By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones rebounded from two straight miserable weeks and earned a top-10 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series driver restarted inside the top-10 for the final 42-lap green flag run in the Roxor 200. Jones battled Ryan Truex, Ryan Sieg, Noah Gragson, and Michael Annett for position in his No. 19 First Foundation Toyota Supra.
Jones swapped positions back and forth with Sieg until the checkered flag waved. He had an advantage over the underfunded driver for much of the final green flag run. Sieg ultimately took the eighth position from Jones with five laps to go. The JGR driver took the checkered in ninth.
The ninth-place finish is a welcome change of pace for Jones. Last weekend at Kentucky Speedway, he suffered an engine failure while leading. Two weeks ago, at Daytona International Speedway, he was swept up in an early ‘big one.’
“You were really struggling to pass people,” Jones explained. “A lot of people slide jobbing – about the only way to get around anybody. We got buried there. We made a good call.”
Pit strategy at the end of the first stage earned Jones his first stage win of the 2019 season. Having entered NHMS on the bubble for the playoffs, his team focused on stage points. The strategy ultimately prevented the 22-year-old from earning stage points in the second stage.
Jones admitted that he was disappointed with the race overall.
“I thought that was going to be great for us to stay out and get that stage win, but we just fell back too far and then just couldn’t hang with the guys once they got going.”
NHMS marked Jones’ ninth top-10 finish of the season and 43rd of his Xfinity Series career.
Despite the top-10 finish, Jones remains on the cutline for the playoffs. He is one point behind Sieg and 314-points behind Tyler Reddick, the points leader. Although in 12th, Jones is now 113-points ahead of Gray Gaulding, the first driver behind the cutline.