By Richie Murray – USAC Media
SPEEDWAY, IN-For the second consecutive season, the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship season will contain a 10-race “series within a series” held in memory of one of the series’ all-time greats.
The Bubby Jones Racing Master of Goin’ Faster presented by Spire Sports + Entertainment will encompass 10 events on the USAC National Sprint Car schedule this season, all of which will take place at some of the most legendary tracks on the schedule, including half-miles and some of Ol Bub’s favorite places throughout his storied career as a driver and crew chief.
The driver accumulating the most total points throughout the 2023 Bubby Jones Racing Master of Goin’ Faster series will be rewarded with a $10,000 prize. Furthermore, the championship winning crew chief will collect a $2,500 bonus.
The addition of the crew chief reward is new for 2023 and adds a bonus to the master on two sides of the sport that Bubby mastered throughout his career – behind the wheel and behind the wrench. It’s an aspect that his son, 2007 USAC CRA Sprint Car champion driver and current series director Tony Jones feels is just as important to the lore of his father as was his hall of fame driving career.
“Being a winning crew chief has been just as much a part of our family’s history as driving, so it’s fitting to add a bonus for the winning crew chief this year,” Tony said. “Hitting the cushion just right while he was driving was just as important to him as hitting the setup just right as a mechanic, so it’s excellent that this year’s championship will include both facets.”
Four-time USAC National Sprint Car champion Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) will attempt to defend his “Bubby Jones” title, which begins on April 29 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, USAC’s first trip to the Lone Star state since 1985. For him, this championship was extra special as he knew him, learned from him and holds him in high regard as one of the legends of the sport in more ways than one.
“I knew Bubby when he was at Tony Stewart Racing and with the Fitzpatricks,” Bacon recalled. “He was a legend in our sport, and I learned as much as I could from him. Winning the award of his namesake was really cool and hats off to everyone who put it together. The tracks we got to get to visit represent in this series are the marquee facilities and places that are kind of a staple on our schedule, and the reward was something that really helped us financially through the winter. It’s cool to win it and to receive a neat trophy, and it’s an honor to win anything with his name on it.”
The addition of the crew chief bonus is a big one for Bacon and his crew. These are the unheralded individuals who stands somewhat behind the scenes who help make him fast and provide him with reliable equipment, adjustments and an ease of mind at the racetrack with the trust that he shares for those who turn the wrenches. It’s a sentiment he feels every team shares and is thrilled that they now get to partake in the glory on a more prominent level.
“Later in his life and career, Bubby was known for his mechanical prowess, so it’s pretty neat that they’ve added that to give these guys who work so hard the attention they deserve and something to strive for,” Bacon added.
May brings the Bubby Jones series to Rossburg, Ohio’s Eldora Speedway for the second night of #LetsRaceTwo on May 6 while Indiana’s Terre Haute Action Track welcomes the series for the 53rd annual Tony Hulman Classic on May 23.
Three more legendary dirt half-miles are on the scene for the Bubby Jones series in the month of June, beginning with June 3 at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway for the Corn Belt Clash. Two Eastern Storm dates in Pennsylvania follow as part of the series in June, at Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania’s Williams Grove Speedway on June 16 and Port Royal Speedway on June 17.
July is chock full of premier events, highlighted by the 36th annual edition of Indiana Sprint Week. Two ISW dates will feature prominently in the Bubby Jones title race. First up is Kokomo Speedway on July 22 with the following weekend’s round at Bloomington Speedway on July 28.
September’s $20,000-to-win Haubstadt Hustler takes the Master of Goin’ Faster series to the penultimate round on the 16th at Indiana’s Tri-State Speedway. The championship decider for the mini-series concludes at Indiana’s Lawrenceburg Speedway during the $20,000-to-win Fall Nationals.
The series’ winning driver will also receive a custom trophy provided by Potter Metal Art and a year-end acknowledgement at USAC’s Night of Champions in December.
Norman “Bubby“ Jones was a 27-time winner in USAC National competition during his National Sprint Car Hall of Fame career. Among his 27 wins are seven each at Eldora and Terre Haute, two tracks featured prominently on the schedule.
Nicknamed Ol’ Bub, the racing barber who originally hailed from Danville, Illinois, established himself as an “outlaw” racer, winning from coast-to-coast until notching high-profile victories with USAC, including the CBS-televised Du Quoin Silver Crown in 1976, as well as the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ascot Park in 1976 and the Hut 100 at Terre Haute in 1977.
Bubby reigned victorious at the Western World Championships in 1976 and, one year later, Jones made his one and only start in the Indianapolis 500 in 1977, starting 33rd and finishing 21st for car owner, Bobby Hillin.
Jones made his biggest impact with USAC on the National Sprint Car trail during the late 1970s, winning 22 total feature events. 1979 proved to be his breakout year with the series, winning on 11 occasions in one of the prolific seasons in the history of the division at places like Terre Haute, New Bremen, Eldora and the Indiana State Fairgrounds for car owner Don Siebert, and during one stretch, won four in a row before finishing as the championship runner-up.
At the dawn of the 1980s, Bubby moved west to begin the next chapter of his racing career. Competing with the California Racing Association, Jones piloted the Kazarian’s Gas Chem Products entry. In their first year together, Jones and Kazarian earned nine victories, including his first of four season-ending “Don Peabody Classics.”
By the time he hung up his helmet for good in 1991, Bubby had claimed 80 CRA feature wins (2nd overall), including a record 18 triumphs in 1983 and was a multi-time winner of the Firecracker 50, the Pacific Coast Nationals and the Don Peabody Classic. Bubby stayed active in racing as a crew chief and team manager. He continued to innovate in chassis designs and the development of Surelock shifter. In 1996, Bubby played a part in the construction of Perris Auto Speedway.
Spire Sports + Entertainment will serve as the presenting sponsor of the series. SS+E has been involved in numerous race promotion and marketing efforts for tracks and events on the USAC schedule in recent years.
Founded in 2010, Spire Sports + Entertainment (SS+E) has blossomed into a multi-tiered entity. Since then, SS+E has become a subsidiary of parent organization Spire Holdings, which includes a a diverse sports portfolio, including Spire Motorsports, SS+E, ECHL hockey teams the Rapid City (S.D.) Rush and the Greenville (S.C.) Swamp Rabbits and short track promotions company Track Enterprises.
2023 BUBBY JONES MASTER OF GOIN’ FASTER SCHEDULE:
Apr 29: Devil’s Bowl Speedway | Mesquite, TX
May 6: Eldora Speedway | Rossburg, OH
May 23: Terre Haute Action Track | Terre Haute, IN
Jun 3: Knoxville Raceway | Knoxville, IA
Jun 16: Williams Grove Speedway | Mechanicsburg, PA
Jun 17: Port Royal Speedway | Port Royal, PA
Jul 22: Kokomo Speedway | Kokomo, IN
Jul 28: Bloomington Speedway | Bloomington, IN
Sep 16: Tri-State Speedway | Haubstadt, IN
Oct 7: Lawrenceburg Speedway | Lawrenceburg, IN