Date: May 10, 2019
Event: Digital Ally 250 (Race 7 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Segments; 40 laps/40 laps/87 laps
Start/Finish: 21st / 5th (running, completed 167 of 167 laps)
Winner: Ross Chastain of Niece Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Brandon Jones and the No. 51 Chigo team rebounded from an early spin to earn a top-five finish in the Digital Ally 250 at Kansas Speedway. It was Jones’ second start with the 51 team this season, following a 13th-place finish last weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The 22-year-old driver posted the 15th and 12th-fastest speeds respectively in two early practice sessions on Friday morning, then qualified the Chigo Tundra 21st in one round of single vehicle qualifying. On lap 26, Jones lost control of his Tundra and spun with a flat left rear tire, but was able to keep the damage minimal. Crew chief Rudy Fugle and the No. 51 crew quickly made repairs and changed tires, then worked on adjustments to improve the handling for the rest of the night. Jones went one lap down, but was able to get back on the lead lap at the end of the first stage. Then he slowly moved toward the front of the field, working into the top 10, and over the course of several late race cautions as the leaders encountered trouble, he made his way into the top-five.
Stage One Recap:
- Qualifying for the event consisted of one round of single truck qualifying, and Jones earned the 21st starting position.
- Just after halfway in the first stage, Jones spun on the track and had a flat left rear tire. Fugle called him to pit road for tires and repairs, and while the young driver did go one lap down, he was able to regain the lead lap at the stage end.
- Jones reported his Tundra was too free in the turns, but he was able to finish the stage in the 17th position, the first truck one lap down.
- At the stage conclusion, Fugle opted to stay out and put the No. 51 back on the lead lap.
Stage Two Recap:
- Jones began the second stage in 17th, and several laps later, the caution flag flew again and Fugle called him to pit road for more repairs and adjustments.
- During the second stage, Jones was able to maintain a position in the top 15
- Fugle called him to pit road following the end of the stage for four more Goodyear tires and Sunoco fuel.
Stage Three Recap:
- The Georgia driver began the final stage in the seventh position after a quick four-tire pit stop between stages.
- Jones maintained a top-10 position despite fighting a free handling condition in the center and exit of the corners.
- During green flag pit stops with 40 laps to go, Fugle brought Jones to pit road for the final time for four tires, fuel and adjustments, and as stops cycled through, he returned to the top-10.
- As several of the leaders encountered problems in the final laps, Jones was able to take advantage and take the checkered flag in the fifth position.
How were you able to come back from the early spin to claim and top-five finish?
“I fought loose all night in the truck. We were really tight in practice and I was pretty surprised about that. I just could never get it out of it. I guess we found our limit the first run there. All in all, that’s why you don’t give up in these races. You can always come back to get inside the top-five for the finish and have a shot to get to victory circle. Everybody at KBM kept their heads in the game and looking forward to getting to the next one with these guys.”
Digital Ally 250 Recap:
- Ross Chastain won the race by 0.483 seconds followed by Ben Rhodes, Todd Gilliland, Austin Hill and Brandon Jones rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured six cautions for 29 laps and 22 lead changes among nine drivers.
How Jones’ KBM Teammates Fared:
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra, finished 10th
Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 46 Toyota Tundra, finished 9th
Gander Trucks Driver Championship Standings:
The No. 51 team leaves the seventh race of the season ranked first in the Truck Series Owner’s Championship Standings, 25 markers ahead of second-place.
Owner-driver Kyle Busch will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra when the Truck Series returns to action Friday, May 17 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Live coverage of the N.C. Education Lottery 200 begins at 8:30 p.m. EST on FS1.