Working on cars isn’t a drag for Jones

By BEVERLY CASTEEL,

Chris Jones of Kosciusko has been building his own cars since he was 16.

Jones gives his father credit for the interest which has now brought the local man some positive attention.

“My dad had a salvage yard, and I got interested in building cars early on,” Jones said. “I didn’t have the cash to pay for cars, so I learned on my own.” 

Jones now owns his own salvage yard, and uses it to help him find vehicles to restore.

He was recently featured in Dragzine magazine for his 2002 white Ford Explorer, comically named “O. J. Simpson.”

At a race in Byhalia, Jones stood the hot rod up in the air for 350 feet.

According to Dragzine, Jones “immediately won over the packed house of spectators with a wild double wheelstand unlike anything O.J. did on the L. A. freeway” in Al Cowlings’ infamous white Bronco.

To his surprise, the video of the race was put on YouTube, and it had over 660,000 views overnight.

“I was blown away,” said Jones.

The next thing he knew, Dragzine had left a message for him to call.

“Dragzine doesn’t always feature regular people who aren’t pros, so I was thrilled,” said.

About “O. J. Simpson,” Jones said the name preceded the vehicle.

“I came up with the name before I even bought the truck. I wanted to find a white vehicle, a newer model two-door Explorer,” he told Dragzine. He found one in Memphis, purchased it for $800, and started working on it. Although a lot of people told him that it would not work, Jones stuck with his plan.

Jones has also drawn the attention of the “Memphis 10” with a 1981 F100 named “Cornbread,” a truck he eventually sold to turn his attention to building “O.J. Simpson.” Jones and the Memphis 10 have been featured on the Discovery channel program “Street Outlaw: Memphis.”

“There are so many cameras in your face, and I had a mike on my shirt collar and in my pocket. It was a great experience,” said Jones.

As a part of the Memphis 10, Jones races every week. But he is most excited about an upcoming race in Noble, Oklahoma, called “Armageddon.”

“Armageddon is the biggest race in the world and is invitation only,” Jones said. He and the Memphis 10 will travel there Aug. 7 and 8, and he is hoping that the race may even lead to sponsorship.

“I’ve had sponsors on a few things, like brakes, but most of it I pay out of pocket. It would be great to get some sponsors,” said Jones. 

With or without sponsors, Jones is determined to keep going. It is that determination that got him to where he is today, he believes.

“Don’t detour because someone is saying this or saying that, and look how good it turned out,” Jones told Dragzine.