By Tadd Haislop, ARCA Menards Series
NEWTON, Iowa — Brandon Jones had to wait out a three-hour weather delay and battle through a handful of challenges from the likes of Sammy Smith and Jesse Love. But ultimately, nothing was going to stop the 25-year-old from winning Saturday night’s Calypso Lemonade 150 at Iowa Speedway.
Jones, the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular, used a long run at the end of the 150-lap race on the 0.875-mile paved oval to overtake Smith and cruise to the victory in a fashion that was similar to his ARCA Menards Series win at Charlotte Motor Speedway two weeks ago.
Jones, now has a pair of wins in his two ARCA starts in 2022.
“Charlotte kind of went the same way,” Jones explained after taking the checkered flag in the sixth race of the 2022 ARCA Menards Series season. “Long-run toward the end there. Kind of came to life at the end. I had to work for it, though. These guys were really tough on me today. Jesse Love, obviously Sammy Smith was really quick. Those dudes were really hard to race.
“But all in all, I think we had a better Toyota Camry there in the long haul.”
Driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in the ARCA Menards Series with the Xfinity Series on an off weekend, Jones took the lead from Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Sammy Smith with 18 laps to go and never looked back.
The Calypso Lemonade 150 was a combination race with the ARCA Menards Series East. So despite missing out on the win, Smith collected valuable points in that series to extend his championship lead over Taylor Gray, who finished 18th after retiring from the race early with mechanical issues. Smith is the defending East Series champion.
Love, who qualified on the General Tire Pole for the Iowa race, showed race-winning speed before he stumbled to the pits with an issue in the closing laps. He finished 13th.
Love’s issue opened the door for Connor Mosack to score a third-place finish, a new career-high in the ARCA Menards Series competition. Jonathan Shafer. and Conner Jones completed the top five.
Leland Honeyman, Nick Sanchez, Greg Van Alst, Ron Vandermeir Jr., and Amber Balcaen rounded out the top 10.
Rajah Caruth, who entered the Iowa race as the ARCA Menards Series championship points leader, dealt with a tire issue early in the race and quickly lost a couple of laps. He finished 12th.
Daniel Dye, who entered the race third in points, suffered an engine failure after 88 laps and was credited with a 17th-place finish.
The Calypso Lemonade 150 was initially scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. CT / 9 p.m. ET on Saturday evening, but a rain delay pushed the green flag back to 11:05 p.m. CT / 12:05 a.m. ET.
The ARCA Menards Series will return to action Saturday, June 18, with the Zinsser SmartCoat 200 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan. That race is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET and will be shown live on MAVTV and FloRacing.