Date: Feb. 23, 2019
Event: NASCAR Xfinity Series 250 (Round 2 of 33)
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile tri-oval)
Format: 163 laps (Stages: 40 laps / 80 laps / 163 laps)
Start / Finish: 9th / 4th (Running, completed 163 of 163laps)
Point Standing: 2nd
Race Winner: Christopher Bell
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-40)
- Brandon Jones ran in the top-10 for both practices.
- NASCAR canceled qualifying for inclement weather and the starting grid was set by last year’s
ownerspoints. Jones started ninth . Jonesreported a loose condition early on and ran the entire first stage in the top-10.
- He finished Stage 1 in a very strong fourth place.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 41-80)
- Jones started third, finished fourth.
- When the green flag flew on lap 47, Jones jumped into second, but fell back to fourth on lap 76.
- Jones ran the entire second stage in the top-four and finished fourth.
- At the end of stage 2 the Menards Jeld-Wen team blistered off a great pitstop winning the race off pitroad, but unfortunately NASCAR advised crew chief Jeff Meendering that Jones was too fast entering pitroad and they would be penalized and sent to the tail end of the lead lap.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 81-163)
- Jones started 18th and finished fourth.
- Jones advised his Menards team that his Toyota Supra was very good and they would fight their way back to the front.
- When the final stage went green on lap 87, Jones started knifing his way back to the front and fought his way back in to the top-10 by lap 112.
- Meendering called Jones down pitroad to pit under green on lap 122 for four tires, fuel and an air adjustment for a tight condition. Jones led lap 123.
- A late race caution on lap 157 for a spin in Turn 2 set up a chance for Jones to force his way back into the top-five. The Menards / Jeld-Wen team had another great stop gaining Jones two spots and when he crossed the start/finish line in fourth he earned his second consecutive top-five finish for 2019.
Talk about your race today.
“This was probably by far my best finish I’ve ever had at Atlanta. Our teammate (Christopher) Bell, he’s always quick here. I think he had the car to beat all day long, but I think we had a pretty strong second-place Supra behind him right there. That top lane just did not get going. I talked to Jeffrey (Earnhardt) after the race some. He spun his tires obviously pretty bad and it just had no grip. I tried to push him for as long as I could there to try to help him get going, but eventually had to shoot in the middle there to try to make something happen for us.”
Was Jeffrey Earnhardt explaining that restart to you on pit road during post-race?
“Yeah, that was one of the first times that I had gotten up there for a restart. It was definitely slicker than the bottom was. He just couldn’t get his tires going enough to take off on the restart. I tried to push him a little bit to try to help out there some, but as soon as I got to the line, it was time to go ahead and cross over and try to make a move. I felt like we had a really strong second-place Supra maybe. Our teammate (Christopher) Bell there that just won, he was strong all day. He’s always really strong when you come to Atlanta, but this was a huge momentum builder for myself. By far way better than any other position that I’ve ever finished at this track. I think that says a lot about this race team where we’re at right now. I want to win one of these races. We’re close.”
Next Up: The team now heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Boyd Gaming 300 on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Jones will be back in the No. 19 Menards Jeld-Wen Toyota Supra. The race starts at 1 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by PRN and FS1.