By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
After four atrocious races, Brandon Jones finally earns a top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway.
In the final green flag run, Jones’ No. 19 Menards / Bali Toyota Supra ran quietly inside the top-10. He battled with Michael Annett, Jeb Burton, and Justin Haley until green flag pit stops. The NASCAR Xfinity Series driver was among the last pit and came back on track inside the top-10.
It appeared that Jones would ride just outside the top-five until a caution waved with four laps to go. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s crew chief, Jeff Meendering, kept him on track. In the chaotic two-lap run to the finish, Jones dropped to eighth in the running order. He advanced to seventh after his teammate, and initial race winner Kyle Busch, was disqualified.
“It started off honestly pretty good, upbeat and I thought the car was really good,” explained Jones. “I was a little bit tight kind of in traffic and by myself, but nothing crazy. The longer the day went, the worse we got in traffic, the looser we kept getting to fire off. Track position didn’t even matter for me there kind of in the middle of the race.
“We had that green-flag stop and that was the turnaround for us I thought. We eventually got away from everybody and once we did that, we were running times fastest of the race. There was speed in the car, we just missed it in traffic for whatever reason. It was good to get back in a rhythm, good to get back finishing races in the top-10. I think all in all was a pretty positive day.”
The top-10 finish in the My Bariatric Solutions 300 was the first Xfinity race that Jones has finished since Talladega Superspeedway one month ago. It was his first top-10 finish since Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Jones was caught in incidents in every single Xfinity race since he finished runner-up at Homestead. During that stretch of races he fell from sixth to ninth in the points standings.
“That was probably the highlight of the day, I know coming in that’s what we needed to do,” admitted Jones. “We just needed to not do anything too crazy and get back to finishing races. Cause that’s how we learn, that’s how we get better is making all the laps and then we can dissect the car a little bit better and make it better. All that stuff leads to finishing better in these races.”
Jones stayed out of trouble throughout the 300-mile race. He narrowly avoided an early incident that wiped out teammate Riley Herbst. Jones finished the first two stages in second and third respectively. Those stage finishes netted him an additional 17-points. He was nowhere near the other on-track incidents throughout the race.
The Atlanta, GA native started sixth after the random draw for the starting grid. Jones has only started outside the top-10 in one race that utilized a random draw due to the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines.
The seventh-place finish is the eighth top-10 for Jones this season and the 58th of his Xfinity Series career.
The top-10 kept Jones ninth in the points standings. He’s 243-points behind leader Chase Briscoe. Jones is already locked into the playoffs via his win earlier this season at Phoenix Raceway.
Next up for the 23-year-old NASCAR Xfinity Series driver is Kansas Speedway on Saturday July 25.