This weekend, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series will head to Chicagoland Speedway for the Camping World 225. Brandon Jones returns to the No. 51 for his third start this season. Jones has two Gander Trucks starts at the 1.5-mile facility, with one top-five and one top-10 finish, and an average start of 13.0 and an average finish of 11.0. He finished fifth driving for KBM in last year’s Gander Trucks event. Jones also has two ARCA Racing Series starts with one top-five and one top 10, and three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts. He will also be in the No. 19 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland.
Jones’ last start for KBM was earlier this season at Kansas Speedway, where he started in the 21st position and finished fifth. He will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 for two additional Gander Trucks races this year, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., and ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz.
Veteran crew chief Rudy Fugle leads the No. 51 team this season. Fugle has guided his team to four Owner’s Championships (2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017) as a crew chief at KBM, including combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championships with Erik Jones in 2015 and Christopher Bell in 2017. The New York native’s drivers have combined for 28 wins, 22 poles, 63 top-five and 98 top-10 finishes across his 124 races calling the shots for the organization. Fugle’s drivers have five starts at Chicagoland Speedway, with one win in 2013 by owner-driver Kyle Busch, three top-five and four top-10 finishes and an average finishing position of 8.8.
After 11 races in 2019, the No. 51 team leads the owner’s points standings by three points over second place. The team has earned five wins with owner-driver Kyle Busch behind the wheel and one win with veteran driver Greg Biffle at Texas Motor Speedway. The team has two poles, seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
Last weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Christian Eckes started the No. 51 on the pole after qualifying rained out, led a race-high 57 laps and then finished in 14th after competing for the win and getting spun out on the last lap.
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Are you looking forward to getting back into the 51?
“First off, I think it’s going to be great to get back in the 51. Seeing how well they’ve been running the past couple weeks has given me the confidence boost to get back in the truck with these guys. I’m pretty determined to get a win with Rudy. We’ve also got Chigo on board, so that’s going to be really fun with those guys. I love Chicago, it’s always been a fun track for me. I’ve never really gotten the results there that I’ve wanted to, but I’ve always run really well. I’m going to make sure I study the right things coming up and we’re going to be really good I think.”
How does all your seat time in various series help you prepare?
“I think running the Truck Series is always transferred over to the Xfinity day. You really have to side draft guys in the Truck Series and you really have to use momentum and not get choked down, so I think all that really makes me an aggressive driver going to the Xfinity race. I always give the Truck Series credit for my success at the Xfinity level.”