By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Results wise, Pocono Raceway has been one of Brandon Jones’ weakest tracks in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The negative trend continued in Saturday’s Pocono Green 250 after an early crash resulted in a last-place finish.
It wasn’t all gloom for Jones, who had tremendous seventh-place qualifying start and after having a phenomenal start, he was already up to fourth in the running order. Therefore, an early bid for his third top-five of the season looked promising, with his last top-fives taking place in the first two races of the season at both Daytona and Atlanta.
Unfortunately for Jones, the drought continued once he entered the sixth lap. Going into Turn 1, Jones was chasing third-place Austin Cindric until his No. 19 Juniper Networks Toyota Supra snapped and backed it hard into the wall.
The crash resulted in the first caution of the afternoon as Jones brought his pancaked car into the pits. Officially ending his race and wound up with a season-worst 38th, surpassing his pair of 33rd place finishes at Texas and Richmond.
Perhaps more frustrating for Jones’ early exit was letting his Joe Gibbs Racing team down as Saturday’s exit marked his fourth DNF and inching closer of being out of the playoffs as he’s currently 12th in points.
“I’m more frustrated for the guys than myself. I never ran great here,” Jones said. “To be running fourth the way we were, have a really good car and actually qualify way better than I thought we were going to as well. We just got to keep going. We got really good cars and these guys have been working really good in the shop and we just got to keep staying out there.”
In three previous editions at “The Tricky Triangle,” Jones started off well in 2016 with an eight place finish. However, it has been rotten luck beyond belief for the 22-year-old as he crashed late in the race the following year, finishing 36th and then last year, Jones wound up 24th, one lap down.
An early exit means Jones’ No. 19 team shifts their focus to Michigan International Speedway for the running of the Lti Painting 250 June 8. In three starts, Jones has two top-tens with an ninth in 2017 being his best effort.