DENVER, N.C. (March 20, 2012) – Under the continued guidance of Eddie Sharp and the Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) team, Brandon Jones made his debut this weekend in the United Auto Racing (UARA) STARS Series at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The 15-year-old from Atlanta, Ga., posted solid practice laps and raced into the top-12 competitors before spinning during the closing laps of the race to post a 19th-place finish.
The team struggled with getting the car balanced throughout the weekend, but after being too tight during practice, the team loosened Jones’ No. 33 Chevrolet for his qualifying laps. The change proved to be too much and Jones slid through the corners, securing the 19th starting position.
Starting the 150-lap race deep in the field, Jones took his time as the race progressed allowing his Rheem Chevrolet to dial in and the ESR development driver was able to fight his way through the field. By lap 50, Jones moved into the 16th position and picked up four more spots to move in to the 12th position by lap 100. Comfortable with his car, Jones was logging laps around the historic 0.363-mile track waiting for his chance to continue moving through the field.
On lap 138, Jones was holding his ground as he saw the No. 2 car approaching him in turn four; expecting the driver to attempt to make a pass, Jones protected his line around the bottom of the track. However, when the No. 2 car reached the rear bumper of Jones’ No. 33 Chevrolet, the driver hooked the left rear bumper of Jones’ vehicle and left him spinning across the track. Jones skillfully avoided contact with the wall or any other competitors and was able to get his car pointed the right way, but not before the leader passed him on the track. Jones fought the other lap down cars for position and ultimately crossed the finish line in the 19th position.
“I really enjoyed my first race in a Late Model Stock Car at the UARA race in Hickory, N.C.,” commented Brandon Jones after the UARA-STARS 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway. “The car was good in the race, but unfortunately we were spun out near the end and lost several track positions. I am looking forward to the PASS race this weekend in South Boston, Va.”
Jones will be back on track this weekend at South Boston (Va.) Speedway with the Pro All Star Series (PASS). Gates open for the event at 11:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 24, with qualifying set for 11:45 a.m. Jones and the other PASS drivers will host a pre-race Fan Appreciation Autograph Session trackside at 12:45 p.m. with the race following at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the gate.
Under the leadership of ESR and with the backing of his sponsors, Jones will spend 2012 competing in an extensive schedule including more than 30 races. In addition to racing in some of the larger late model events nationwide, Jones will compete in UARA, PASS, and Champion Racing Association (CRA) Series races across the Southeast.
Eddie Sharp Racing (TeamESR.com) is a championship winning race team housed in a 40,000 square-foot facility in Denver, N.C. After just four short years of competition within the ARCA Racing Series, the team impressively accumulated upwards of 20 race wins. 2009 was a pivotal year for ESR, as they dominated the series with six race wins, 15 top-fives and 19 top-10s en route to the series championship with driver Justin Lofton. In 2010, ESR made the transition to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In 2011, Sharp and Lofton were reunited within truck competition. In 2012, ESR expands to be a multiple truck team with Lofton returning to the No. 6 Chevrolet Silverado, and Cale Gale joining the team behind the wheel of the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet Silverado.
Here are some images from this weekend and a video of the start of Hickory UARA race.
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