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Despite P6 Finish, Playoff Run Out of Reach

Box Score Info:

  • RACE: NASCAR Xfinity Series; The Bay Harbor 200
  • TRACK: Dover International Speedway
  • DRIVER: Brandon Jones
  • CAR: No.19 Menards/Atlas Toyota Camry
  • START: 5th
  • FINISH: 6th
  • LAPS: 200/200

Brandon Jones and the No. 19 Menards/Atlas team traveled to Dover for the last race in the first round of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) playoffs. It was also Jones’ 100th career-start in the NXS. They were fast right off the hauler and placed in the top-10 for both practices. NASCAR changed the qualifying because of rain in the area to one round for 13 minutes. Jones would qualify fifth. During the race he led two laps, ran in top-15 the entire race and earned his 14th top-10 finish of the 2108 season. Jones fought hard all day and was able to gain two positions in the driver points standings, but would not advance to the Round of 8.

Jones started the Bay Harbor 200 at Dover International Speedway from fifth place. He reported a tight Camry and finished Stage 1 in fourth place. Jones reported that his Menards Toyota was too tight and crew chief Chris Gabehart advised they would make the proper adjustments on their first stop. Jones brought it down pit road and took four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment, but lost four spots on the pit stop.

Jones restarted Stage 2 from 10th on lap 52, but fell back to 15th. He advised that his Camry was still tight and finished Stage 2 in15th. Jones started the final stage on lap 95 from the 14th position. On lap 162 the third caution flag came out and Gabehart made a strategy call for right-sides only and fuel during the pit stop. This catapulted Jones up 13 positions to the lead. Racing resumed on lap 171 and Jones restarted on the outside of the front row. Gabehart’s strategy paid big dividends as Jones led two laps, but the old left tires struggled on the restart and he would drop back to sixth. He fought hard to keep the 21 and 22 cars behind him and was able to come home sixth earning his 14th top-10 finish for the 2018 season.

Christopher Bell won, followed by Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Preece and Spencer Gallagher.

After an off weekend, the Xfinity Series Playoffs will resume at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 20.

How was your race today?
“Honestly I think it went well. We got behind a little bit on our pit stop there halfway through the race. It was definitely difficult to pass here. I was trying to move around so much and going to the top. I kept hearing that my teammate Christopher Bell was really moving up and making it work and I tried it a couple of times. Our Menards Toyota Camry just wasn’t really set up too well for the top. The bottom was more dominant for us. We gambled on two tires at the end, really had nothing to lose. It ended up working pretty well for us. All in all I think the best we could’ve finished was fourth and the worst was sixth, and we finished sixth. Pretty solid day for us.”