Updated: Oct 9
RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 7, 2022 /Wake County Speedway/ —
North Carolina has a new State Champion in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series and his home track is Wake County Speedway.
Clay Jones, driver of the Goldsboro Homes/Big Boy's Travel Center no. 15 Chevrolet, (nicknamed "The Blue Goose"), took eight wins at America's Favorite Bullring during the 2022 campaign, along with six P2 finishes, and one P3 to secure his new title.
Finishing consistently against some of the toughest Late Model Stock competition in the State and Southeast, through seventeen starts, was enough to give Jones a total of 400 points by season's end on September 16th. Jones finished 4 points ahead of the Bowman Gray Stadium Racing Track Champion, Tim Brown (an open-wheel modified driver), who finished the season at his Winston-Salem home track with 396 points.
In fact, out of the eight times, Jones visited the LeithCars.com Victory Lane in 2022 at Wake County Speedway, three of those victories were accomplished after beating the eventual 2022 NAAPWS National Champion, Layne Riggs. One of Clay's second-place finishes came while Riggs visited Victory Lane, so in other words, Jones had to beat the best to be the best in the State.
There was plenty of added drama for Jones going into the final race of the 2022 season at Wake County too. Jones (in his Late Model Stock Car) trailed Brown by just 8 points prior to the final regular season race. Brown's season had already ended on August 20th with no other North Carolina tracks holding Open-Wheel Modified races. Brown had no hope of earning any more points to pad his slim lead unless he could pick up a Late Model car to drive at another track, but this rumor was not to be.
Not only did Jones win the Track Championship at Wake County Speedway on September 16th, but he also won the final race too, edging out a strong run by a rival, Tyler Matthews, a veteran of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Camping World Truck Series, and Whelen All American Series. Matthews led nearly the entire 60-lap race until Jones made a daring pass going into Turn 3 on the final lap, to take the checkers!
Nothing is official of course until the folks in Daytona say it is. So the Busting Ours to Kick Yours Motorsports team, along with speedway officials, fans, and family members waited...and waited...and waited, for the official word.
The delay in announcing the final official points standings actually stemmed from a challenge made by the defending National Points Champion who was second to Riggs in National Points this season. The challenge affected races competed in by Layne Riggs (which included his eight starts at Wake County from June 10th through September 9th).
Days turned into weeks of waiting until finally, late in the afternoon on Wednesday, October 5th, the racing-reference website (where official points records and driver info is tallied by NASCAR) was updated, showing Clay Jones as the Division 1 State Champion of North Carolina.
Track photography by Bryan Regan and Camel Hurse.