When the Rattler 250 started to get to the final stages on Sunday in Opp, Alabama, most of the names at the front were the ones everyone expected to see. Ty Majeski, Harrison Burton and Jeff Choquette were all up front fighting for the win. But those big names were joined by a blue car with yellow numbers that perhaps not many people expected to see duking it out.
With less than 50 laps to go, Garrett Jones put his blue No. 88 machine out in front of the field after going from third to first following the final competition caution, passing Choquette for the lead. Jones was unable to stay there after losing the lead to Harrison Burton. Ensuing contact from Choquette sent him backwards through the field, but the strength shown by Jones caught the eye of many onlookers on Sunday.
But while many may have been surprised, Jones was not at all surprised to find himself up front.
“We were fast all weekend,” Jones told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I was actually surprised at how far we fell back earlier in the race. I think we started our pressures too low, but I really hope that everybody starts seeing that blue and yellow 88 up front a lot this year.”
The last time Jones showed that much speed was when he dominated the Lee Fields Memorial at Alabama’s Mobile International Speedway last September. He led 75 of the 150 laps en route to his first Southern Super Series victory.
Jones said he and his team have had that sort of speed in the past, but haven’t been able to put together a complete race as often as they would like. He said that was a big focus for his team during the winter months.
“Over the offseason my crew chief Shane Tesch spent a lot of hours working a lot of things out on the car,” Jones said. “We now have a lot of notes on how to make the car do what we want and that’s a game changer for us.”
As a result of Sunday’s run, the 16-year-old driver said his confidence is now sky high as the season continues on.
“Everybody knew we were there this weekend,” said Jones. “If we keep that up, then everybody will be watching us a lot more. We had good races last year, but it just wasn’t as often. We dominated Mobile last year and that was just a little taste of what we’re going to have this year.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com