BRANDON JONES RECORDS A SIXTH-PLACE FINISH IN PRO ALL STAR SERIES COMPETITION AT ORANGE COUNTY (N.C.) SPEEDWAY
> ROUGEMONT, NC -Fast off the hauler, Brandon Jones had an extremely competitive weekend at Orange County (N.C.) Speedway in his No. 33 Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) Chevrolet Impala. The 15-year-old from Atlanta, Ga. paced practice sessions on Friday and Saturday morning before rolling off second in the Orange Blossom Special. After 150 laps of competition in the Pro All Star Series (PASS), Jones crossed the finish line in the sixth position-his best finish of the season with his ESR team.
Jones and the No. 33 team began the weekend with a practice day to make laps and gain experience around the 3/8-mile oval in Rougemont, N.C. The circuit proved to be similar to Lanier (Ga.) National Speedway-a track where Jones began his career running the weekly series-which allowed him to immediately get up to speed. Jones worked with his crew to identify the strengths of their car, and find areas where they could potentially improve their racecar. By the second practice, the No. 33 was on top of the speed chart after making a change to the front-end geometry of the Chevrolet Impala.
On Saturday morning, Jones proved to be quick again as he led the first practice session. In an effort to prepare their car for the race, the team tightened up their Chevrolet for the long run and qualified in the sixth position. Per PASS rules, the top 10 qualifiers have a random draw for their starting position and Jones selected the second position.
Rolling off on the outside of the front row, Jones settled in to the second position for the opening 25 laps, and continued to battle inside the top-four positions for 128 of the 150 laps. While racing for position, Jones' No. 33 Chevrolet got loose and opened the door for two cars to get past him.
On the final restart, Jones was forced to restart behind lapped cars as PASS rules only line up the first five competitors without lap traffic. Jones held his ground as he raced through the traffic but ultimately was not able to pass any other competitors for position before the checkered flag fell. Jones' sixth-place finish is his best of the year in PASS competition.
"Orange County was a great weekend for me, ESR and the Rheem Super Late Model," commented Brandon Jones following the Orange Blossom Special 150. "We were fast all weekend and were on top of the speed charts in several practices. We were a little tight in qualifying which resulted in a sixth-place qualifying position, but drew a two, which put me on the front row for the first time in a PASS race. We stayed in the top-three for the first 120 laps, but got caught up in lap traffic and lost a couple of spots at the end. We still managed a sixth-place finish. I can't thank my team at ESR enough for giving me a great race car. I look forward to the same in the next UARA race in Kingsport (Tenn.) on May 4."
Jones will take a week off from behind the steering wheel before getting back in the driver's seat at Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway with the United Auto Racing Association (UARA) STARS on Friday, May 4. Grandstands open at 5:45 p.m. and fans can meet drivers from the UARA-STARS during an hour-long autograph session at 6:40 p.m. Pre-race ceremonies will immediately follow and the green flag for the UARA race will be waved at 8:00 p.m. local time.