Jones Builds Momentum in Chicago
JOLIET, Illinois — On the edge of the playoffs, Brandon Jones entered this weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway needing a good run to give some breathing room between himself and the cutoff.
After an eventful day, Jones was able to provide just that, capturing a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s Camping World 300.
The 22-year-old was a constant threat in the top-five all day, but did have to face adversity just past halfway when he received a penalty on pit road for speeding. Despite that though, Jones was able to rally in quick fashion.
“Yeah, I think we were two spots shy of what we really were capable of today,” Jones told POPULAR SPEED. “Kind of got behind that pit road penalty some. Got out of the box, looked down, I was way over my mark, so I knew it was coming. I told them just be ready for it. All in all, we fought back. We had plenty of laps. I wish we may have had one more stop. I think that would have really got us back in the hunt pretty good there. But all in all, man, that was a great day for us. Really what we needed to do. Finished great in both stages there and have a top five at the end of the day.”
He also believes that his experience from running the NASCAR Ganders Outdoor Truck Series race the night before behind the wheel of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota helped learn in preparation for Saturday.
“It helped me for sure run on the top side,” Jones said. “I figured that out in the truck race what I was doing there, kind of straddling that top seam and then moving all four tires above it. I used that for the Xfinity car and it seemed to help today.
After the up and down season he has had, the top-five puts them in solid shape moving forward; however, the No. 19 team is still looking for more.
“I still want wins,” Jones said. “I feel like that this car was capable of running to compete for the win there today, and we just got to keep plugging along.”
His second top-10 in the last three races allowed him to move from 12th to 11th in the standings and is now 117 points ahead of the cutoff.
“It’s momentum. It’s confidence for the guys. It’s morale for them to go back to the shop, and I know they want to work for me as much as they can, but when we have good finishes, it’s kind of a bonus,” Jones said. “It’s kind of like, we can kick in the butt to try to get to that first position. So, we’re close. This is how we started at the beginning of the year. Nothing really happened except for that pit road penalty today, and that’s what we’ve got to do, minimize mistakes.”
Looking ahead, the Georgia-native is confident in his ability to the newly found momentum the upcoming schedule.
“We got some good tracks coming up,” Jones said. “Daytona, you never know what’s going to happen there. Kentucky has always been great to us, also.”
The No. 19 will look to improve on a third-place finish at Daytona that they scored earlier this season.
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