Photo Walt Smith
(Palmerton, PA 1-10-21) Over his 30-plus years of racing on the eastern Pennsylvania short track asphalt circuit Bobby Jones has put together a sterling career. Between Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton and Evergreen Raceway in St. Johns, the 48-year old ace who hails from Palmerton, owns a combined 49 feature wins and four championships including this past season when he won the Evergreen Modified class title.
When Jones hits the track at either facility he is immediately pegged as a favorite for the win.
Jones has also been known to race elsewhere too, with stops at Wall Stadium, Stafford Springs, Thompson and other speedways.
Now the popular ace will be adding another new venue, one that he says has been on his bucket list for some time. He has filed an entry to run the 2021 World Series of Asphalt Stock Racing at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida starting the week of February 4.
“It’s something I wanted to do for a long time and everything just fell nicely together and there’s no time than right now to go down there and I’m excited about it,” said Jones.
“This is definitely something I want to mark off my bucket list. I always wanted to it do but honestly never thought I would.”
Preparation began just over three weeks ago and since then he and the team have been burning the midnight oil in readying themselves.
“Some of the preparation I had been doing to the car were things I was doing anyhow for the regular season so this kind of just pushed a little faster to get everything done for Florida,” explained Jones, who will bring his 2016 TA Troyer car with the engine primed by RPM Automotive of Lehighton.
“Prepping to go to New Smyrna for five days is basically like prepping for a whole season.
We’re working on all these things now so that our turnaround will be quick for the next day. We’ll get better day after day I’m sure about that,” he explained.
“Most of my team is coming and we’re all thrilled to be going and enjoy it. Without them this wouldn’t happen and it revolves around them and sponsorships. I’m just a little part of it.”
Along with his hard-working crew whom largely will be accompanying him for the trip, Jones noted that some other key individuals have stepped in to make this journey possible.
“I have been getting a lot of help from Paul French. I have been driving for him at Evergreen and a few times at Mahoning Valley. He comes down from Connecticut each week to help us and we’ve been working together for a while now and it’s been a very solid relationship. He gives me so much good information and gets me the answers that I can’t get,” he said.
“He’s also been a regular at Stafford (Motor Speedway) for a long time and that’s going to be a great resources for me to better get acclimated to New Smyrna and getting around there quicker.”
Jones also reached out to close confidant Tom Wanick III who he has driven for over the past few years.
“Tommy Wanick has also been instrumental in making this happen. Over the years we’ve had a great rapport as an owner and driver and this will be no different though this will be my own car. He’s still involved with helping out with parts and other things and is a big part of this.”
Jones is a driver very accustomed to winning and running at the front and on this venture he plans to be no different in his approach when the racing gets underway.
“Realistically as a racer I want to go there and win races, I can’t stop thinking that. Yes I want to say that I had a good run and was able to compete but I really want to be part of the battles with a shot for winning,” Jones stated.
“For us this is a big deal to travel there and back but we feel we have that and all our other bases covered. I want to win and do the best that I can as well.”