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updated: 7/25/2014 1:29 PM

Moving Picture: CPA by day; drag racer after work

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  • Video: Moving Picture: Drag racer

  • Bruce Jones pops a wheelie in his 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt, at the start of a race at the Byron Dragstrip. He went on to win in under 9 seconds.

       Bruce Jones pops a wheelie in his 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt, at the start of a race at the Byron Dragstrip. He went on to win in under 9 seconds.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Staying focused and keeping the car straight is paramount, but Jones says, at this point, "You just have to relax. The minute you tense up is when you mess up."

       Staying focused and keeping the car straight is paramount, but Jones says, at this point, "You just have to relax. The minute you tense up is when you mess up."
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Bruce Jones and his 1964 Ford Thunderbolt Fairlane, one of only 100 built as a dual-purpose show car and racer.

       Bruce Jones and his 1964 Ford Thunderbolt Fairlane, one of only 100 built as a dual-purpose show car and racer.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Jones burns rubber down the quarter-mile track at the Byron Dragway.

       Jones burns rubber down the quarter-mile track at the Byron Dragway.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Bruce Jones gets ready to shift as he flies down the track in under 9 seconds.

       Bruce Jones gets ready to shift as he flies down the track in under 9 seconds.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • A close-up of the car's engine -- a new engine Jones and Hudzik have been testing.

       A close-up of the car's engine -- a new engine Jones and Hudzik have been testing.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Crew chief Dave Hudzik straps Jones into the Fairlane Thunderbolt as they prepare for their first race. At left, Bruce Jones and his 1964 Ford Thunderbolt Fairlane, one of only 100 built as a dual-purpose show car and racer.

       Crew chief Dave Hudzik straps Jones into the Fairlane Thunderbolt as they prepare for their first race. At left, Bruce Jones and his 1964 Ford Thunderbolt Fairlane, one of only 100 built as a dual-purpose show car and racer.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

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 nine 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 race car 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 eight 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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