By Eric Butler
CLOVIS — His first rule is nothing gets in the way of family, that’s why Memorial Day weekend will be filled with racing for the Clovis-based Curt Jones Racing team at the Texas Nationals for IMCA-modified cars.
Jones, driver Roger Dial and crew chief Art Ferro will make their way to the Kennedale Speedway Park near Fort Worth today for testing and practice runs on the track.
If all goes well, Dial will be competing with 200 other cars on Saturday in heats. Then, if that goes really well, the Clovis team will vie for $10,000 in first-place prize money on Sunday.
“As the team owner, (Jones) makes the call when we race, where we race,” said Dial, a Clovis police officer. “As long as our families, and work, permits.
“Curt’s always made it a family affair and if it’s going to interfere with anybody’s family, we’ll park the car,” Dial said. “He’s been wonderful to drive for because he’s flexible and he doesn’t scrimp on anything. I always joke with him that he’s really put my driving skills to the test, because he’s given us first-class equipment for everything.”
Dial is also quick to credit Jones’ wife, Jinda, co-owner of the team, with making trips like this possible.
While this weekend is a big event, Jones said he’s not too particular about where his cars run — as long as it’s somewhere.
“We race here in Clovis, Amarillo, Lubbock, Las Cruces — Eunice, New Mexico,” said Jones, 67 who grew up in Orlando, Fla., and retired from the Air Force in 1978. “We’re going into our fourth year. A race like this, we’re going to have people from all over the nation.”
According to Ferro, the racing at Kennedale this weekend will be somewhat similar to Clovis in one respect — the three-eighths of a mile track is the same length.
Everything else — like the routine to get ready for races — is likely to be different than a run at the hometown raceway.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is that, right when we get there, we’ve got to get the car set up, get our gear together, make some decisions — like on the tires, so we can get qualified,” Ferro says. “Then we run the car for five or six laps, then bring it back in and make some more adjustments.”
So, while the rest of the country has cookouts and enjoys watching events like the Indianapolis 500 on television, the Clovis crew will be doing one thing.
“Racing, that’s it,” Ferro said.