SWANSBORO, NC – Between racing and an upcoming wedding, Clay Jones has been a very busy man. However, Jones is taking time from his busy schedule to defend his victory in the Labor Day Classic at Carteret County Speedway.
Last year, Jones scored the win in the first Late Model race ever held at Carteret County Speedway in the Labor Day Classic. Jones is always a favorite to win when he comes to the track in his blue, black and yellow no. 15 ProCoat Powder Coating car, but he’s not sure he’s the favorite to win in Sunday night’s race.
“I don’t know about favorite to win,” Jones said. “Not coming back since that race gives an advantage to everybody else that’s been running. It’s a fun track. We haven’t run this car much, maybe twice this year. Trying to get the bugs out. Hoping for a good finish and keep all the fenders on it.”
Jones competed in the car earlier this season at Southern National Motorsports Park, finishing second to fellow veteran Rusty Daniels. His main focus, in racing, has been in the CARS Tour, driving Curtis Venable’s Super Late Model in the series.
“Been running a lot with the CARS Tour with the Super Late Model,” Jones remarked. “Learning a whole lot about that stuff. As everybody knows, it’s totally different from these cars. Trying to learn something new and comparing this stuff to Super stuff. Just leaning all you can.”
Jones, who resides in Goldsboro, North Carolina, would have competed at Southern National Motorsports Park, his home track, in the CARS Tour this weekend but the series cancelled the race on Thursday due to the threat of Hurricane Hermine.
“It sucked a little bit, especially since it has already been cancelled once,” Jones said. “20 minutes from the house, that makes a big difference. Being at Kenly, I feel like we have a little advantage there. I have a lot of laps there. I was really looking forward to that one. Maybe they’ll reschedule it.”
Jones has had a handful of strong performances in the CARS Tour, but is certainly an underdog in that series. Despite being an underfunded driver in the series with an under-resourced team, Jones still enjoys the competition and has fun.
“Those guys that run with that stuff, it’s like Cup stuff,” Jones said. “They’ve got 15-20 guys working on those things every week and we have two guys that works on them one night a week but we’re having fun. That’s what it’s all about. If you’re not having fun, it’s not worth doing. We all have fun.”
Jones hopes to compete in the Snowball Derby, the biggest and most prestigious race in Super Late Model racing, in December.
“We’ve talked about the Derby,” Jones said. “Pretty sure we’re going back down there. Not sure about the all the others. Got a lot going on, about to get married in October so I have a lot of planning and scheduling to work around. Hoping to go back to the Snowball. That’s an awesome event.”
Jones is marrying long-time friend Jami Powell but he says his marriage won’t keep him away from the track.
“Can’t wait, so excited,” Jones said. “We’re building our business up and taking one day at a time and doing what we need to do. The racecar isn’t going anywhere and the racetracks aren’t going anywhere. It’s a once in a lifetime thing, you get married and have a day like that so you take advantage of it.”