The driver roster for Richard Childress Racing’s Xfinity Series operation in 2017 continues to fill out with the announcement that Brandon Jones will return to the No. 33 car next season.
The news comes with Jones set to begin the inaugural Xfinity Chase as one of its 12 members.
It also joins the announcement from last weekend that Camping World Truck Series driver Daniel Hemric has signed with RCR to drive in the Xfinity Series next year.
Jones enters the Chase with 11 top-10 finishes in 26 starts, but no top fives. The only time he’s led a race was 36 laps at Talladega Superspeedway in April. His average finish is 12.9. His only top five in Xfinity competition came at Kentucky in 2015, when he made five starts.
“Brandon has shown he has the talent behind the wheel to run up front and compete for championships in the Xfinity Series, and we are pleased he will continue to do so in an RCR Chevrolet,” said Richard Childress in a press release. “We are proud of everything he has accomplished this season, including leading laps, making the inaugural Xfinity Series Chase and contending for the Rookie of the Year title. Brandon has also been an excellent spokesman for our sponsors and does an exceptional job representing our brand.”
Jones, 19, is a native of Atlanta. He’s made 30 starts in the Camping World Truck Series since 2013, recording five top fives and no wins. His only win in NASCAR competition came in the K&N Pro Series East at Iowa Speedway in 2014.
“I am honored to return to Richard Childress Racing for the 2017 season,” said Jones in a press release. “RCR is such a storied NASCAR organization and it’s a great opportunity to be a part of the team. Racing full-time in the Xfinity Series this season has been a valuable learning experience. I believe we have what it takes to compete for the championship throughout the Chase this season and make another run at the title in 2017.”
During the Hemric announcement on Saturday, Childress said his grandson Ty Dillon would run “almost a full” Xfinity season next year. Dillon is expected to run full-time in the Sprint Cup Series as well.
Brad Keselowski will be at the front of the field to start Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway (3:30 pm ET, USA Network).
Keselowski, who is not a part of the 12-driver playoff group, won the pole Saturday afternoon with a speed of 188.990, edging Joey Logano‘s 188.805.
The race is the first of three in the second round of the Cup playoffs. Round of 12 races will follow at Talladega Superspeedway Oct. 2 and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval Oct. 9.
Also starting in the top five Sunday will be William Byron, Tyler Reddick and Michael McDowell.
Brad Keselowski, hoping to extend Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing’s turnaround, won the pole Saturday for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.
It was the second piece of good news for RFK Racing in two weeks. Chris Buescher, Keselowski’s teammate, won last week’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, the first victory for the team under the RFK banner.
Keselowski, who ran 188.990 mph, is not a part of the 12-driver playoff group. Nine of the first 14 starting positions were filled by playoff drivers.
Following in the top five Saturday were Joey Logano, William Byron, Tyler Reddick and Michael McDowell. Playoff point leader Chase Elliott will start sixth.
“Texas is a really tough track,” Keselowski told NBC Sports. “As hot as it’s going to be, that will be even tougher.”
Race-time temperatures are expected to be in the mid-90s Sunday.
The race (3:30 p.m. ET), the first event in the second round of the playoffs, will be televised by the USA Network.
The first race in the second round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs is scheduled Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Twelve drivers are racing for eight spots in the next round. Chase Elliott leads the standings by 15 over Joey Logano entering Sunday’s 500-mile event, the only Cup points race at TMS this year. Ryan Blaney, who is in the playoff group, won the All-Star Race at the track in May.
Chase Briscoe, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez and Austin Cindric are below the cutline entering the 3:30 p.m. ET (USA Network) race.
The playoffs will continue at Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 2) and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Oct. 9).
Details for Sunday’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway:
START: The command to start engines will be given by “Top Gun: Maverick” actors Jay Ellis and Lewis Pullman at 3:38 p.m. (ET) … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:49 p.m.
PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Bret Shisler of Texas Alliance Raceway Ministries at 3:30 p.m. … The 1st Cavalry Division Band will perform the anthem at 3:31 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is 334 laps (501 miles) on the 1.5-mile speedway.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 105. Stage 2 ends at Lap 210.
TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 2:30 p.m. on USA Network. The post-race show will air on USA Network. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and also will stream at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.
FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy skies. High of 96 with a 5% chance of rain.
LAST TIME: Kyle Larson won by .459 of a second over William Byron last October. Larson led 256 of the race’s 334 laps.
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Playoff driver Brandon Jones won the pole position Saturday morning for Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Jones was clocked at 185.637 miles per hour. He has won three of the past four Xfinity poles.
Scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday on the USA Network, the race is the opening event of the Xfinity playoffs.
Following Jones in the top five were Noah Gragson (winner of three consecutive Xfinity races), Daniel Hemric, John Hunter Nemechek and Sam Mayer.
The race is 200 laps (300 miles) on the 1.5-mile track. Drivers will be battling heat in the mid-to-high 90s.