Brandon Jones is looking forward to being back in the Xfinity Series playoffs and competing for a championship.
In his third full-time season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Brandon Jones talked with Motor Racing Digest at Richmond Raceway. Jones discussed NASCAR’s first trip to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, joining Joe Gibbs Racing, being back in the playoffs and his expectations for the rest of his season.
Racing at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
Like many other drivers, Jones is anxious to head to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. Without being locked in to the Round of 8, Jones will need a strong finish to position himself to advance.
“Who knows what’s going to happen at the Roval,” Jones said. “It could go really well for us and it could go pretty bad too.”
Jones hasn’t be on the track itself until the week of the race but was able to run some simulated laps on the track.
“It’s gonna be a big unknown for sure,” Jones said. “I know it’s been hurting the cars on some of the curves and it’s been breaking some parts. If we don’t wreck who knows if the car doesn’t fall apart.”
Switching from Richard Childress Racing to Joe Gibbs Racing
This season was the first year for Jones behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. After three seasons with Richard Childress Racing, one in the Camping World Truck Series and two in the Xfinity Series, this was Jones’ third time with a different team.
“It was a kind of a weight lifted off of my shoulders a little bit,” Jones said. “A lot of people thought that it was going to be nerve wracking to come to a team that has run so well and had some good stats.
“I knew the cars were good and the crew chief was good and I knew if I just did my job that everything will pay off.”
“It’s been a really easy transition and JGR has been really welcoming. Coach Gibbs is awesome and really fun to be around. He’s always at the track helping the team’s out and and making sure everything’s good.”
Being back in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs
Last year was a season to forget for Jones, who missed the Xfinity playoffs for the first time in his career.
“I wish it would have went a different way than it did last year,” said Jones. “We kind of were caught playing catch-up a little bit so I think from this year we definitely learned from last year.”
This year, his two top 5 and 13 top ten finishes help earn in a spot back in the playoffs.
“We’ve made it now, we need to be consistent,” Jones said. “We need to try to get to the next round and then we can try to worry about trying to win a race.”
Expectations for the playoffs and rest of the season
“What’s left is to try to close out a win before we get done this year and hopefully make it to the Championship 4,” Jones said.
“I think my expectation is to get a win and I think Kansas and Texas is an opportunity to do that. We had a stage win earlier this year at Texas so we could run real well there again. We need to transfer and avoid 20th place finishes.”
Jones also knows there are some upcoming opportunities for him to advance to the final round if his finishes keep trending upwards.
“Right now I think it’s just about getting to that next round and then trying to transfer with a win to the to the final round.”
“I think that’s what I’ve taken away from last year and that’s what we’re gonna try to apply for this year as well.”
“If we make the next round there’s some great tracks like Kansas, Texas, Phoenix and Dover still on the schedule. There’s some really good tracks coming up for us.”
Cup drivers racing in the Xfinity Series
“I enjoy it and I like the way they’ve got it now,” Jones said about the limitations for Cup Series drivers in the Xfinity Series.
“I think that it’s it’s fair for them to come down and hang out and run with us throughout the season and then once the playoffs start, it’s just the Xfinity drivers battling it out and going for a championship.”
The Xfinity playoffs will be another opportunity to see if the all Xfinity fields will make a difference for the fans.
Development during the 2018 season
In just his third full-time season in the Xfinity Series, Jones has had fair balance between success and learning opportunities on the track.
“It’s been great,” Jones said of the 2018 season so far. “I love working with crew chief (Eric Phillips), I love working the team that I’m with right now and I think our results have been paying off.”
“I think the development this year that I’ve kind of been putting myself through and the crew chief has been putting me through a pretty big learning curve. Watching film and preparing me for the weekend more has helped get my racing IQ up a little bit.”
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