By: Ashley McCubbin
While Brandon Jones is the returning face at Joe Gibbs Racing alongside Harrison Burton, the pair are surrounded by new teammates with Ty Gibbs moving up from the ARCA Menards Series and Daniel Hemric joining the fray.
Being the youngest of the bunch, Gibbs feels blessed to be surrounded by experience.
“They’ve definitely been there for me, and anything they need, I’m there for them, and anything I need, they’re there for me,” he told SHORT TRACK MUSINGS. “I know we have each other’s backs and those guys work really hard. I watch them work really hard every week with their crew chiefs and it just keeps building a foundation as we try to make our cars the best that we can and when we go out there and race as Xfinity competitors. It comes down to having really great teammates, working hard at what they do, and they love it.”
Gibbs’ debut played out as a dream, with him scoring the victory on the Daytona International Speedway road course. The success not only caught the attention of his competitors, but his teammates.
Jones has also been impressed with the hard work ethic, in seeing him constantly on iRacing or the Toyota Sim.
Despite this, seeing a repeat of the same performance may not be quite the thought process.
“I think the oval is going to be a little different for him this weekend,” Jones admitted. “He’s extremely fast. He’s been really good there in the past, but I just don’t think there’s as many shortcuts that you can take at oval that you can at a road course that can maybe help you out at the end of the day, but I’m looking forward to seeing how he does.
“This will be a pretty big weekend for him, and it will be interesting for me to see the speed as well that he’s got when we get to the track, but I’ve got the bigger notebook so I think it will be tough to beat the 19 this weekend.”
On the flip side, Jones knows he has to watch out for Hemric with having battled against him since Late Models, and knowing his knowledge of the cars.
“I think all of that stuff is really good,” Jones commented. “We’ve bounced ideas off of each other a bunch. I’ve used him, and I think he’s used me a little bit to get used to the Gibbs equipment. He has been in one of these cars yet, so I think he’s bounced a lot off of me trying to get some answers versus something we have driven in the past versus what we are in now. I know as a group we’ve been doing a good job of going to the go-kart track together and spend a lot of team time and I think that all of that pays off when we get to the track – having confidence in your teammates is a big deal.
“If I can trust them, and they can trust me, you are going to have a much smoother year. I think it benefits you more than hurts you for sure to let your teammate in every once in a while, that pays off in the long run. All of that stuff is very good, very helpful. He definitely brings a different amount of knowledge to the team.”