Buckshot Jones recalls when David Pearson ‘scared the hell out of me’ at Darlington
To paraphrase an old cowboy line, the man with one of the most colorful nicknames in sports rides again this weekend.
As part of Darlington Raceway’s annual throwback weekend, former NASCAR driver Buckshot Jones will be honored by Xfinity Series driver Cole Custer and Stewart-Haas Racing in Saturday’s Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 (4 p.m. ET on NBC).
Custer’s No. 00 Ford Mustang will carry a paint scheme that pays homage to Jones’ 1997 Xfinity Series car, celebrating Jones’ best season in NASCAR racing, when he finished seventh in the final standings.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Jones said of the paint scheme to NBC Sports. “I’ve been out of racing for a while now. For Cole, he’s been having a great year with five wins. It is pretty neat.
“It’ll be good to go back. I haven’t been in the pits since I got out of racing. It’ll be pretty interesting.”
Jones, whose real first name is Roy, made 56 career starts in the Cup Series from 1997 through 2003, with a career best of eighth at Dover in 1998. He also made 147 Xfinity Series starts from 1993 through 2004, including two wins: 1996 at Milwaukee and 1998 at New Hampshire.
Now 49, Jones is a successful real estate developer in both the Atlanta and Greenville, South Carolina areas. Although he rarely goes to races in-person anymore, Jones is still a NASCAR fan, watching mainly on TV.
Looking back on his racing career, he admits to just one regret.
“I wish I would have gotten into racing a lot sooner,” Jones said. “I never did any type racing until 1990. Every time we’d get competitive, we moved up a class. I would say the biggest thing I wish I could go back on is maybe having a little bit more patience, being so new with the racing and I’d not been racing for many years, whereas other people had been racing all their lives.
“I would have liked to have stayed in racing a couple more years and then retire. I always said that my son, he was born in 2001, when he turned 5 or 6, I wouldn’t care where I was at in racing, I was going to be done. If he was going to play sports like T-ball or stuff like that, I wasn’t going to miss any of it.”
Jones is looking forward to being at Darlington this weekend to not only cheer Custer on, but also to see many old friends from his racing days. The “Lady In Black” holds a special place in Jones’ heart, although he admits his first time there was a frightening experience.
“I will always remember the first time I went to Darlington,” Jones said. “I’d seen it on TV. Ricky Pearson, who was one of David’s sons, was my crew chief. David went with us for the first test at Darlington. He took us out for a ride in a van around the track and we went around for probably three laps.
“After that, he turned to me and said, ‘You got what I’m saying? Do you understand where the (racing) line’s at?’ I looked at him and said, ‘Hell no, you scared the hell out of me the whole time.’ He took that van and that side mirror had to be an inch away from hitting the fence. He scared me to death.
“When he took me back out and would tell me stuff and watch me when I’d get out there in the car and he’d tell me what to do, and I’d do exactly what he said and when I did, it made it so much easier. That’s my big remembrance of Darlington, him scaring me to death. He told me, ‘You don’t race the other cars, you race the racetrack.’”
Here’s the paint scheme of Jones’ old car that Custer will drive this weekend: