Levi Jones Announces Retirement
Seven-Time USAC Champion To Pursue Business Interests
INDIANAPOLIS (June 28, 2013) – Levi Jones, one of the most decorated drivers in the history of the United States Auto Club (USAC), is retiring. Jones, a seven-time USAC national champion who earned six of those titles with Tony Stewart Racing (TSR), is ending his driving career effective immediately, and will turn his focus toward his family and working within his family’s business.
“After reevaluating where I am at this point in my life, I’ve made the decision to step away from my career as a professional driver and focus on my family and our business,” Jones said. “Racing has consumed the majority of my life, and while I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to share this with my family, the time has come for my focus to shift to exploring what lies outside of the sport.”
Jones and his family own a handful of Rural King Supply franchises, a chain of farm- and retail-based stores in the Midwest.
“I’ve always been a big supporter of Levi and I fully support him in this decision too,” said Stewart, who captured four USAC national championships early in his career, including the elusive Triple Crown in 1995 when he earned titles in each of USAC’s top divisions – Sprint Car, Midget and Silver Crown. “Levi helped build TSR into the team it is today by earning four USAC Sprint Car championships and two USAC Silver Crown championships. He was an excellent ambassador for Chevrolet Performance and all of our partners. I have no doubt he’ll be just as successful outside of the racecar as he was in it.”
Jones’ Sprint Car titles came in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. He earned back-to-back Silver Crown championships in 2010 and 2011. All but Jones’ 2005 Sprint Car championship came with TSR.
“My decision to end my career wasn’t an easy one, but I’m in a place personally that allows me to do so without being bitter or wondering what might have been,” Jones said. “I’ve had the privilege of winning a lot of big races in my career thanks to the support of great teams filled with a lot of great people.”
Jones is from Olney, Ill., and began racing 410 Sprint Cars in 1998 when he was 16. Now 31, Jones is married and resides with his wife, Heidi, and their children in Swansea, Ill.
Jones expressed gratitude to the fans of Sprint Car racing.
“Sprint Car fans are some of the most loyal race fans you’ll find. I can’t thank them enough for the support and motivation they’ve given me over the past decade-and-a-half. Just being able to drive a Sprint Car was always my dream. Having the opportunity to race in front of so many people and build such a loyal, supportive fan base has truly been one of the best parts of my career. Even those fans that didn’t want me to win or finish well, they’re as loyal as you can get when it comes to Sprint Car racing. It’s those people who will pass our love of the sport on to the next generation.”
Jones joined TSR in 2006 where he piloted the team’s No. 21 USAC Sprint Car entry, finishing second in the national championship. Jones is the only five-time USAC Sprint Car champion. In his 16-year USAC Sprint Car career, he made 393 starts and earned 28 victories, 35 fast-time awards, 157 top-fives and 115 top-10s. Jones also made 74 USAC Silver Crown starts. He won three feature events and scored six fast-time awards and 22 top-fives. His most recent win came May 24 in the prestigious Hoosier Hundred event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Jones also made 120 USAC National Midget Car starts during his career, earning four victories, 24 top-fives and 33 top-10s.
“I’ll never forget the people who made it possible for me to achieve such incredible success,” Jones said. “There were so many people that were involved and helped me along the way – Tony Stewart, Mike Curb, Cary Agajanian, Jeff Walker, Scott Benic, Jack Rogers, USAC, the crew members, my family, team personnel and the fans. I know I had a rare opportunity to be a part of some of the greatest groups and teams in the industry. The sponsors that we’ve worked with along the way – Chevrolet Performance, Bass Pro Shops, STP, Armor All, J.D. Byrider, and many others – have helped make my career a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support over the years. Racing has been part of my life for so long, and it will always be part of my life. I’m looking forward to continuing to share it with my family.”