Brandon Jones goes from Truck race winner to Xfinity race wreck
The exhilaration of Brandon Jones’ first career win in Sunday morning’s Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway was short lived: just over one hour, to be exact.
To borrow a line from the old TV show, Wide World of Sports, Jones quickly went from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat, as he wrecked hard on the first lap of Sunday’s Xfinity Series race at Pocono.
It appeared Austin Cindric’s Ford may have tapped the rear of Jones’ Toyota, sending the driver of the No. 19 spinning and slamming head-on into an inside retaining wall.
Jones was taken to the infield care center to be checked out. He has since been released.
“I’m 10-4 (alright), we’re junk,” Jones told his team on the radio.
Later, Jones told FS1, “From my vantage point, we were trying to go three-wide. ... I’m sure I was a moron for trying to go three-wide and do it early. But there’s got to be some give-and-take. It’s just early. It doesn’t take much when you’re three-wide to get pushed around, but from my vantage point, I got hit from the back.
“We just have to keep going. We had a real good positive, we won the Truck race and I had such high hopes for this one too.”
Cindric said on his team radio, “I think (Jones) got loose, checked up and I couldn’t avoid him.”
Cindric subsequently took the lead in the race but said he wasn’t in too much of a hurry on the opening lap.
“I can tell you one thing, there’s no such thing as too much of a hurry when it comes to racing unless you’re on worn out tires,” Cindric told FS1 during a race stoppage following a subsequent wreck and resulting red flag. “I’m having a lot of fun. We have a fast Ford Mustang and I intend to try and keep us here (in the lead) in the whole race.”
Four laps after Jones’ wreck, Josh Williams and Joe Graf Jr. were involved in another crash.
Then, on Lap 14, in virtually the same place as where Jones wrecked, Xfinity Series rookie of the year points leader Harrison Burton spun exiting Turn 1 and also hit the inside wall head-on. The race was red-flagged at that point for track cleanup. The red flag stoppage lasted nearly 21 minutes.
“The way it happened so fast and the way I spun, it felt like there was oil (on the track),” Burton told FS1. “It’s hard to say. I was racing with the 1 (Michael Annett) and felt good and then just instantly came around. It was a weird place to come around.
“That hit looked harder than it was. I’m alright and thankful my team builds safe race cars. I’ve unfortunately tested that out twice this year. Bummer, but we’ll be back and hopefully win some more.”
Then, on the final lap of Stage 1, Canadian driver Alex Labbe, one of four drivers in contention for the final Xfinity Dash 4 Cash race, spun in Turn 1 and suffered minor damage to his front end.