Brandon Jones Earns Runner-Up Finish to Send No. 51 to Championship Fight in Miami
Brandon Jones rebounded from a lap 3 spin to earn a runner-up finish and lock the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 into the owner's championship battle at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway next week. In practice early Friday morning, Jones was 11th-fastest in first practice and fifth-fastest in the final Gander Trucks practice session. On Friday afternoon in one round of single vehicle qualifying, the No. 51 DuPont Air Filtration/Menards team earned the seventh starting spot with a lap of 27.121 seconds and 132.738 mph.
After a spin in the opening laps of the race, Jones and crew chief Rudy Fugle utilized pit strategy and made adjustments to the No. 51 Tundra to get back to the front, taking the lead on lap 65 and winning Stage 2, leading again in the final stage for six additional laps. Despite a valiant effort in the closing laps, Jones was held to the runner-up spot, marking the 10th time the No. 51 has finished first or second this season.
Stage One Recap:
- Jones put the No. 51 DuPont Air Filtration/Menards Tundra in the seventh starting position in one round of single-vehicle qualifying.
- Three laps into the race, the young driver spun, but was able to continue without damage. Crew chief Rudy Fugle brought him to pit road for four fresh tires.
- Jones restarted in the 30th position, and quickly began to make his way back toward the front of the field.
- Under caution on lap 25, Fugle brought him to pit road for a scheduled pit stop for four fresh Goodyear tires and Sunoco fuel. Jones restarted 23rd.
- Ten laps later, he had risen to 15th, and he finished the first stage in 14th.
- Following the stage, Jones reported that his Tundra was too loose on entry to the corner, but Fugle stuck to the pit strategy and kept him on track for the stage break to regain track position.
Stage Two Recap:
- Jones started the second stage on the front row in the second position.
- On lap 65, Jones powered by the No. 2 to take the lead.
- Jones held the lead for the rest of the segment, winning Stage 2.
- He reported that his Tundra was two numbers tight in the center, so Fugle brought him to pit road for four Goodyear tires, fuel and a slight adjustment.
Stage Three Recap:
- To begin the final stage, Jones held the second position, but took the lead during the chaotic restart.
- The caution flew immediately, and on the following restart, Jones was unable to hold back the No. 52.
- For the remaining 45 laps, Jones challenged for the lead, but was unable to get back to the point, despite pulling side-by-side with the leader with four laps to go.
- Jones took the checkered flag in the second position, earning the 14th top-five finish for the No. 51 in 2019 and securing the team a spot in the Owner's Championship Playoff Final at Homestead-Miami Speedway next week.
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