With a top-11 finish in each of the first three races this season, Brandon Jones has started off his rookie campaign in the NASCAR XFINITY Series sitting a surprising third in points.
“Things have gone pretty well, honestly,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “Daytona and Atlanta were two tracks that I hadn’t been to yet on the XFINITY schedule. So to get an 11th at Atlanta and a seventh at Daytona, I thought that was pretty good with two clean racecars.”
Jones’ methodical approach to the weekend has proven to work. While he may start off each event struggling a little, by race end, he usually is running solidly near the top-10.
It worked in Las Vegas after dropping back during the first half with an ill-handling racecar, Jones was able to battle back to a sixth place finish after crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. made an adjustment at the halfway mark.
Jones stated it was a strong performance, and credited how he was able to fight back for a solid finish virtue of previous experience there in the Camping World Truck Series. The 20-year-old hopes to carry the momentum forward into Phoenix International Raceway with another solid run.
“We’ve been pretty good there any time that we’ve ran the trucks, but we haven’t ever gotten a good finish to show for it,” he said. “Hopefully, our bad luck will end with this one. We’ve had great cars so I’m sure we’ll have as good as we’ve had in the past.”
With a careful approach to the season, the morale continues to grow, and rumblings have begun as to when the first win will come. The 19-year-old is pretty confident he can pull into Victory Lane before the year is over.
“I think if we keep these top-fives, top-10s up, the wins have a good potential and will come,” Jones said. “We’re going to find a track that we’re going to be good at and it’ll be there.”
The Richard Childress Racing driver is keeping things in perspective, however, knowing that lessons will come each week with being a rookie. One of those being getting used to running longer races, and sizing up the competition, versus those he ran against in the Truck Series.
“The biggest thing is running around different competition. It’s going to be the same people all year round that are running for the Chase,” Jones said. “So kind of getting used to how everyone drives and their driving styles, that’s going to be the biggest thing I feel like. The races are a lot longer, so that’s something to keep in mind, too.”
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