RCR’s Veteran Presence Paying Off for Brandon Jonesby Kyle Pokrefky June 18, 2016
NEWTON, Ia. — Richard Childress Racing’s Brandon Jones may be only 19 years of age, but you wouldn’t have known any better going off of his results recorded this season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
Sitting fifth in points 13 races into the season, the driver of the No. 33 Jeld-Wen/Menards Chevrolet returns to a track he’s had success at in the past this week, Iowa Speedway for Sunday’s American Ethanol E15 250.
Jones is a former winner at the .875-mile short track in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East ranks (August 2014) and also has had his share of success at the circuit at the national level.
Last year, Jones finished second to Erik Jones in the Camping World Truck Series event in June and made his XFINITY Series debut at Iowa in May in what turned out to be an eighth-place effort.
“This has been a great place to us so far,” Jones noted at Iowa on Saturday. “I think this track fits my driving style in the sense that I grew up on short tracks, but it also has the feel of a mile-and-a-half as well. Those two coming together really helps my style.”
While he may feel comfortable at Iowa, when it comes to tracks he’s been yet to visit, he has no issues relying on his more experienced Richard Childress Racing teammates in the garage.
Ty Dillon and Brendan Gaughan are Jones’s full-time teammates in the series and are the drivers the youngster most often goes to for advice, but, however, whenever they’re available, Jones will also go to part-time teammates Austin Dillon and Paul Menard for advice.
“The biggest thing everybody’s helping me out with is not coming so much to the tracks I’ve been to in the past, but the tracks that we haven’t seen so far,” Jones said. “Coming from Michigan last week going to Pocono a couple of weeks ago, places like that, people like Brendan and all of my teammates help me a lot honestly.
“We’ve got a lot of notes from previous years from everybody that goes to their driver debriefs, so I have that to go over and look through and they’re always there to help me out if they see something.”
As Gaughan notes, the talent his youngest teammate has showcased indicates that he truly doesn’t need much coaching at all.
“The kids come in with a lot more experience than they used to,” Gaughan stated. “Just because he’s young doesn’t mean he doesn’t have experience. He’s been here X amount of times and he’s finished second to Erik Jones and he’s won a race.
“A lot of places he comes to it’s not like there’s a whole lot of coaching necessary. He does well on his own, he’s got a great crew chief. When he needs it, Ty’s there, I’m there, if it’s Austin or Paul that week – that’s the fun thing about RCR, we work very well as an organization.”
If anything, Gaughan and his teammates’ purpose is to help make sure Jones continues making progress in the right direction regarding his approach to racing.
“The tracks he hasn’t been to – at Pocono I talked to him a little bit about Pocono, but when he goes out and runs top-10 every week, it’s not like you need to keep giving him coaching,” Gaughan said. “You just want to keep his head on straight and keep him pointed in the right direction. He does a pretty good job of that to begin with.”
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