Jagger Jones honors legendary grandfather with VP Racing Challenge victory

Jagger Jones knew that there was only one way to honor his legendary grandfather. He did so by winning Saturday’s IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge race in dominant fashion, much the way the great Parnelli Jones did so many times in a stellar career.

In his first race since Parnelli Jones died Tuesday at age 90, Jagger Jones led from the drop of the green flag in the 45-minute sprint, taking the checkered flag in the No. 87 FastMD Racing with Remstar Duqueine D08 by 7.567s. The victory was the third straight for Jagger Jones in the VP Racing Challenge, following a weekend sweep at St. Petersburg in March.

“Obviously, he lived a great, great career and a long life — more than most of the people he raced against in his day and era,” Jagger said of his grandfather, regarded as one of the most versatile racers ever who won in Indy cars, stock cars, dirt cars, sports cars and off-road vehicles. “So many accomplishments and it’s cool to be able to follow in his footsteps but also create my own path. It’s unfortunate to lose him but he was riding with us with the stickers (on the car). It’s cool to win on the same week.”


Steven Aghakhani (No. 6 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P320) finished second overall and in the Le Mans Prototype 3 (P3) class, with Miguel Villagomez (No. 23 Escuderia ABRO Ligier) placing third. Aghakhani unofficially extended his points lead to 310 over Villagomez. With the win, Jones jumped from seventh to fourth in the P3 standings, but because he missed the opening doubleheader round at Daytona International Speedway, still trails Aghakhani by 440 points.

Fittingly, Jones’ triumph on Saturday came 54 years and a day after his grandfather won a Trans-Am race at the same Mid-Ohio circuit. It’s a fact the 21-year-old was unaware of but pleased to learn.

“I did not know that but I like it!” Jagger said. “And maybe tomorrow there will be another win for the Jones family here.”

Mars capitalizes to win third GSX race of season

Luca Mars started third Saturday in the GSX class for GT4 spec cars but benefitted from a coming together of the cars ahead and a drive-through penalty for the polesitter to cruise to the GSX victory in the No. 59 KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4. It’s also Mars’ third win of the season following his sweep of the opening round at Daytona International Speedway in January.

Polesitter Jesse Lazare (No. 21 Motorsports In Action McLaren Artura GT4) and second-place starter Josh Green (No. 78 Thaze Competition Mercedes-AMG GT GT4) made light contact with each other on the opening lap, allowing Mars to slip past Green into second place.

Soon after, Lazare was ordered to make the pit-lane drive-through for lining up in the wrong lane at the start. That opened the door for Mars to take the lead, which he took to the finish, 5.606s ahead of Green. Lazare charged from seventh in class after the penalty to snare the final podium position.

“It’s not a long race out there but it’s really hot, so it’s a battle of who can save the tires, who can stay in front the longest,” Mars said. “I got kind of lucky there at the start. Josh and Jesse had a little incident, let me come into second, then Jesse had to serve that penalty. From then on, I was just managing a gap. I was glad I was able to hold on.”

Race 2 of the Mid-Ohio weekend streams live on Peacock starting at 9:40 a.m. ET Sunday.


Story originally appeared on Racer