In the Pits with Tanner Jones
We sat down with Tanner Jones, driver of the 22jr and 77 for Team 510 and Bellboy Motorsports, before his journey to Fayetteville, North Carolina for the 2023 Legend Car Dirt Nationals. A Glen Gardener, New Jersey native, Jones has a passion for fishing and a racing legacy from his dad, Tanner's racing journey began at the age of nine, progressing swiftly from go-karts to Slingshots and eventually to Legend Cars. He values the consistency racing teaches, acknowledging the edge it keeps him on. Tanner's divided between asphalt and dirt tracks, enjoying the precision of asphalt and the fun of dirt racing. His racing philosophy center on adaptability and acceptance of the unpredictable nature of the sport. This past weekend, he finished fifth in the Semi-Pro Dirt Nationals Championship Feature and has his sights on moving to late models in 2024.
Hometown: Glen Gardener, New Jersey
Number: 22jr and 77
Team: Team 510 and Bellboy Motorsports
Favorite Hobby: Fishing
1. What do you love most about living in New Jersey?
The four seasons are always really nice. We used to get a lot but now it’s just two inches of slush.
2. Do you have any pets?
I have a little toy poodle. She is about a foot tall and a foot long.
3. What is your favorite thing to do outside of racing?
We do a lot of fishing. If we didn't race, we'd be full-time fishing. My great-grandfather was very well known in Montauk, New York at the very end of Long Island. He was a very well-known fisherman there.
4. How old were you when you started racing?
I was nine.
5. How did you get into racing?
My dad raced a lot at a speedway that eventually closed down but after he stopped he put all his effort and money into me. We started with go-karts, then moved onto Slingshots and stayed in those for about 5-6 years, my dad was good with moving me up right away and never letting me get used to one thing.
6. If you could have a conversation with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
I would say Dale Earnhardt.
7. What is one thing that racing has taught you in your everyday life?
Smooth and consistent is always gonna win.
8. What is your favorite track that you've ever raced at so far?
Asphalt, it would have to be Wall Stadium without a doubt. That track is unlike anything else. For dirt, I'd have to say either Clinton County or Big Diamond.
9. Do you only do asphalt and dirt or do you do road courses as well?
We don't really run road courses much, but I would love to do it.
10. Do you like asphalt or dirt better?
I hear this question a lot. I can't decide, but I will say that dirt is more fun, but asphalt takes a lot more precision.
11. If you could give any advice to any new drivers, what would you tell them?
Stuff is gonna happen, that's just part of it.
12. What do you find most enjoyable about racing?
The setup point of it, you're either right or you're wrong. It always keeps you on edge.
13. How did you pick 22 and 77J?
The 77 was just on Austin's (Bellemare) car. My dad's number was originally 22 and I think it was the last two numbers on grandfather's badge number too.
14. Is there anything you're looking forward to about coming to North Carolina for Dirt Nationals?
The barbeque. I just love it down there, it's a whole different world.
15. What are your plans for the 2024 season?
Our original plan was to buy a late model and run them next year, but now we gotta have a talk at the end of the year and kind of figure out what we're doing. I would love to drive a late model. So that's the plan.