Jagger Jones will get to check something off his racking bucket list this weekend.
For the first time, the 17-year-old will get to drive his legendary grandfather Parnelli Jones’ old race car from the 1960s at Worldwide Technology Raceway at Gateway, as part of the Vintage Indy Registry, an organization dedicated to the history and preservation of Indianapolis Championship Cars from spanning more than 80 years.
“I’m running one of my grandpas old roadsters,” Jones told NASCAR.com. “I think it’s a 1962. One of his old cars someone bought and did a couple things to keep to up so it’s drivable and able to be taken to these events. They wanted me to drive it because he knew I was going to be there for the K&N race.”
Jones has a special relationship with his grandfather. Parnelli who won the 1963 Indianapolis 500 and is in a plethora of racing Hall of Fames across the United States. Coming from a racing background, Jagger has always dreamed of getting the opportunity to drive one of his grandfathers cars.
This weekend, he’ll get his chance.
“It’s going to be super cool. Everything he’s done for our sport, the cars he’s driven, the team owners, just to go back in time a little bit and to drive a little part of that,” he said. “Sitting in the seat that he did back in the day – over 55 years ago – I’m super excited. I’ve seen him drive some of his old cars around Indy when I was there a few years ago. But to be able to drive one of his cars is pretty cool.”
Chase Briscoe recently revealed his throwback paint scheme for the upcoming Darlington Raceway weekend, honoring Parnelli Jones with his No. 98 for Stewart-Haas Racing.
So pumped about this one! A legend and also my grandpa. Can?t wait to see this car on track! https://t.co/GceNJZscKG
— Jagger Jones?? (@jaggerjones98) August 7, 2019
“That’s super cool too,” he said. “The Darlington throwback schemes, my whole life dream is to go to NASCAR and I always said to myself ‘one day, I’m going to make that throwback scheme mine,’ but he beat me to it. It’s awesome.”
As for the main event this weekend for Jones, the Monaco Cocktails 125 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, he’s looking to find some more consistency after two finishes outside the top 10 and two inside the top five in his last four races.
“The last two weekends, not gonna lie, haven’t been our two best,” he said. “But I think this is a good place to rebuild some momentum. I’ve never been to Gateway, but it looks like a pretty awesome track. Especially the biggest track we go to in the West Series. I’m looking forward to it.”
Last season, Sunrise Ford put all three cars inside the top 10. Eventual champion Derek Thorn finished third, last week’s winner Trevor Huddleston finishes seventh and Jones’ current driver coach/spotter Ryan Partridge came home 10th.
Jones will look to use Friday’s optional practice session to get used to the St. Louis oval, the biggest track he’s been to in his short career thus far.
“I know both of our cars ran really well last year and I think we can continue that,” he said. “We have a Friday practice, which helps me a lot being a rookie. I don’t have a lot of experience at all of these tracks. Especially the size of it. Gateway being 1.25 miles, the biggest track I’ve been on is Iowa (0.875-miles) and then after that, probably Evergreen this past weekend. Having that test day is huge for us. That’ll be a big confidence booster and will help us a lot.”
The Monaco Cocktails 125 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at Worldwide Technology Raceway at Gateway is scheduled to go green at approximately 4:35 p.m. CDT. FansChoice.TV will have live coverage of the event.