It was almost a great weekend for Parnelli Jones. The oldest living Indianapolis 500 winner got to watch his oldest grandson, Jagger, win his first major stock car race on the internet and then found out his youngest, Jace, had gone from last-to-first only to be spun out in his stock car outing.
“Those kids just keep getting better,” said the 86-year-old racing legend from his home in L.A. “I knew it was just a matter of time before Jagger won at this level because he’s worked hard to improve his skills. And Jace is only 14 but really quick and hell, I never even started racing until I was 18. They’re making Grandpa real proud.”
In his initial season of running the K & N series, Jagger (pictured above) scored his initial victory last Saturday night in Roseville, Calif. A week after being spun out of the lead on the next-to-last lap at Meridian, Idaho, the 17-year-old closed the deal on the paved, half-mile oval.
“Jagger has been close a couple times and got wrecked the week before while up front, so he deserved it,” said P.J. Jones, father of those third generation Jones boys. “He’s quick but very patient and not too emotional — I get on him sometimes for not being more aggressive but it’s served him well. He’s developed his own style and it’s working.”
Jagger’s effort is sponsored by Method Race Wheels, the XYO Network and Whipple Superchargers but his biggest booster is seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson.
“Jimmie called me and said he wasn’t helping anyone so he wanted to help Jagger.” continued P.J., the former IndyCar and IMSA driver who became pals with J.J. during his NASCAR days. “Jimmie has opened some opportunities for Jagger and gives him good advice. He’s that guy in our back pocket, if we need contacts or advice, and he tries to open up some doors. It’s really cool of Jimmie to do that.”.
While Jagger will likely spend 2020 in K & N running short tracks (he’s not allowed to run larger speedways until he turns 18 next July), his younger brother has been a terror in NASCAR late models.
“Jace has won five times already this year and it seems like he’s got quick time every week,” said his father. “He was on the pole at Las Vegas, got a flat tire, fell three laps behind, then stormed back to the lead only to get taken out on the last lap, but he’s a fast learner.
“I try to get to as many of their races as possible but it’s not easy because they’re always at different tracks. But they’ve obviously got talent and they love it, so we’ll see what happens.”