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CPA by day, drag racer after work

Published: Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(AP Photo/Daily Herald, Mark Welsh)
Crew chief Dave Hudzik of Lombard straps Bruce Jones of Elmhurst into a Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt as they prepare for their first race at the Byron Dragway, hoping to get a time better than 9 seconds with an engine they have been testing. Jones is a CPA by day who caught the racing bug about 8 years ago.

ELMHURST (AP) – Drag racing, says Bruce Jones, is like being shot out of a cannon.

Jones, a CPA whose day job is a managing partner at Porte Brown in Elk Grove Village, says it’s all about the adrenaline.

“I love drag racing because of the rush that you get,” he says, “an instant rush that’s over in under 9 seconds.”

On this day at the Byron Dragstrip, Jones pushed his 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt to 8,000 rpm with a top speed of 150 mph. Burning rubber and popping wheelies on the quarter-mile track at the Byron Dragway are part of the thrill.

“Accounting and racing cars are completely different pursuits, although they do share some of the same characteristics,” Jones says. “Both require long hours and a commitment to improve.”

Shifting through the four-speed, 960 horsepower engine, Jones’ objective is to keep the car straight as it grabs the track. He makes sure it doesn’t fishtail, which can lead to a serious rollover accident.

“There is no greater feeling than getting behind the wheel of a racecar flying down the track after a long day at work.”

As a kid, Jones and his dad would visit the U.S. 30 racetrack in Indiana in their 1969 GTO.

At age 25, Jones made his job and family his top priority, but 8 years ago the racing bug bit him again. He bought his first motorcycle and a 1961 Corvette.

Then, by chance at an auction, he fell in love. The object of his adoration was the 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt – only 100 cars were made as both a show car and street legal drag car.

He admits that people find his hobby unusual.

“The reaction I get is, ‘wow’,” he said. “People think it’s just too beautiful of a car to spread its wings and fly. Jaws drop when they see the results.”

Jones, who lives in Elmhurst, credits his driving skills and safety record to expert advice from his crew chief, Dave Hudzik of Lombard.

“The reward of drag racing is to take the car down the track successfully and be completely consistent,” Jones said.

In his retirement, he hopes to do this full-time.

“I’d like to get a bus or a motor home, pull the car out west and have some fun.”

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