Day Motor Sports Driver Profile: Daniel Jones back on track in Factory Stock

PROVENCAL, Louisiana — As most people who’ve been involved for any length of time will tell you, short track racing is much like a disease. It gets in your blood, and doesn’t leave without some form of serious treatment. Even if a driver steps away for a while, they often return for another shot at glory. 

For 33-year-old Daniel Jones, a second stint behind the wheel (due mostly to the insistence of his race-loving son, Collin) is turning out pretty well. Jones put his classy No. 23 machine in Victory Lane at his home track of Sabine Speedway last Friday night, and it made for a happy father/son celebration. 

“It was very satisfying to finally put one together like that,” Jones said. “It’s just so hard to win these days. From my perspective, being a part-time racer, compared to guys who race every week, it’s tough. It’s difficult to compete against racers with a notebook full of what setup works, and what doesn’t.

“Just getting back to my home track makes all the difference to me. It’s the place where I first got into the sport, I feel more comfortable at Sabine than I do anywhere else. It’s where I have the most laps, and the place really suits my driving style. I like to gas it up, and I’m able to do that there.” 

Now in his sixth year behind the wheel, Jones has paid his dues and learned a great deal. 

“I jumped into a Pure Stock when I first started out behind the wheel,” Jones explained. “I also ran a Limited for a while before Factory Stock got real popular. I won in a Limited in my second night out, and I really enjoyed driving that car. 

“But I kinda didn’t know if I wanted to keep racing after that, so I quit for a while. My youngest son, Collin, he’s nine, and is really hooked on racing. He’s the one who asked me to race again, so here we are. He has his own front-wheel drive car; he may be the next Jett Hefti, who knows. He just loves it.”

In the Ark-La-Tex area, competition within the Factory Stock ranks is pretty intense.

“Around here, we’re the only Friday night track, so all the good guys show up,” Jones explained. “I think the next three guys behind me last Friday night have between 25 and 30 wins between them this year. The pressure used to get to me a lot, but I don’t let it now. I’m focused on running my own race.”

Once the co-promoter of Sabine Speedway with his brother, Bubba, Daniel stepped away from that role to focus more on his own driving career. 

“Bubba lives and breathes that race track; which is what it takes to do it right,” he explained. “He’s there most days from sunrise to sunset, especially this week with the big race coming up. The main reason I stepped down as co-promoter was to be able to race. 

“It takes time to maintain a car and be any god at it; I really couldn’t do both at the same time and be fair to Bubba or my own racing career. Bubba puts in the time and effort to keep Sabine Speedway moving forward, and hosting lots of races. 

When Jones puts on his safety suit, grabs his helmet and gets ready to go, he straps into a fine machine.

“I have a 2021 Outlaw chassis,” he said. “I’m on my third Outlaw car, I think, and I wouldn’t drive anything else. I’ve known Justin for years, and feel he builds the best cars out there. I bought the third  one he ever built back in 2013. He built a couple for himself and his Dad, then I got the next one.  

“Under the hood, I have power from BEST Racing Engines. It’s got ample power and is super reliable. I choose to go with Outlaw and BEST engines because I don’t want equipment to be the issue. If I don’t do well, it’s because of me, not the car. It’s a potent and reliable combination of chassis and power.” 

What Jones needed to do to reach Victory Lane, however, was change his driving style.

“I had to go from a conservative approach to being more up on the wheel,” he explained. “To have a shot at winning in this division today, you have to be aggressive and run hard the entire race. There is no pacing for 10 laps, then going hard. They go wide open now.

“So in order to run with them, and I have the car, I had to step it up some. I feel I’ve matured behind the the wheel this year, and that helps. Plus I’ve got some great people helping out who guide me, which it what it takes to be successful. That win was just what I needed to get ready for the big shows this fall.”

Along with his natural talent behind the wheel and top-notch race car, Jones does have some great folks behind the scenes working to ensure his program stays on-track and successful. 

“I want to thank my wife and kids first, since family is what’s most important anyway,” he said. “My wife supports my racing, and I’m blessed for that. I’ll also give a special thanks to my Mom, who is my biggest fan. Words can’t begin to express my appreciation for all she’s done.

“I also need to thank my great sponsors, including Delta Consulting, LLC; LCC Trucking and FTS Supply; Outlaw Race Cars, BEST Engines, Jones Dirt, CRS Suspension, Mizell Transmissions, JCR Components, Henry’s Auto Salvage, Superior Graphix, Strong Tower Nutrition, S&S Fishing and Rental, Super Coop’s Journey and Womac Septic.” 

As the season quickly winds down and those big Fall specials loom on the horizon, Jones has a couple of them circled on his calendar. 

“The one I’m focused on right now is our big Fall Southern Showdown at Sabine,” he said. “That’s the big one for me; it used to be a big Modified race but now it’s just Limiteds and Factory Stock. If I could win that race, or maybe the annual Cajun Classic, it will have been a great season. We’ll give it a shot.”

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer
Photo by Scott Burson