DENVER, N.C. (April 16, 2012) – In his first start at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway (The Rock), 15-year-old Brandon Jones brought home a 14th-place finish in the United Auto Racing Association (UARA) STARS 75-lap race on Saturday, April 14. After a tough race at Dillon (S.C.) Motor Speedway, the Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) team brought Jones’ Chevrolet Impala back to the shop and went to work changing the front-end geometry. Quick right off the hauler with their new setup, the team utilized the two practice sessions to fine-tune the suspension design. The team was encouraged by how well the No. 33 Chevrolet responded to changes signaling that they would be able to adjust the car throughout the race.
The ESR team decided to set their car a little on the tight side for the North Carolina Education Lottery 75, expecting the No. 33 to free up as the tires heated and wore down. With the setup, Jones picked up sixth-tenths-of-a-second between practice and qualifying to roll off ninth at The Rock. When the green flag fell, Jones searched around the race track for a line that freed up the front-end of his car until the tires began to wear off and quickly began his climb through the field. After initially dropping to the 14th position, Jones moved in to the 10th position by lap 50, and was scored eighth by lap 55. He moved in to the top-five by lap 72 and appeared to be poised to record his career-best UARA finish. Coming off of turn two for the final time, Jones made contact with another competitor and was turned into the wall. With the track overtaken by thick smoke, several other competitors were involved in the accident and Jones took more than one hard hit. Unable to circle his car around to take the checkered flag, Jones was credited with a 14th-place finish. Fortunately the driver walked away from the incident and was promptly checked and released from the infield care center.
“Driving The Rock for my first time was an amazing experience,” commented Brandon Jones following his debut at Rockingham Speedway. “My ESR team gave me a great race car. It was fast right off the trailer which allowed me to qualify ninth and drive up to fifth in the race. Unfortunately, I got into the sixth-place car on the last turn of the final lap which ended my day and dropped us to 14th. It was a blast and I can’t wait until we come back in October.”
The UARA-STARS will have several weekends off before getting back in action at Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway on Friday, May 4. In the meantime, Jones will race with the Pro All Star Series (PASS) on Saturday April 21, at Orange County (N.C.) Speedway. Grandstands for the PASS Orange Blossom Special open at 5:00 p.m. with the green flag scheduled to wave at 7:00 p.m. ET.
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 Rockingham UARA race.
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