Brandon Jones Takes Maiden K&N Pro Series Victory in Iowaby Kyle Pokrefky August 2, 2014
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NEWTON, Iowa. — 17-year-old Brandon Jones (Turner Scott Motorsports) led only nine laps in Friday night’s Autolite Iridium XP 150 at the Iowa Speedway – the final nine – on his way to claim his first ever NASCAR K&N Pro Series victory.
The Autolite Iridium XP 150 was the second and final combination race for the K&N Pro Series this year, with the stars of the West and the East coming together for an action-packed event in Iowa. Despite both series running together, it would be the East drivers who would dominate the race as the top-eight finishers would come from the K&N Pro Series East division. Jones would hold off a hard-charging Kenzie Ruston (Ben Kennedy Racing) and would have enough speed to muster his way around Cole Custer (Bill McAnally Racing) as the race began to come to a close.
“The first half of the run in the beginning, I think we were way too tight definitely to win the race,” Jones said. “The guys made awesome calls, Shane Huffman [crew chief] made a great call on the halfway break there and it got us out front a little bit in clean air … it took off for sure. I can’t thank him enough and everyone at Wolfpack – I finally got them a win at Iowa, so that’s pretty cool to finally do.”
Jesse Little (Coulter Motorsports) would lead the first 24 laps of the race from the pole at the drop of the green flag before dropping the lead to Australian Brodie Kostecki (Team Arcoplate), who would lead 25 laps from there. K&N East points leader Ben Rhodes (Turner Scott Motorsports) would make his presence known early in the race, snatching the lead on Lap 50 and leading 25 laps himself as the halfway point rolled around.
As the second half of the race commenced, it would be Custer who would commandingly assume control of the race. The driver of the No. 00 NAPA Auto Parts/Haas Automation Chevrolet would surge out to a strong lead and would be nearly untouchable throughout the second half of the race, that is until a late caution flew on Lap 130. Once the race restarted on Lap 139, the close proximity of the field to Custer allowed the No. 00 to be swallowed up in traffic. Sergio Pena (Rev Racing) would grab the lead for one lap on Lap 141 but Jones would surge past him in his No. 33 Wolfpack Energy Services Chevrolet on the following lap.
Once Jones had the lead, he would not be completely untouchable as Ruston would begin to close quickly on Jones, however, it would not be enough as Jones would ultimately cross the line ahead of Ruston’s No. 96 Ben Kennedy Racing Chevrolet by .338 of a second. The second-place finish would be Ruston’s career-best finish in the K&N Pro Series.
Greg Pursley (Gene Price Motorsports) would leave Iowa as the points leader for the K&N Pro Series West after his ninth-place finish while Rhodes would leave Iowa with the K&N Pro Series East points lead after his seventh-place finish.
The West series will now head to the Evergreen Speedway for August 16th’s NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150 while the East series will head to Watkins Glen next Friday for the Bully Hill Vineyards 125.
Top-10 Finishers of the Autolite Iridium XP 150
- 33 – Brandon Jones – Chevrolet – Turner Scott Motorsports
- 96 – Kenzie Ruston – Chevrolet – Ben Kennedy Racing
- 00 – Cole Custer – Chevrolet – Bill McAnally Racing
- 4 – Sergio Pena – Toyota – Rev Racing
- 34 – Scott Heckert – Chevrolet – Turner Scott Motorsports
- 71 – Eddie MacDonald – Chevrolet – Grimm Racing
- 41 – Ben Rhodes – Chevrolet – Turner Scott Motorsports
- 31 – Kaz Grala – Chevrolet – Turner Scott Motorsports
- 26 – Greg Pursley – Ford – Gene Price Motorsports
- 17 – David Mayhew – Chevrolet – Steve McGowan Motorsports
Top-10 in the K&N Pro Series East Drivers’ Standings after Round 12 of 16
- Ben Rhodes – 495 | Leader
- Cameron Hayley – 423 | -72
- Brandon Jones – 416 | -79
- Gray Gaulding – 416 | -79
- Jesse Little – 414 | -81
- Kenzie Ruston – 392 | -103
- Kaz Grala – 388 | -107
- Nick Drake – 386 | -109
- Austin Hill – 381 | -114
- Ronnie Bassett Jr. – 379 | -116
Top-10 in the K&N Pro Series West Drivers’ Standings after Round 9 of 14
- Greg Pursley – 388 | Leader
- Dylan Lupton – 354 | -34
- Brandon McReynolds – 348 | -40
- David Mayhew – 335 | -53
- James Bickford – 308 | -80
- Thomas Martin – 299 | -89
- John Wood – 271 | -117
- Anthony Giannone – 262 | -126
- Rich Delong III – 255 | -133
- Jack Sellers – 239 | -149