Saturday, June 25, 2022

Brandon Jones expands the schedule significantly

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The driver of the #19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra is significantly expanding his schedule. Brandon Jones has added five ARCA Menards Series races to his 2022 NASCAR calendar.

Jones announced the news ahead of the May 27 ARCA Menards Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He confirmed he will take charge of the No. 81 JGR Toyota as he seeks to gain experience at a variety of tracks. Along with Charlotte, his schedule includes Iowa Speedway on June 11, Pocono Raceway on July 22, Watkins Glen International on August 19, and Bristol Motor Speedway on September 15.

“We’re trying to get to the next level and get into the Cup Series,” Jones said on May 27, quoted with permission from ARCA. “I always enjoy coming back to the ARCA Menards Series. I have a great relationship with Menards and it’s fun to have a race like us [on Friday] so I could take her back to Victory Lane.”

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Jones explained that the additional races were meant to gain experience and build confidence. So far he’s had a strong start, having won the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and leading a race high for 33 laps including the last 30.

Jones started his race weekend by winning pole for the 100-lap event. However, he didn’t stay at the head of the pack for long. Full-time driver Rajah Caruth passed him after the first few laps and spent 24 at the front of the field.

Jones avoided a few incidents on the track, one involving Nick Sanchez and Caruth. The full-time Xfinity Series driver was chasing Venturini Motorsports’ Corey Heim to take the lead on lap 71. He held until he took the checkered flag for the sixth time in the series.

The driver of the #19 Toyota will use his expanded schedule to gain experience at several key tracks on the Xfinity Series schedule. The Pocono and Watkins Glen races in particular will be important considering Jones has a total of 11 starts at the tracks with four top 10 finishes.

The double duty weekends at these two tracks, as well as Bristol Motor Speedway, all take place towards the end of the Xfinity Series regular season. Jones already has a playoff spot due to his win at Martinsville Speedway, but he can use the extra experience to potentially put himself in a better position while chasing his first wins at those tracks.

Stacking points ahead of the playoffs will be crucial for Jones as he looks to fight for a championship. He is currently expected to enter the playoffs as the sixth seed, which would put him above the elimination line in the opening rounds. Adding more points during the regular season would potentially help him chase down Sam Mayer.

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