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Jones Inducted into Thunder Bay Sports Hall of Fame

John Jones   Lake Superior News
#LSN_Sports  John Jones Driving  Indy car in the CART series 1988 rookie of the year

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  -  October 6, 2017  (LSN)  In recognition of his career, local racer John Jones was inducted into the NWO Sports Hall of Fame on Sept 30th. Putting Thunder Bay on the map, as one of less than two dozen Canadians to race in the Indianapolis 500, the fabled 24 Hours of Lemans in France, youngest IMSA  champion, Jones was a well deserving inductee in the class of 2017.

John Jones would actually do little racing locally but would have quite a career in racing, he would go from racing go-carts in the K-Mart parking lot to bigger and better things, making his way to auto racing‘s crown jewel, the Indianapolis 500, and the famed 24 Hours of Lemans in France. John started racing, not on the dirt tracks in Thunder Bay but racing on the ice in winter along side his dad Tom and brother Parnelli in the early 1980's. 

 


John Jones receiving plaque from Dave Siciliano    Lake Superior News
John Jones reives plaque form Dave Siciliano


 

Jeff Caldwell with John Jones
Jeff caldwell with John Joes Jeff is the one how put Johns name forward.
 

In 1982 John won the fiercely competitive Mid-Canada Series, then switched to a F2000 car. In 1983 he started racing in the Canadian Formula Ford 2000 series for 2 litre cars and left his mark that year, convincingly capturing the Walter Wolf and Canadian Tire championships in both '83 and '84. In 1985 Jones would move to the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) to compete ,driving a Mustang for legendary car owner Jack Roush, partially sponsored by Ford. Jones captured the GTO class in 1985, and became the youngest champion in North America road racing history. A highlight of that season, driving with Wally Dallenbach Jr and Doc Bundy, Jones won the GTO class at the 24 Hours of Daytona, in Florida. 

In recognition of his season in 1985 John Jones was named to the, American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association’s “All American Team” that included, team mate Wally Dallenbach, and racing legends Al Unser, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, and Steve Kinser. In 1986 Jones would compete in the F-3000 series in Europe and improved through the season to become one of the main contenders in the series. Jones had top finishes of 6th & 7th place and finished 21st in points in the eleven race series, as a rookie driving a Ford/Cosworth powered March for Onyx Racing. 


Superior Morning with Lisa Laco   Lake superior News

CBC Radio Interview  Superior Morning with Lisa Laco talking to  John Jones 

John returned to F-3000 again in 1987 driving a Ford/Cosworth powered Lola for Lola Motorsports. He posted a season high second place finish in June at Pau in France and with his consistently high qualifying positions drew the attention from several Formula One teams. Jones finished the 1987 season 11th in points finishing in the top ten in all but three of the eleven races. In 1988 

John would move on to the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) Indy Car series in the Frank Arciero owned March 88-C Though he did not qualify for that years Indy 500,John would have eleven top 10 finishes, 4 times finishing in seventh place to take him to a season ending 11th position in the points and CART Indy Car Series Rookie of the year honours. John would switch to the Protofab team in 1989 with major sponsorship coming from Labatts and he would qualify for the Indy 500, finishing 11th after a 25th place start. 

John Jones returned to F-3000 in 1990 driving Mugen/Honda powered Lola for Paul Stewart Racing, the son of the legendary Jackie Stewart. Jones started the season with 3rd & 4th place finishes but with mechanical failures in five of the eleven races Jones finished twelfth for the season, beating future Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill. John Jones raced in the Indy cars for parts of the 1991 & 92 seasons, and raced 6 races in the PPG / Firestone Indy Lights in 1997. Through the early 1990’s Jones also raced in Sports cars and Prototypes, at famed race tracks in Daytona & Sebring Florida, Laguna Seca, and the Famed 24 Hours of Lemans in France in 1995.

 

Races entered: 90
Wins : 11
Podiums : 3
Pole Positions : 1
Race Win Percentage : 8.89 %
Racing career highlights
IMSA Camel GTO champion 1985.Canadian Formula Ford 2000 champion 1984.Canadian Formula Ford 2000 champion 1983.Canadian Run-Off winner in the Formula 2000 class 1983.
Racing career summary
1997 6 races. 0 wins. 0 podiums. 0 pole positions. 0 fastest race laps.
1992 4 races. 0 wins. 0 podiums. 0 pole positions. 0 fastest race laps.
1991 10 races. 0 wins. 0 podiums. 0 pole positions. 0 fastest race laps.
1990 8 races. 0 wins. 1 podium. 0 pole positions. 0 fastest race laps.
1989 14 races. 0 wins. 0 podiums. 0 pole positions. 0 fastest race laps.
1988 14 races. 0 wins. 0 podiums. 0 pole positions. 0 fastest race laps.
1987 11 races. 0 wins. 1 podium. 1 pole position. 0 fastest race laps.
1986 9 races. 0 wins. 0 podiums. 0 pole positions. 0 fastest race laps.
1985 1 race. 0 wins. 0 podiums. 0 pole positions. ? fastest race laps.
1984 ? races. 3 wins. ? podiums. ? pole positions. ? fastest race laps.
1983 13 races. 8 wins. 1 podium. ? pole positions. ? fastest race laps.

Story by Jeff CaldwellSave
Contributor to Lake Superior News