Box Score Info:
- RACE: NASCAR Xfinity Series – Lilly Diabetes 250
- TRACK: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- CAR: No. 19 Menards Mastercraft Doors Toyota Camry
- START: 11th
- FINISH: 10th
- LAPS: 100/100
The NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) unloaded at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, September 7, for the Lilly Diabetes 250. Mother Nature wreaked havoc over the weekend and decided to control the schedule with very heavy rains which caused NASCAR to cancel both NXS practices, qualifying and eventually postpone the race to Monday morning.
Weather cleared up for the Lilly Diabetes 250 and the 100-lap race started Monday morning at 10:14 am ET. The 40-car field took the green flag with no practice time on the 2.5-mile track. With qualifying being canceled, the field was set according to the NASCAR rule book and Brandon Jones started from the 11th starting position.
NASCAR called for a competition caution on lap 10. Jones pitted from the ninth position for fuel, four tires and an air adjustment to loosen his Camry up. Unfortunately, an uncontrolled tire resulted in a penalty dropping the team back to the 28th position.
Jones started his charge back to the front of the field on lap 13 and had gained 13 spots by lap 18 and 21 spots by lap 30. When stage 1 ended, Jones finished in seventh place.
Crew chief Chris Gabehart called Jones down pit road at the end of Stage 1 for right-side tires and fuel. There were several different strategies going on and when Stage 2 went green Jones was in 11th.
Jones raced in the top-10 the majority of Stage 2 and reported he was a little free, but overall the balance was good. He ended Stage 2 in the sixth position and pitted for fuel, four tires and a wedge adjustment to tighten his Camry up. When racing resumed Jones was in the 10th spot.
On lap 73 the No. 00 car came down across the front of Jones’ Menards Mastercraft Doors Camry causing front end damage to the No. 19. Gabehart called Jones down pit road and the 19 team jumped into action making repairs to the wheel well and nose of their Toyota Camry.
On lap 78, Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Ryan Preece brought out the final caution of the race when his No. 18 Rheem Toyota Camry hit the infield tire barrier hard in turn 2. NASCAR threw the red flag for about six minutes for cleanup.
The final 17 laps went green on lap 83 and Jones fought his way back into the top-10 with five to go. When Jones crossed the finish line in 10th he had earned his 11th top-10 finish of the 2018 season.
Justin Allgaier won followed by Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Daniel Hemric.
Talk about finally getting on the track and adjusting to the car throughout the day.
“I think our top-10 shows how much they really put into the offseason and how much they put into the notebook as well. We came here with no practice and had a really good Camry. The Toyota simulator helped a ton on this one for sure this week. We had a lot of time on that as well and everything else that was involved in the prep work – watching film and stuff before coming here. That’s what we do that for I guess for whenever you have races and weekends like this. All in all, a top-10 out of this day was pretty good.”
Does this top-10 give you some momentum going into the final race of the regular season next week?
“Yeah, for sure. I think our 1.5-mile program has been getting a lot better as well. I learned a lot today with side drafting and things that I think will transition over to Vegas for us.”