As Tough As Buckshot
by Bobby Markos
If you look around the Dirty Mo studio, you’ll see a lot of artifacts from the past. Some pieces are of obvious origin, like racing suits, helmets or car parts, while others seem a little more random. After this week, a new piece will be added that makes a case for “most obscure”: a Brunswick bowling ball engraved with the word “Buckshot”.
On this week’s episode of the Dale Jr. Download, Dale Jr. and co-host Mike Davis speak with the man behind one of NASCAR’s most memorable names: Monticello, Georgia’s Buckshot Jones. Buckshot brought the team the bowling ball as a gift, which dates back to his 1998 sponsorship from Brunswick Indoor Recreation Group.
The conversation kicks off with Buckshot, who’s birth name is Roy Jones, explaining where he got one of the most famous names in racing. He recalls a story from his youth, when he fell while playing and showed no visible signs of pain. His grandfather exclaimed “that boy is tough as buckshot!”, and the nickname stuck. Soon Jones was using it as his actual name all through grade school.
Jones got into racing later in life than most, and began driving competitively at the age of 20 in 1990. He originally wanted to get into motocross racing, but his father convinced him to race something safer, like a stock car. Buckshot would enter the late model ranks, racing around the Georgia short track pavement scene. After a vicious crash in one of his first starts that saw him launch out of Gresham Motorsports Park, his father asked how he felt, to which Buckshot replied “this is what I want to do.” The two would go on to develop a plan to rise through the ranks to NASCAR.
Buckshot tells the story of how he teamed up with former Alliance Racing crew chief Ricky Pearson, who was the son of NASCAR legend David Pearson. Jones recounts his time with them, including when the elder Pearson “showed him how to get around” Darlington Raceway in a passenger van.
The talk also covers Buckshot’s famed rivalry with Randy LaJoie in 1997, which stemmed from some fireworks related pranks on a trip to Talladega. Buckshot recalls a couple on track incidents and retaliation which were reprimanded by NASCAR with a threat of further punishment if it continued. Jones also clears the air on some other dust-ups he had, including some interactions with another great racing name: the legendary Dick Trickle.
Jones speaks on his decision to leave racing after the birth of his son, and catches us up on what he’s done in his post racing years. Listener’s can expect an intimate look at one of NASCAR’s most memorable names and the driver behind it. Also this week, Dale Jr. talks about who is really “America’s Favorite Crew Chief”, as well as a pet-related story from the Davis household. All of this and more on this week’s episode of the Dale Jr. Download - available on this website and all major podcast platforms.
Additional reading about our guest:
Born in Monticello, Georgia, Roy “Buckshot” Jones entered the racing world at the age of 20, while attending the University of Georgia pursuing a business degree. Originally intending on racing motocross, Jones’ father convinced him to race in the much safer stock car ranks. He then entered the late model division at Georgia asphalt strongholds like Lanier and Gresham Motorsports Park and discovered “this is what I want to do.” He and his father hatched a six year plan to rise through the short track ranks and go NASCAR racing.
After a couple of early failed attempts to enter the Busch Grand National ranks in 1993, Jones started Buckshot Racing in 1995 with some glimpses of potential, including a 9th place finish at South Boston. He would then hire recent free agent Ricky Pearson as a crew chief, son of NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson, and move the operation down to their race shop in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The team would prove successful and Jones would score his first win in the division at Milwaukee in 1996. He would also win the Most Popular Driver award in 1998.
In 1999, he would move the team’s focus over to the Cup Series. After failing to qualify and having to drop out of a few races, Jones ended his Rookie of the Year bid and returned to the Busch Grand National Series. After appearing at an autograph session in Georgia sponsored by Georgia-Pacific, a representative from the company told him “when we go Cup racing, we’ll give you a call”. The sponsor would be linked to Petty Enterprises, and Jones was tabbed to run the number 44 entry for the team. The season would not produce much success, and Jones would leave full-time racing in April of 2002, after the birth of his son.
Jones would continue to dabble in racing in the years since, including a one-time race for Michael Waltrip Racing at Talladega in 2003 where he was set to have his best showing to date, leading 19 laps, before retiring with damage stemming from a blown tire. Buckshot would go on to work for his father’s cable company. Today, Jones works in land development and investing, as well on his family’s 800-acre farm in Georgia.