Get to know the up-and-coming NASCAR driver MORE: Jones to run Truck Series for GMS Racing " Inks deal with RCR In 2014, Brandon Jones , 17, notched a top-five in the Truck Series (Dover), scored his first win in the K&N Pro Series East (Iowa), and won twice in just three ARCA starts. Next year, Jones is planning to make a few starts for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and will also run 16 races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with GMS Racing. Patience, grasshopper "I do a lot of fly fishing and a lot of wood work and stuff like that -- things that take patience, honestly. That kind of keeps you thinking about things and kind of keeps you calmed down. Even though you're going 190 mph in some of those races, you still have to be calm and be thinking about what you're doing." Gale force " Cale Gale and his dad were training this kid in Atlanta at Lanier Speedway and Gresham, and all those places. Cale actually told us, 'Come on down and see if you like it, first of all, before you start investing all your money and getting into it.' So, I did that for a little bit and actually just fell in love with it. I've always loved cars." Confidence booster "We definitely kept building momentum the whole year in the Truck Series, and the competition in that Series is so tough. When you keep going up in levels, it's gonna keep getting tougher and tougher. So, it was pretty cool to come away with a top-five. Top-fives and top-10s really boost your confidence a lot." A series of series "This year we ran ARCA, the Truck Series, K&N. Staying in all those different series really keeps you thinking about different things inside the car. It is a little (tough). The (different) tires and the motors were the biggest thing about going back and forth." Schoolboy "I did online school one year and that was hard, for sure. I had to go back to public school. It was just weird. You don't have all the people and the atmosphere there, and not a lot of people trying to help you. So, that was really difficult. This is our senior year, finally. Maybe we can get out and try to focus on (racing) a couple of years." SUBSCRIBE NOW!
NASCAR Illustrated's Steven Levine sits down one-on-one with up and coming driver, Brandon Jones.
Team release says that assets have been purchased Photo courtesy of Viva Motorsports Viva Motorsports, which fields the No. 55 entry in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, announced on Monday that the team is ceasing operations effective this week, according to a release issued by the organization. The team was on track at Michigan International Speedway last weekend, where Jeffrey Earnhardt was behind the wheel of the No. 55 Chevrolet and finished in 34th place. The organization made its NASCAR debut in 2009 and competed in both the XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. "It takes a tremendous level of commitment to compete at this level of auto racing, especially when striving to get better on limited resources, week in and week out," team owner Jamie Dick said in a release provided by the team. "It has come to a point where my family and I cannot continue to make the personal and financial commitments that this sport requires. I have always been proud of the quality of race team we brought to the track. Instead of lessening that quality, we decided to take a step back from the sport." "I want to thank the whole NASCAR community for allowing me to be part of the family. I want to thank our sponsors and our fans for all the support through the years. But most of all, I want to thank the employees of Viva Motorsports, both past and present, for making this team the best it could be." All the team assets have been purchased and the No. 55 car will appear in a handful of races in the 2015 season, according to the release. This season, Earnhardt (six races), Dick (five races) and Brandon Gdovic (two races) split driving duties in the No. 55 car. Dick missed some time after being diagnosed with new onset diabetes after the Phoenix race in March. The team's best result in 13 races this season was a 12th-place showing by Earnhardt at Talladega in May. A few weeks ago, Dick sat down with NASCAR.com's Pat DeCola at the team's shop in China Grove, North Carolina, to discuss the challenges of running a single-car team. "I do (have a single-car team, "us against the world" mentality). I don’t try to make it a point to spread that opinion throughout our employees and everyone else, but I certainly have that opinion," Dick said. "Because of that mentality, I'm glad we do our own single-car team. Not that we want to be a single-car team, I just mean that we’re independent and we own it and we do it." Dick also reflected on where his own driving career was heading. The 26-year-old has made 60 XFINITY Series starts and 14 Camping World Truck Series starts in his career. "The trajectory and the path of the mountain of my driving career and Viva Motorsports have already started to split and have more and more over the past year or two. I think they'll continue to split more. I don't think that my driving career