By Michael Guzman, Contributing Writer
Hampton, GA – Every time Brandon Jones took to the track prior to the Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, trouble followed shortly after.
In practice, he bushed the wall and was forced into a backup car.
In qualifying, it was a tire issue that forced a 30th place start before throttle problems pushed the Richard Childress Racing team to the rear of the field.
Running at his home track; however, the barely 20-year-old Georgia native didn’t waver. Jones jumped up toward the top 10 before settling for a 14th place finish and 23 championship points on Saturday.
“I think it says a lot,” Jones admitted after the race. “I’ve probably matured faster than I’d thought, more than a normal 20-year-old would have.”
Making just his second start with crew chief Nick Harrison, a nine-year veteran of the Xfinity Series, Jones faded toward the end of the lead lap with less than 70 laps to go before charging back toward the top 10 as the race wound down. Perhaps more importantly after a wreck at Daytona and trouble early in the weekend, Jones kept all four fenders on the car and completed every lap after a challenging start to his second race of the year.
“For me to be able to keep my head on my shoulders I think that’s what it’s going to take to one day get inside that top five and get a win.”