Do You Really Know Who Jones Racing Products Truly Is?

Ricky Thornton Jr. (Todd Boyd photo)

Ricky Thornton Jr. utilizes Jones Racing Products in his Mullins Racing Engines (Todd Boyd photo)

You see their product decal on the side of countless racecars. You also notice their logos on various parts of race-winning engines throughout the pit area. However, do you really know who Jones Racing Products truly is?

We thought it would be a great idea to dive into just who this company is and what exactly drives their desire to create so many innovative products. The family-owned and operated business was created in the early 1980’s with the objective of producing complete, belt drive kits that would supply teams with all of the parts needed to install their belts and pulleys.“Jones Racing Products has operated with the goal of improving racecar efficiency,” notes the company’s president, CJ Jones. “Over the years that desire to be creative and successful has grown and grown.”

Jones Racing Products knew that the most important factor was to tailor the belt drive kits to the high RPM’s of a racing engine. Understanding that each pump had an optimum speed to produce positive results was key – whether it was a water pump needing reduced speed to keep the water temperature in check or a certain pulley size and speed needing to give drivers a good power steering feel in the corners at a low engine RPM.

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An impressive look at Jones-outfitted Big Block Modified engines at the LJL Kevlar engine shop

“I can honestly say that the core to our company’s success has always been understanding the need for the correct pulley ratios, reliability in all of our products and a focus on customer service,” says Jones. Customer’s on-track results during the 2016 season once again proved that the company is directly meeting all of its goals.

Not only did Jones Racing Products provide race-winning parts for hundreds of drivers, but they were also part of dozens of championships. In fact, the champions of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series, and the United States Modified Touring Series all utilized Jones Racing Products components on their engines. For the top engine builders in the country, it’s become a no-brainer to implement the company’s technology into their engines.

For the past several decades, South Carolina’s Clements Racing Engines has been an industry leader in Dirt Late Model engines. Glen Clements, who is a co-owner of the company, is quick to attribute some of their success to Jones Racing Products.

“We had used parts from Jones Racing Products at various times – when they first got started – but we really began to focus on exclusively using their products, when the serpentine pulley rig came to the forefront with Dirt Late Model engines. A lot of vendors were struggling to produce a dependable pulley system, but Jones just raised the bar. We switched to them exclusively at that point, and there’s been no looking back.”

For Clements, his biggest concerns are both performance and durability for the customer. Jones Racing Products has been able to put these worries to bed. “How an engine holds up at the track is most important. You expect to get 1300-1500 laps on a high-performance engine these days, and how it both performs and survives is crucial. The setup from Jones Racing Products allows us to meet all of these goals. That’s why we only use Jones drive systems on the front of our engines.”

In a world where customer service seems to be a dying breed, Clements also finds great solace in the support he gets from the staff at Jones Racing Products. “So many times I get a customer, who waits to the last minute to order something, and it leaves me calling CJ and putting him on the spot. It’s not his fault that this guy waited until the last minute, but ultimately he’s the one that gets left having to compensate. He never lets me down – whenever I’m in a pinch I know he’s going to take care of me. You can’t put a dollar value on service like that.”

Chris Madden has won dozens of races with Jones Racing Products (Heath Lawson photo)

Chris Madden has won dozens of races with Jones Racing Products (Heath Lawson photo)

Clements definitely doesn’t stand alone in his view of what Jones Racing Products brings to the table. Andy Durham with Durham Racing Engines – who builds the power plants that propelled Scott Bloomquist and Josh Richards to Dirt Late Model national championships in 2016 – exclusively uses Jones Racing Products.

“It’s been a no brainer for me to use Jones Racing Products for my belt and pulley needs,” comments Durham. “Those guys were there with us from the beginning, when Roush Yates was developing the RY45. When I went full-time with my own business in 2013, I continued to use them on all of my engines.” One to always be observant, Durham took note of what he was seeing at the track and in race conditions.

Josh Richards became the first-ever four-time World of Outlaws Late Model Series Champion in 2016.

Josh Richards became the first-ever four-time World of Outlaws Late Model Series Champion in 2016. (Heath Lawson photo)

“I quickly noticed that many of the top engine builders were using Jones products on their engines, and I wasn’t seeing any failures whatsoever. As a result, I knew if I was going to build top-notch engines that I needed to be using their parts.” From pulley drivers to oil pump gears to gear guards and all points in between, Durham takes advantage of all that Jones Racing Products has to offer.

“I can honestly say I’ve never had a single issue with any of their products. Plus, there’s nobody better to work with than those guys because they are going to bend over backwards at all times to do anything and everything to help you out.” Over in the Modified ranks, Jones Racing Products has made a big splash as well. Mullins Racing Engines has long been touted as a pre-eminent engine builder in Dirt Late Models and Modifieds. However, their success in the Modified ranks has been truly undeniable.

