Pro Late Model Rookie Finding Success at Nashville

Two races into the 2021 season at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, perhaps the biggest surprise looking at the top of the Pro Late Model points standings is 16-year-old Dylan Jones.  The Tennessee native sits fifth in points and is leading the Rookie of the Year standings going into this weekend’s show.


With it being his first full-time season in a Pro Late Model, he is looking to finish every race and gain as much experience as he can.  After a sixth-place run to start off the year, he is happy with where they currently stand.


“It’s gone good so far, just trying to at least get a top-ten every week and get as much experience as possible,” Jones told Speed51.  “We’re just mainly trying to finish the race and load the car back up and stay out of trouble, that’s our biggest goal this year.”


That sixth-place finish in the season opener came after starting 23rd and driving through a stout field before finishing just outside the top-five.  It was his first race back at Nashville after a major wreck in September 2020 ended his racing season prematurely in the Pro Late Model.  In that accident, he was one of five drivers involved in a pileup in turn two that saw a car piled up on other machines, including Jones’ No.41.


It took all offseason to repair the Pro Late Model, but his team’s work paid off immediately with a career-best run.


“We didn’t have the best qualifying run but we knew if we stayed out of trouble we would at least have a good finish.  We stayed out of the wrecks and passed a few people and we got lucky on the restarts.  Somehow we finished sixth, it was pretty good.”


It’s been hard because we pretty much had to start from ground zero.  It took all offseason to put the car back together.  We had it put back together about a month before and started practicing.  Once we got back to the racetrack we fixed a couple more things but overall, everything went smoothly.


Competing at Nashville is a realized dream for Jones, who grew up attending races at Nashville before ever climbing behind the wheel.  Ahead of his first Pro Late Model start at the 5/8ths mile in August 2020, he had spent time on the Nashville quarter-mile, as well as racing just up the road at Highland Rim Speedway.


“I’ve been going there ever since I’ve been in diapers.  It’s always been a dream to race on the big track.  I never knew how hard it was until the first race, I’m not used to racing on that big of a track so it’s been hard, but also fun at the same time.”


His eyes are on the Rookie of the Year title at Nashville, where his competition include the likes of Garrett Dies, Jordon Riddick and Bryson Shaffer.  With two top-ten runs in the Pro Late Model already under his belt in just four starts, it has him looking ahead to further possibilities in the 2021 season.


“We’re running for Rookie of the Year and leading the points for that, so our number one goal is to get Rookie of the Year.  Top-five in points would be really great, that would be cool for us.”


Saturday’s weekly show at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway will be broadcasted live on Speed51.TV for premium subscribers.  Click here to subscribe today.


-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3

-Photo Credit: Jones Racing Team Facebook

Pro Late Model Rookie Finding Success at Nashville