Jones Gets Another Shot

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HAMPTON, Ga. - Buckshot Jones is getting a second opportunity at the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

Only this time, it’s with an established team, and Jones said he feels a bit more comfortable about his chances for making it at NASCAR’s highest level.

And why not? He’ll be driving for the legendary Petty Enterprises, and he’ll have a known entity backing him financially. On Friday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the No. 44 Georgia-Pacific car was officially unveiled as the sponsor of the No. 44 Petty Enterprises Dodge, beginning in 2001.

Jones, who was hired a couple of months ago to drive the No. 44 car next season for the Pettys, has 16 previous Winston Cup starts behind him between 1997 and 1999. In 1999, Jones began the season as a full-time driver for his father, Billy, but made only 10 starts without major sponsorship before heading back to the NASCAR Busch Series.

"I always said if I was going to go back to Winston Cup, then I wanted to do it with a veteran team, and it was basically a no-brainer going with the Pettys," Jones said at a press conference in the infield media center at AMS Friday. "Who wouldn’t want to drive for Richard Petty and this team?

"I love working with this family and we’ve got a terrific sponsor coming on board with us in Georgia-Pacific. I’m a native of Georgia, so I guess that works in well together with what we’re trying to do. We’re looking forward to a great year next year."

Petty Enterprises will field three cars in the Winston Cup Series next season. Jones will drive the 44 car, while John Andretti will drive the No. 43 Dodge and Kyle Petty the No. 45 Dodge.

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