Afterdriving at speeds approaching 250km/hdownthe straights, scrapping the side mirror against concrete walls at 180 and jumping thecar over curbs at well over 150, the top 15 cars qualified within half a second of eachother at Townsville.
Thatequates to around one-metre in distance between first and 15thand tells us acouple of things. Firstly, the drivers are incredibly skilful but surely in need of some form of therapy. Secondly,this is the most competitive sport in the country,where after three kilometres of near out-of-control madness, you are just an also ran ifyou’re more than one metre behind the winner.
Welcome to Brad Jones’world.
DRIVEN: Albury’s Brad Jones is a man with a plan to win a V8 Championship, saying ‘you keep getting stronger – that’s what you can then build a championship year on’.
Just make it even more interesting, American billionaire Rodger Penske lured Joneskey Driver Engineer combination of Fabian Coulthard and Phil Keens to join his DJRPenske team at the end of last season.
Despite the challenges, Jones said the first half of the year has been successful with two wins and a second from the first sevenevents.
“With change you always go through a difficult period,” Jones said from his office atBJR HQ in Albury this week.
“But I would describe the first half of the year assuccessful. Jason in the BOC car had a great start but we reallystruggled with the freightliner car at the start and getting to know Tim (Slade).
“We both ended up learning a fair bit about each other fairly quickly but now we have beenpretty successful. Even after a tough weekend like we had in Townsville where itdoesn’t suit us, we were still in the top 15, so we have consistency andresults that gives us confidence.”
With only two races left until the teams hit the showcase events of the year – Sandown500, Bathurst 1000 and the Gold Coast 600 – Jones is squarely focused on more racewins and putting the team in position to challenge for a championship.
“We have two tracks coming up where we have struggled a bit – Sandown andGold Coast, but we are working on some things to minimise that,” he said.
“It’s a three-yearplan to win a championship, right now we are still getting to know Tim and he’s stillgetting to know us; my focus is to make sure he finishes the year at worst in the top 10in the championship, but ideally in the top five and we will need a strong secondhalf of the year to achieve that. You keep getting stronger; that’s what you can thenbuild a championship year on,” Jones said.
There is real momentum in the BJR camp and with brother Kim, Jones has theexperience to turn it into on track success. Once known for punchingabove its weight, other teams as well as the sport’s leading commentators nowknow that the Brad Jones Racing team is a consistent top 10performer and thenext step is to win a Supercar Championship.
For this weekend though, as the teamshead to Queensland raceway for round 8, Brad Jones will just be looking to find thatelusive half a second that will put them at the front of the field.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.