Officially ‘in’ Playoffs with 3rd Place Finish in Vegas

Date: September 14, 2019

Event: Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 (Round 26 of 33)

Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series

Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile tri-oval)

Format: 200 laps (Stages: 45 laps / 90 laps / 200 laps)

Start/ Finish:  6th / 3rd (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)

Point Standing: 9th

Race Winner:  Tyler Reddick

Stage 1 Winner:  Christopher Bell        

Stage 2 Winner:  Christopher Bell

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45)

  • Brandon Jones was coming off two solid top-10 finishes and carried that momentum to Las Vegas Saturday. He was fast right off the hauler, ran in the top-six for both practices and qualified sixth for the 200-lap event.
  • Jones ran as high as third and ran in the top-eight the entire first stage.
  • He reported early on that his Juniper Networks Toyota Supra was chattering in the front, but he was consistently one of the fastest cars on track.
  • Jones finished Stage one in sixth place.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90)

  • Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and air and wedge adjustments. 
  • He started Stage 2 from fifth on lap 51.
  • On lap 68 Jones had a little excitement when his Supra got loose and slid sideways between Turn 3 and 4 but was able to make a great save and maintain a spot in the top-six.
  • Jones finished sixth in Stage 2.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 91-200)

  • Crew Chief Jeff Meendering called Jones down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and more adjustments.
  • Jones started the final stage from seventh on lap 97.
  • He was hard charging forward and several times was reported as the fastest car on the track.  He raced into fourth on lap 134 and into third on lap 153.
  • On lap 160 Jones advised Meendering that his Supra was pretty good, but now was a little tight.
  • Jones green flag pitted from third on lap 168 for fuel, four tires and minimal adjustments.
  • After the field had cycled through Jones was back in the top-five by lap 180. When he crossed the start/finish line on lap 200 he had earned a third place finish and a ninth place seed in the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs

Additional Notes

  • The seven-race Xfinity Series Playoffs begin Sept. 20 at Richmond Raceway. 
  • Jones ran in the top-10 the entire 200-laps.

How do you think this finish takes you into the Playoffs momentum wise?
“It was fun today. It was slick. We had that spin there early on; it was on the edge like that for a while, but we were fastest when we were that edgy. We tightened it up a good bit during the race, and it slowed down just a little bit. All-in-all, I wouldn’t want anyone else behind me in this battle we are getting ready to go into during the Playoffs. These first two tracks are going to be a little tough – Richmond and the Roval are going to be a little tough, but we are going to get past them. We have some good tracks that we are going to be really decent at. It’s going to be a good year for Toyota, Joe Gibbs. All of our guys are really competitive. There’s a lot of guys that are going to be tough to beat, but I am ready to battle.”

Do you think you can put yourself in that conversation to be there in Homestead?
“Yeah, I have to make it past these first couple of hard ones, but get me to these mile-and-a-halves where we are really decent, and I think we are going to be a sleeper.”

How did the track change throughout the day?
“As the sun went down, it tightened up a little bit. It was super slick when the sun was out. We had a lot of coverage in (turns) 1 and 2, and no coverage in (turns) 3 and 4 for most of the day, so that would change the balance on the cars a lot.”

How great was it to finish in the top-three today?
“Yeah, I’m telling you if we get past this first round, we are going to surprise people. I think when it comes down to these last rounds for us, we have some good tracks coming up. This was a great run for us, but it wasn’t perfect. I had the spin there, which was pretty crazy to save that. We had a couple hiccups on pit road, but all-in-all to fight back to that position with the circumstances is pretty great. Love the team I got; love the guys I have. We are going into battle in the Playoffs and have a good time.”

Next Up: The team now heads to Richmond Raceway for the first round of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs on Friday, September 20, 2019. Jones will be in the No. 19 Freightliner Toyota Supra. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. ET with live coverage provided by MRN and NBCSN.