Jason Hughes is a two-time USMTS Champion. (Todd Boyd photo)

Jason Hughes is a two-time USMTS Champion. (Todd Boyd photo)

With drivers that include the likes of Jason Hughes, Ryan Gustin, Ricky Thornton Jr., Jeff Taylor, and so many more, Mullins Racing Engines has laid claim to countless wins and championships. Jones Racing Products has been a part of their success for more than a decade. Much like Clements Racing Engines, Mullins Racing Engines really started to take notice of what Jones Racing Products had to offer, when the serpentine drives on the front of the motor became prominent.

“It was around 2003 or so and these serpentine drives on the front of the motors was becoming the new ticket,” recounts Chad Mullins. “There were only a few companies that were attempting to produce the pulley systems, and it quickly became apparent that Jones Racing Products really had a great product.” From that point forward the relationship between Mullins Racing Engines and Jones Racing Products began to grow quickly. Now more than a decade later, the engine builder almost exclusively uses Jones parts.

“Really the only time we don’t use their products is when a customer has something else already in place with their engine program, and that’s not just real often. We tend to focus primarily on products from Jones because the engines definitely run cooler with their systems – sometimes as much as 15-to-20 degrees. In addition, there is no slippage with their belts, which allows racers to run their belts tighter for better performance.”

Mullins concludes by noting, “The technology that goes into their systems is incredibly impressive. The way that they develop pulley and belt systems that automatically have the fan speed and water speed set correctly is a real big deal. We handle so many different types of engines and rules packages that this type of technology is crucial.

“You just can’t beat those guys. They are great people, who go out of their way to meet your exact needs.” The products that Jones Racing Products develops isn’t just inspired from within the walls of their state-of-the-art facility. Rather they are also developed from on-track experience. From driver to crew members to all points in between, Jones Racing Products employees are heavily involved in racing.

CJ Jones with his fiancee Melanie Trimper in Victory Lane.

Jones Racing Products President, CJ Jones with his fiancee Melanie Trimper in Victory Lane.

In fact, CJ Jones has been racing since the early 1990’s. From Go-Karts to Asphalt Modifieds, Northeast Crate Dirt Modifieds and Big Block Modifieds, Jones has raced in a wide array of divisions. This has helped spur his vision for optimizing the performance of racecars.

“Having a staff that lives and breathes racing gives us the edge to develop and produce products that we can all be proud of and very knowledgeable about,” comments Jones. “I know when a racer calls with questions that odds are pretty good we have been in their shoes and will be able to guide them in the right direction. We have always taken a lot of pride in the fact that we are hands on in every aspect from the R&D and machining process to taking calls on the tech lines or helping at the race track.”

Over the course of more than 25 years the company has grown by leaps and bounds. From the confines of a small shop it has catapulted into a full-production facility. Jones Racing Products’ resources at its Pennsylvania location now allow them to have total control over the entire manufacturing process.

From the sawing of the raw bar stock to the precision cutting by CNC lathes and mills the company intricately monitors each step of the manufacturing process to guarantee exact precision in each product. In fact, they even handle the final steps of the laser marking to indicate part numbers and serial numbers. This attentiveness to detail has been a major catalyst in the growth of Jones Racing Products. For CJ Jones though, the growth of the company is overshadowed by the pride that he and all of his staff continue to take in their products.

“It’s true that the company has grown a lot since the beginning – in fact it’s kind of mind blowing when I do think about it. However, honestly I don’t ever really think about that unless somebody brings it up. Instead I think about how after all these years we are more focused than ever on hard work, dedication and long hours to give the customers exactly what they need. To me that’s our proudest accomplishments.”

Hearing from and talking to customers is one of CJ’s favorite aspects of the business. “A lot of people assume because we stay so busy that I don’t have much time to talk, but honestly, I absolutely love talking to racers,” notes CJ. “It’s very gratifying to talk to our great customers and hear how they are doing and what successes they’ve had. Other times they might want to just pick our brain on an idea.

Rick Sweeten Image

Jones Racing is a trusted source for all the belt-driven accessories, like this popular 55-amp alternator kit. (Photo by Rick Sweeten)

“Just a few days ago Jason Covert texts me at 7 a.m. on a Sunday to tell me he won a pair of races over the weekend and to thank me for my products. There’s nothing cooler than receiving news like that.” Indeed, Jones Racing Products is living proof of what can be accomplished through hard work and a relentless vision. Their success and reputation on and off the track is something to hold in high regard.

One thing is for sure. That small decal that you frequently see on cars at the track that says, “Jones Racing Products,” definitely represents much more than most could ever imagine. In fact, it represents drive and determination, and that’s what makes Jones Racing Products proud to be “What Drives You.”

About the author

Ben Shelton

Ben got his start at historic Riverside International Speedway. His accomplished motorsports media career includes journalist, race announcer, and on-air personality.
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