Box Score Info
- RACE: NASCAR Xfinity Series; Sparks Energy 300
- TRACK: Talladega Superspeedway
- CAR: No.19 XYO Network Toyota Camry
- START: 15th
- FINISH: 2nd
- LAPS: 115/115
Brandon Jones and the No. 19 team headed to their second Superspeedway race of 2018 with a new sponsor on board, XYO Network. Jones started the Sparks Energy 300 from 15th position and quickly moved his XYO Network Camry into the top-10 by lap 6. He finished Stage 1 very strong with a fourth place finish. Jones started Stage 2 from third after pitting for fuel and left-side tires only. He would move from third to 14th during the second stage and finished there for Stage 2.
The fourth caution flag flew on lap 63 when the 22 car spun. This caution set-up a fuel strategy race for the last 50 laps. Crew chief Chris Gabehart brought Jones down pit road for fuel only. Jones had advised Gabehart that his XYO Network Toyota Camry was very good and Gabehart told Jones to start saving fuel. Gabehart had Jones green flag pit on lap 75 for fuel only again and advised him they were on a good strategy to finish strong, but he still needed to keep saving fuel.
On the final restart that went into overtime, Jones started from third and forged his way to the front. Jones hooked up with Spencer Gallagher with two laps to go on the inside lane and they finished one-two across the start/finish line. Jones posted a career-high second-place finish, his third consecutive top-10 and locked himself into the Dash 4 Cash contest for the first time in the upcoming Dover International Speedway weekend.
How does your career-best finish of second feel?
“We can’t be disappointed with second at this place, you know how these races can go sometimes with us. There at the end it didn’t look like I was going to end up there. Those two lanes kept bouncing back and forth so it was cool to get our new sponsor, XYO Network a podium finish there and thanks to everyone at Toyota as well for all they do for us. I can’t believe we’ve been so close already in these first few races and this is the second race we’ve had a chance to win.”
Can you describe what the final restart was like?
“It was especially crazy at the end with everybody running out of fuel. They kept throwing that caution light back out and you think you’re going to get going and you get your head mentally ready and then you’d have to relax again and kind of let everything settle out. We knew we had enough gas to make it to the end, but we were saving just in case.”
What does this finish mean to you and this race team?
“These last couple weeks have been such a confidence booster for myself and this team. It’s meant so much to have this team help me out and get me where I need to be. Those last couple laps were pretty nuts, a lot of people running out of fuel and such. I knew I was pretty good there, but it was always in the back of my head that it was a possibility. Overall, phenomenal and I didn’t think second was going to be what we had, but I wish we could have gotten that one extra to be in victory lane today.”
What has this recent string of strong finishes meant to you?
“It’s pretty big and even Texas, we had a shot to be competitive at that track, but we bobbled on the third stage. All in all, this is pretty crazy right now. I’m surprised that within these eight to nine races that we’ve had, we’ve transformed this whole team into a winning organization and team – I know the organization can win, but for us as a team that’s pretty cool from what I came from last year to where we are now and being in contention just about every week to win one of these races. All in all, we had a new sponsor with XYO Networks so it’s pretty cool to get them up top there – I know they have Erik (Jones) for tomorrow in the Cup race so hopefully he can do the same for them.”
How were you able to work the draft on the closing lap?
“I wasn’t thinking second was going to be it. I had to start to pull really hard and I was working my side draft because I knew I’d been pretty weak on that all day. I thought I had to get pretty aggressive on my side drafts and held on there for a little bit and that lane started forming on the bottom some more. Took a chance for that middle lane to start working too and it happened for us. All in all, happy with second place and we’re going to go on to Dover.”
How does it feel to be a Dash-4-Cash contender for next week’s race?
“We would definitely be a little happier with that first finishing spot, but second is pretty phenomenal for this race track, especially knowing how hard it is to get up there in that top spot and making it to the end. All in all, phenomenal day for our guys and phenomenal year for our guys and they’ve transformed me from a 12th place car to almost a winning car every single week. I’m happy with the group I have currently and it was cool to get out new sponsor, XYO Networks a top-two finish and I’m sure they’re pumped up about that. We’ll go on next week and go for the Dash-4-Cash.”
How special is it to compete for the $100,000 bonus?
“This is going to be the first time in my Xfinity career that I qualified for it. That’s a big jump for myself and to compete with the Xfinity regulars in Dover for it, it’s going to be pretty good. Dover’s been a track that I’m pretty competitive at in the past and ran there multiple times in various series in NASCAR – K&N Series, trucks and Xfinity so that’s one of those tracks that I’ve got a lot of laps at so hopefully that will be something we can capitalize on and we’re going to keep the top-five streak alive here hopefully.”
How were you able to work through traffic to finish second?
“I didn’t think second was going to be the outcome of that. We all backed up pretty big on the bottom lane and I was really trying to work my side drafts there at the end and I was pretty weak on that all day. I knew at the very end there I needed to do that as best as I could, it was starting to pull that top lane back a little bit so I thought that was working pretty well and then some guys jumped in front of me and caused me to suck up and pull that bottom down. If I could have got to the 23 (Spencer Gallagher), I think we could have sucked him back a little bit with the side draft, but we just didn’t have the opportunity to do it there at the end.”