Ever since he won the Xfinity Series race at Phoenix last Saturday, Brandon Jones – to borrow a line from a Ray Charles song – has had Georgia on his mind.
The Atlanta native is eager to return to his home track for Saturday’s Xfinity race at the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway in suburban Hampton, Georgia.
Jones, driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra, has had a strong start to the season. He finished fourth at Daytona, sixth at Las Vegas, won the pole at Fontana (but finished 30th) and then passed Kyle Busch for the lead and held on for the final 20 laps to win at Phoenix, giving Toyota its 500th win in NASCAR competition.
“We are coming off a huge win at Phoenix Raceway and our 19 team is really excited about our 2020 season,” Jones said in a media release. “We have a lot of momentum.”
Jones returns to his home turf ranked fourth in the Xfinity point standings, 28 points behind series leader Harrison Burton. More importantly, Jones’ Phoenix win locks the 23-year-old into the Xfinity playoffs.
Jones hopes the momentum from Phoenix carries over to Atlanta. He’s made four Xfinity starts there, with a career-best fourth-place finish in last year’s race.
“Atlanta has not always been one of my strongest tracks, but neither was Phoenix,” Jones said. “Our team is up to the challenge that the track brings with the old surface which makes saving tires part of the strategy.”
That’s why Jones is approaching this weekend’s race in much the same way he approached Phoenix. With all the hard work he and his team have done in preparation for Atlanta, Jones is hoping to make it back-to-back wins.
“(Our) team has spent a lot of time over the offseason preparing for Atlanta; we probably put in 200-laps around the track using Toyota’s simulator,” Jones said. “It’s a fun race and the Atlanta fans are great.
“I think if we get our Supra dialed in to run the bottom of the track, we will be the team in victory lane.”
NOTES: Kyle Busch Motorsports announced today that Jones will return to the organization for four races in the No. 51 Tundra during the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season: June 12 at Iowa Speedway, at Pocono on June 27, at Kentcky Speedway on July 9 and Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 30.