The last two times 17-year-old Brandon Jones was in contention for a victory, last-lap contact got the racing world talking. In the ARCA Racing Series race at Indiana’s Winchester Speedway on July 6, Jones used a daring bottom-shot and door-banging move to wrestle the win away from Mason Mitchell for his first career ARCA victory. One week later in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Jones again tried to forcefully take the lead on the final lap, but this time he and then-leader Nick Drake went spinning, allowing Jesse Little to take the win.
Friday night in the ARCA SCOTT Get Geared Up 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis, there would be no such late-race drama for Jones as he eyed another victory. This time, his Turner Scott Motorsports No. 4 was distancing itself from the rest of the field as the Georgia native picked up his second win in his second career ARCA start.
“It’s been that way the last couple races where it’s been the last lap and all stacked up,” said Jones. “These cars are all so equal, but it just got spread out tonight. Everything fell our way by getting spread out and we worked the strategy the right way.”
Jones inherited the lead from Justin Boston, who made contact with a spun Bobby Gerhart car under caution on lap 156. Boston and Chicagoland ARCA winner Mason Mitchell commanded most of the race, but the whole time Jones was lurking inside the top five in tire conservation mode. When Mitchell dropped out with a gear problem and Boston suffered damage in the caution-flag incident, Jones was able to show his best at the end.
“I think the 98, 25 and us probably had the best cars all night,” said Jones. “Unfortunately both of them had accidents, but we still had an awesome car. We came from the back on new tires, but on old tires we were running the same times as the leaders. Once we got out front I didn’t even know what was going on behind me. I knew I just had to get by a few lapped cars in the last few laps and I had a pretty good lead.”
Jones now has some fast-rising stock with wins in his first two ARCA starts. His focus now will be to keep up those winning ways as he competes in the remainder of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule as well as several more NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events with Turner Scott in 2014.
“It’s huge. I think we can carry it on to the K&N races and the Truck races and hopefully keep picking up some wins in those series as well.”
Texan Austin Wayne Self finished a career-best second at Lucas Oil, followed by Frank Kimmel in third. Grant Enfinger, making his debut for GMS racing, reclaimed the ARCA point lead by finishing fourth, aided by Mitchell’s troubles at Lucas Oil. Matt Tifft rounded out the top five.
The ARCA Racing Series is back in action on Friday, August 1 at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter @MattKentfield. Photo credits: Speed51.com