One name was conspicuously absent from the World Series of Asphalt last month at New Smyrna Speedway and that was Garrett Jones and his not hard-to-miss blue and yellow No. 88.
The 17-year-old and his family team needed to regroup.
They crashed not once, but twice during Snowball Derby week, and attributed the repeat incidents to the same mechanical problem. They wanted to take a few months to make sure the next Super Late Model they brought to the track would be both fast and reliable.
Jones justified that off-season diligence on a big way on Friday when he paced final practice for the prestigious Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway.
“We also moved to a new shop in Mooresville (North Carolina) so we just needed time to make sure that everything was done right,” Jones told Short Track Scene on Friday night. “We destroyed the car twice during the Derby and it was the same parts failure and that takes a lot out of you.
“But we feel really good about what we’ve built and I’m excited for the rest of this weekend.”
While his final plans are fluid, Jones expect to be a full-timer in the Southern Super Series while also chasing wins in big races like the Winchester 400, All-American 400 and Snowball Derby. It seems like Jones has been around forever and he has, competing in Super and Late Model Stock races since 2013.
He was the 2013 UARA rookie of the year, so point is, Jones has the track time needed to become a force on the national scene this year. He captured the Lee Fields Memorial 150 at Mobile International Speedway last season and expects to be in the mix against the likes of reigning champion Donnie Wilson, Bubba Pollard and Paul Kelley.
“That’s definitely our goal,” Jones said. “We’re going to try to finish a job we started back in 2015. We’d like to call ourselves champions and we want to go out and win some bigger races too.
Jones ran the full SSS schedule back in 2014 and finished fourth in a season split between the family car and the Tracy Goodson No. 1. Now Jones has picked up some wins and has the experience needed to seal the deal.
That mission starts on Sunday at the Rattler 250.