SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — Blake Jones turned 16 years of age last week and made the trip down to the Tennessee Department of Motor Vehicles to get his driver’s license. The Sevier County High School student is now officially licensed and ready to drive – on the highway. But that’s just a formality, because he’s been behind the wheel racing full-bodied stock cars since he first became a teenager.
Winning races is nothing new for Jones, as he captured Tennessee State and World Karting Association titles racing go-karts, along with INEX-sanctioned Bandolero Bandit and Legend championships, before making the move up to wheeling a Late Model.
Jones made his Late Model debut one to be remembered, as he not only recorded Rookie-of-the-Year honors at Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Va., but also captured the track championship on strength of five feature wins and 16 top-five finishes. He also competed part-time in the Charger division, where he parked in victory lane on three occasions. When all was said and done, the 13-year-old Jones wrote his name in the LPR record book as the youngest driver to ever win a Late Model track title.
So it goes without saying, Jones brings impressive credentials along for his new ride with Monteith Racing in 2013, where he will be chauffeuring the two-time defending Kingsport Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship-winning ride at “The Concrete Jungle.”
With a total of four championships at both Kingsport Speedway and Lonesome Pine Raceway (two at each track), along with 67 career Late Model feature wins, veteran racer Nate Monteith has decided to step away from the driver’s seat and assume the role of car-owner for the 2013 racing season.
“When you look at what we accomplished the past two seasons at Kingsport Speedway, winning 10 races each year and capturing track titles and also the Tennessee State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championships, our record speaks for itself as to what kind of operation Monteith Racing is,” said the 31-year-old Monteith. “I’m a racer, that’s the bottom line. I began racing go-karts when I was a kid before moving up to running a Late Model as a teenager. I know I’m going to have mixed feelings at the first race of the season when I look out at the field of cars lined up and I’m in the pits with a radio headset on instead of sitting behind the wheel.
“But following the birth of my son last year, I’m now also a family man and I’m seeing things in a different view. I’m looking ahead to the future of my family, and therefore I began a new auto and truck sales business (Lightning Auto Sales, located on Hwy. 11-E in Piney Flats) last fall. I need to concentrate on getting the business venture really established to the point I envision it to hopefully become. I just felt the time was right for me to step away from the driving aspect and find a talented driver to put in the seat of the Monteith Racing Chevrolet.”
And the hand-picked talented driver for Monteith Racing in 2013 is Jones, who Monteith served as racing mentor over the past couple of seasons. Also stepping to the plate to call the shots for young Jones will be crew chief Wade Day, a very highly respected individual in the motorsports industry. Day’s accomplishments behind the wheel of a race car include an International Sport Compact Auto Racing Series championship along with two NASCAR Weekly Racing Series regional titles. Day also guided the move for Jones from Legend car racing into Late Model competition, so there’s good chemistry already established between Day and Jones.
With a strong finish to end the 2012 season which saw him run a partial schedule at Kingsport Speedway while also making starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Rev-Oil Pro Cup Series and United Auto Racing Association-Southern Touring Asphalt Racing Series, Jones cannot wait for the first green flag of the 2013 racing season to wave. He’s looking to win races and also capture his first-ever NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock championship at Kingsport Speedway.
Jones wrapped up 2012 with a couple of top-five finishes at prestigious events in North Carolina. He recorded a fourth-place finish last November in the season-finale event for the UARA-STARS at Rockingham Speedway competing in The Classic 3 Championship presented by Richard Childress Racing Museum, then followed that up with a strong runner-up showing at Southern National Motorsports Park, located in Lucama, in the Thanksgiving All-Star Classic. The second-place run for Jones came after he was a last-minute substitute driver called upon by Fat Head Racing and Hedgecock Racing Enterprises to fill the duties for their sick driver. Jones had never laid eyes on the SNMP venue, but he charged his way to the front after starting the event shotgun (35th) on the field.
“I guess it goes without saying, I’m going to be driving a car that’s definitely a proven race- and also championship-winning ride,” said a smiling Jones while thinking about what lies ahead this season driving for Monteith Racing. “Over the last couple of seasons I’ve learned a lot about racing from watching Nate (Monteith) and how he gets around Kingsport Speedway. Not just Nate, but also my crew chief Wade Day, he’s won a lot of races in the past at Kingsport and also has a track championship to his credit. So having both of them in my corner with all of their experience, I really feel 2013 is going to be the best season to date in my racing career. Besides Nate and Wade heading up the operation, my car chief will be Duke Bare, while my longtime spotter, Jeremy Hughes, will handle duties talking to me over the radio. All the crew guys on the team will be back that were on the pit crew for Monteith Racing last year.
“I’ve just got to get up on the wheel and drive the car each week the way I know I’m capable, and by doing that we’ll be in contention to accomplish our goals of winning races and also contending for the track championship. I’m really looking forward to getting the season started. Driving for my family owned Teddy Jones Racing team over the last two years I had some good battles on the track with Nate, and I really learned just what it takes to become a champion from watching him and how he gets around Kingsport Speedway. Now it’s all up to me to show what I can do in the Monteith Racing equipment, because I know every week when we come to the track that I’ll be in the hunt to take the checkered flag. And that’s what it’s all about – running up front and winning races.”
The season-opener at Kingsport Speedway is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, March 9, and week-in and week-out expect to see stellar car counts representing the Volunteer State, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia competing at the .375-mile banked concrete oval.
Jones will get his 2013 season started in the month of February down in the Sunshine State by competing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model portion of the UNOH Battle at the Beach at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Feb. 18-19.
To learn more about Blake Jones, visit his website atwww.BlakeJonesRacing.com … or contact Teddy Jones at (865) 388-2795 for possible sponsor and marketing partnerships with the race team. You can follow Blake Jones on social media via Twitter @80BlakeJones and on Facebook at Blake Jones Racing.
Press Release Prepared By:
Walden Motorsports Communications
Johnson City, TN