Jagger Jones is no stranger to motorsports, having grown up around it and watched the success of both his father P.J. Jones and grandfather Parnelli Jones. The 16-year-old is now trying to carve out his own career, and will race the full NASCAR K&N Pro Series West campaign in 2019.
Recently, Jones spoke with POPULAR SPEED about the upcoming season and his career to date.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts going into the upcoming K&N Pro Series West season?
JAGGER JONES: I’m really excited for this year. It’s definitely a big step for me in my racing career along the path to achieve my goals, and I’m excited. I think I have a great team, and great people around me. I’m really looking forward to it.
PS: What are your goals and expectations?
JAGGER: I definitely am aiming for rookie of the year. I think that’ll be a pretty cool and achievable accomplishment for me. I also want to win some races, so those are two are my two goals so far that I have going into the season.
PS: What track are you most looking forward to getting to?
JAGGER: I’m really looking forward to – probably the first one is Kern (County), just because I’ve won a lot of races there before. I know how to get around that place and I have a lot of laps there so maybe have an advantage on some of the other guys there.
I’m also looking forward to the road course at Sonoma. I think that’s going to be really fun, and I love road courses. I grew up racing go-karts on road courses so I think that’ll be pretty fun to get back on the road course. I’m also looking forward to Phoenix for a hometown race.
PS: You mentioned Kern County. What did it mean for you to pick up the championship last season?
JAGGER: Oh yeah, it was super cool to get my first oval championship at Kern County, a track that is a pretty big track where a lot of people like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick have raced at recently, and a place we’re going to go in the K&N West Series. So it was super cool to win there, and win the championship in the late model.
PS: What is the one moment from your late model season last year that stands out above all the rest?
JAGGER: I think last year was pretty cool getting to race back east with Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. and be able to win my first night out with that team, second team. It was super cool to go down to Myrtle Beach and score the win.
PS: How did you get started in racing?
JAGGER: So I just always grew up around the track with my grandpa and my dad. From when I was little, my whole life has evolved around racing; that’s all I’ve known. So my mom didn’t want me to become a racecar driver really, but it was determined to happen. There was no way around it. When I was little, I was always playing with toy cars or anything with wheels. So I’ve always just dreamed of becoming a professional racecar driver one day.
PS: Who is your racing hero?
JAGGER: I’d probably say Jimmie Johnson.
PS: We’ve seen a lot of drivers running different cars and series recently. What is a series/type of car that is on your bucket list to one day try?
JAGGER: I think one day definitely the Indy 500. Of course, I want to be racing full-time in the (Monster Energy) NASCAR Cup Series, and contending for wins in that. But outside of that, I think the Indy 500 would definitely be super cool to follow in my family history and race there.
PS: Having so much family involved in racing, what does it mean to have them to lean on for support and advice?
JAGGER: It definitely helps being involved and having a racing family. I mean, my dad is always there and my grandpa – I can always go to them and ask. But it’s also what they know, their experience, in putting me in the right position and just being involved with a lot of other people in the NASCAR world has really been a help for us. It’s good to know that I can go to my dad and ask for advice, really, for anything about the cars, or anything really around racing.
PS: If you were able to make it up the ranks and race in the Cup Series, what would that mean to you?
JAGGER: It’d definitely be a dream come true. Since I was little, I’ve been always watching NASCAR every week and pictured in my head me leading one day. So it would kind of just be – just getting there would be really cool. Then having success, that would be even greater. It would just fulfill my dream that I’ve had since I was a kid and hoped for, and now am on the path trying to achieve.
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