Ronnie “Buckshot” Jones has been a fixture at Southern National Motorsports Park for the last decade and his presence at the track will continue in the 2017 season.
Jones, 22, from Kenly, North Carolina first came on the scene at Southern National Motorsports Park 10 years ago, helping build cars for his step-sister, Ashley Smith, when she raced in the U-CAR division. That fueled a passion that eventually put him in the driver’s seat chasing wins and championships.
“Ashley was the first lady to win a race at Southern National,” Jones recalled. “Watching her race and working on her car, building the cars, got me into racing more than anything.”
When Jones did begin racing, success came with him. When Southern National Motorsports Park reopened in 2012, Jones began competing in the Charger division where he went on to win the championship.
Last season, Jones scored his second Southern National Motorsports Park championship with three wins on the season and a win in the U-CAR portion of the Thanksgiving Classic. It was not just his championship triumph that made last season a success, but the success of PJ Flowers who won five races in a car built by Jones.
“It meant a lot to me, all the things we did last year,” Jones remarked. “Between winning the championship and building PJ a car. We had a great battle with him all year last year.”
This season, new rules that were put in place to make U-CAR racing more affordable have pushed Jones up to the Mini Stock class where he will compete full-time in 2017. Jones knows he will have a good car but says he does not yet know what to expect.
“We don’t have any tires yet,” Jones said. “I haven’t been out to the track to practice any so I don’t know what to expect. The car will be good. Don’t know how much work needs to be put into it but it will be good.”
If history is any indication, Ronnie Jones may adapt quickly.
Jones will be competing in the Mini Stock race as part of Saturday night’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season opener at Southern National Motorsports Park. Along with the Mini Stocks, Late Models, Chargers, U-CARs, Legends and Bandoleros will all be in action. The green flag on Saturday night’s race will fly at 6pm.
-By: Andy Marquis, Southern National Motorsports Park
-Photo Credit: Andy Marquis, Southern National Motorsports Park