truck Series will use the double-file restart in 2010, and the ridiculous rule banning fueling and tire changes during the same pit stop will be abandoned. The Trucks will also be allowed to use a new, vented dump can for fueling, eliminating the need for a vent can.
Also, NASCAR's top development series has a new sponsor. K&N Engineering, makers of K&N filters. The former Camping World East and West Series will now be called the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, with K&N entering into a seven-year agreement to be the title sponsor of the series.
K&N's first event as title sponsor will be next weekend's Toyota All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Calif.