NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Conner Jones will take his first step onto the national motorsports stage with his debut ARCA Menards Series East appearance on May 8 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
The Fredericksburg, Va., teenager will drive for GMS Racing during the Crosley Record Pressing 200 presented by Action 24/7 at the historic .596-mile oval near downtown Nashville.
Jones is running the full CARS Late Model Stock Tour schedule this year and is looking forward to making the jump to an ARCA-style car from the late model stock cars he’s gotten used to running this season.
“It’s definitely going to be the biggest stage I’ve been on,” Jones told SPEED SPORT. “Before this, probably the biggest stage I’ve raced on is the New Smyrna World Series in the pro late models, but it’s exciting to have this chance and I’m thankful to GMS, my dad and all the guys that helped me get ready for this. I think we have a great opportunity to show what we can do next weekend.”
Jones tipped that the ARCA East deal came together within the last week with the Maury Gallagher-owned GMS organization, which also competes regularly in the national ARCA Menards Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“It happened Monday morning, actually,” he explained. “They lined it up Monday morning and I got a last-minute call from my dad to come down and get fitted for the ARCA car for Nashville. We’d been talking about it for a while, but we weren’t going to say anything until it was absolutely 100 percent a done deal. Like I said before, I’m really looking forward to this. It’s a cool thing to be able to do.”
As of now, Jones’ deal with GMS is a one-off opportunity, so he’s looking to make the most of his shot.
“Right now, it’s a one-race deal to see how I do in the ARCA car at Nashville,” Jones said. “The CARS Tour is still our focus this year, and we’ll go on after this and hope to make up some points on that side.”
Jones will have some on-track laps the day before the Nashville ARCA East race, but it won’t be at the same track, as he’ll compete the night before at North Carolina’s Ace Speedway with the CARS Tour before hauling to Tennessee on Saturday for the pinnacle start of his weekend.
“It’ll be a long two days, but that’s what we do, right?” Jones said with a laugh. “I’ll race anytime I can, and especially with an opportunity like this with GMS, it’s worth it.”
Jones, who said he’s watched online video of past races at Nashville to prepare himself for next weekend, as well as “dabbled” on iRacing with the track, is keeping his expectations high despite coming into the 200-lap ARCA East race as a rookie to the bigger machines.
“I really believe a top three, I’d say, would be a good day for me,” Jones noted. “I’d be happy with that and I know this team has the equipment to race for a win. Realistically, I’d be happy with a top three.”
The Crosley Record Pressing 200 presented by Action 24/7 is slated for a 9 p.m. ET start on May 8, with live streaming coverage through TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
The race will also air tape delayed on NBCSN, with that broadcast scheduled for May 14 at 3 p.m. ET.