When Rick Jones teamed up with Elite Motorsports a few years ago he probably never dreamed of the day he’d be sitting on the other side of an astronomical year with multiple race wins, records set and a Pro Stock Championship to the team’s credit. As co-crew chief for the Elite Motorsports Camaro driven by Erica Enders, Jones’ cup was overflowing in 2014. His RJ Race Cars and Quarter-Max businesses continued to thrive, Quarter-Max increased involvement to support the budding Professional Drag Racers Association throughout the season, and Rick and his team served customers across many genres of drag racing, all while helping Erica become the first female in history to win a Pro Stock Championship.
While each of these endeavors keeps Jones always on the go, he is quick to recognize that each is beneficial for the other and has no plans to shy away from any opportunities in 2015. He and son Rickie will retain tuning duties for Elite Motorsports in 2015, they continue to expand Quarter-Max, and are increasing involvement with the PDRA once again.
“When we can’t go to the PDRA I always follow the Motor Mania TV coverage,” told Jones. “When Brian Olson started doing the top end interviews at Rockingham I was impressed. I thought it would be cool to connect Quarter-Max with that part of the live feed coverage. The interviews add a lot to PDRA and really highlight the drivers themselves and not just the cars. We want to be a sponsor in the PDRA because it’s a two way street. They help us and we want to turn around and help them as well. It’s mutually beneficial. I truly believe in the PDRA and think it’s a great place to race. We need that. Everybody racing there obviously needs it. So we’re trying to do our best to support it.”
For the final event of the inaugural PDRA season, Quarter-Max sponsored the ‘Top End Zone’ Live Feed interviews, just in time to catch driver reactions to Championship wins and losses. The interviews were such a hit among viewers that for 2015, Quarter-Max will also sponsor a ‘Starting Line Zone’ bringing candid driver interviews to both ends of the eighth-mile.
On top of their sponsorship role, Rick and Rickie Jones have a strong commitment to supporting customers in the PDRA. Names like Pat Stoken, John Montecalvo and Billy Albert have driven RJ Race Cars for years and are a testament to the caliber of chassis produced by the Jones family and their team. Rick has been involved in every aspect of racing at one time or another and believes that staying involved with the fierce competition of Pro Stock pushes him to build a better product for his customers.
“When you completely understand how to race a car I think it no doubt makes you a better car builder because you understand, thoroughly, the car inside and out,” Jones said of balancing his crew chief responsibilities with his businesses. “It’s something I think we get better at all the time. It helps our parts business, too, as far as building better parts for our customers. It’s a win-win.
“We’re continually developing new products so our customers can have better products all the time. Our goal is to offer the racers a great product at a very fair price with a good delivery. I just want to take this time to thank everybody for their support in 2014. It enables us to run this business and sell cars and parts worldwide. We’re very fortunate.”
Jones was especially fortunate in 2014. He and the team at Elite Motorsports had a season most racers only dream about. “It was truly a dream season,” told the Crew Chief . “It’s hard to put into words. For me, everything that we’ve done, being a single car team, we had very limited testing this year comparatively, there were times we were definitely under funded, but even with all those things against us and missing two races, to go out and win six races and the K&N Horsepower Challenge, set the ET and speed records and win the Championship in one year was definitely fulfilling. Sometimes it’s surreal to me, like did it really happen.”
Throughout the season there was no denying Erica’s faith and how that affected her philosophy toward racing and her team. She was not alone in relying on God during the tough moments. Even down to the final round the Elite Team was assured that God was with them in their battle.
“God is with us,” Jones reflected. “Everything that happened with the Championship – that was truly God’s hands that Sunday. On TV we were running good, but it was still a very difficult day. When you’re out there truly by yourself as a single car team, you have to fight, fight, fight. Rickie gets Bible verses on his phone every day. After the semi finals we were all concerned about having to race Jason and it all coming down to one run. All day long Rickie had never got his Bible verse message, but in between the semi and final rounds his phone beeped with the Bible verse. The verse was Exodus 14:14, ‘The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’ The hair stood up on the back of our necks. It was the perfectly timed reminder that God is here to help us. Everything worked out. We’re blessed.”
Being a part of that Championship team is something that Jones will take with him for the rest of his life. Across the board – from building championship caliber race cars and parts, to sponsorship endeavors to tuning and consulting duties – the hard work and proficiency of the Jones family is evident. Look for more good things from RJ Race Cars and Quarter-Max in 2015.
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