Brandon Jones made his third start in a Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra of the season at Chicagoland Speedway and tied his own career-best series finish of second in the Camping World 225. On Thursday, Jones piloted the No. 51 Chigo/Menards Tundra to the first, 16th and 10th fastest laps in three practice sessions respectively. Friday afternoon in the hottest part of the day, Jones and the No. 51 team qualified 19th for the 150-lap event.
Jones may have started in the rear half of the field, but he showed early that he was a contender, confidently climbing through the field to win the first stage, then finishing second in Stage Two and the final stage. After green flag pit stops in the final stage, Jones was unable to close the distance to the leader and eventual race winner, Brett Moffitt, ultimately crossing the line nearly four seconds behind him to earn the second-place finishing position.
Stage One Recap:
- Jones qualified the No. 51 Chigo/Menards Tundra in the 19th position.
- The young driver made quick work of the field, gaining eight spots on the opening lap, then entering the top-10 by lap 3.
- By the first caution on lap 6, Jones was in the eighth position and still moving forward. He reported that his truck was a little tighter than it had been in practice.
- Jones took the third position only 12 laps into the race.
- On the final lap of the stage, Jones edged his way by the No. 98 and earned the stage win.
- Crew chief Rudy Fugle called the No. 51 to pit road following the first stage and chose to change four tires and fuel the Tundra.
Stage Two Recap:
- Jones began the second stage in the lead following a quick pit stop by the No. 51 pit crew.
- He dropped to second on lap 48, and reported to Fugle that his Tundra was tight, but continued to challenge for the lead.
- The No. 51 remained in the second position for the rest of the stage, and at the end of stage, Fugle brought him to pit road for another four tires and fuel.
Stage Three Recap:
- After his four-tire stop, Jones started the final stage in fifth.
- Although he reported that the handling of his Tundra continued to trend tight, Jones remained in the top five throughout the final stage, moving into second on lap 118.
- As green flag pit stops began, Jones inherited the lead and then Fugle called the No. 51 to pit road for four tires with 29 laps to go in the event. When green flag stops cycled through, Jones was solidly in the second position behind eventual race winner Brett Moffitt.
- Without a late race caution to close the gap, Jones was unable to gain time on Moffitt and finished second in his third NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start of the season, tying his career-best effort. Jones has finished second in four of his 43 series starts.
What was the difference tonight and what else did you need to win the race?
“It seemed like laps. It’s heartbreaking to hear those lap times come across the radio — that I was a half-tenth or a tenth faster, just too big of a gap there. I don’t know if we could have done something else with pit strategies or not, but that’s why we had good pit position there. We did learn a lot and that’s the most fun I’ve had in a truck race in a long time. Can’t thank everyone at Chigo for helping make this opportunity for me and everyone at KBM, Toyota, TRD and all those guys. It’s a blast. We have two more with these guys and we’ll try to make something happen.”
Next Race: Brandon Jones is scheduled to return to the No. 51 Soleus Tundra in two weeks at Kentucky Speedway, on Thursday, July 11. Live coverage of the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 begins at 7:30 p.m. EST on FS1