will blossom into something greater than it is right now. I still like driving and I want to be the best race car driver I can be, but I don’t foresee any opportunities coming along to advance my driving career beyond what it is now, which I'm perfectly OK with. I'm happy with where I am and where I've made it." The Albuquerque, New Mexico native had big hopes for the organization, telling NASCAR.com in May that he would love to work his way into the Sprint Cup Series one day. "The potential for Viva Motorsports to grow with other drivers and other partners and other sponsors, the sky is the limit," Dick said last month. "I'd still love to venture into the Cup Series if the right opportunity presented itself, but I realize how difficult it is and I don't want to go in there with a half-hearted effort. I want the right opportunity to do it right way. That probably will never mean the 'right way' compared to Joe Gibbs or Rick Hendrick, but at least the right way as something that we can be proud of." And those hopes extended to the team's XFINITY efforts. "I hope in three to five years we're no longer a single-car team. I hope we're a two or three car XFINITY car team competing for better finishes, top-10 finishes, and continue to present ourselves professionally like we do now." ---NASCAR.com's Pat DeCola contributed to this report. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver scores first win of 2015 Camping World Truck Series season RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings MADISON, Ill. -- Cole Custer took advantage of a five-lap shootout at Gateway Motorsports Park to score his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in Saturday night's American Ethanol presents the Drivin' for Linemen 200 brought to you by Ameren. When race leader Tyler Reddick missed his second shift of the night on the final restart, Custer attacked and cleared the field to cruise to a 0.871-second triumph over Spencer Gallagher . It was the 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver's first win of the year and second for JR Motorsports, which won last month at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Kasey Kahne . "I was just trying to tell myself 'no excuses,'" said Custer, who won in his third start of the year. "I think we were a little bit better than the 19 (Reddick). We struggled a little bit all day. I don't know, I'm just tired. I gotta thank Haas Automation, Gene Haas, Kelley (Earnhardt-Miller), Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) for giving me this opportunity and Hendrick engines, the pit crew for coming out. "We put everything together, we didn't have the best truck, but we ran a great race." After Matt Crafton and Erik Jones , who had the two strongest trucks of the night, endured problems late in the race, the revolving door opened with Custer answering. For Gallagher, late-race strategy played into his hands -- which ultimately led to his second career top-five finish. "(We) didn't have the speed in our No. 23 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet that we wanted all day, but we started 14th, so pretty far back there and a track where track position is such a huge deal, that was kind of a cloud hanging over our head to begin with. My GMS Racing guys played the game right all night. We were able to hold off Sauter at the end there. I told my crew chief, better be lucky than good sometimes, I'll take it." Mother Nature played her hand early at Gateway, cancelling qualifying after a brief, but heavy shower a few minutes into round one of knockout qualifying. The field was set per the rule book, putting Erik Jones on the pole after turning the fastest lap in practice earlier in the day. Quickly, the track dried, but the start of the eighth race of the season was delayed nearly two hours after a heavy shower soaked the 1.25-mile oval shortly before pre-race ceremonies. Drivers were called to their trucks at 9:25 p.m. CST, with the command to fire engines less than 10 minutes later. From the start, Jones kept the lead and held the point until the first caution waved on Lap 53 for a two-truck accident in Turn 1. Matt Crafton won the race off pit road ahead of Erik Jones , Matt Tifft , Johnny Sauter and Tyler Reddick . Racing resumed, but Crafton's lead would be short-lived as Jones, a NASCAR Next alum, made the pass on the outside and retook the lead from the defending series champion. Despite being chased by Crafton, Jones kept the lead until the second yellow flag waved on Lap 80 for debris. While Jones elected to pit, Crafton stayed out, while Tyler Reddick , Johnny Sauter , Brandon Jones and Austin Theriault played strategy and took two tires. Jones was the first truck that elected for four tires and exited pit road sixth. Crafton held the lead through Lap 91 when Tifft crashed in Turn 1. Under the third caution of the race, Crafton pitted, handing the lead to his ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter with Custer second. Restarting with 64 laps to go, Sauter found himself unable to hold off Custer, who ventured out to a half-second lead by Lap 100. Ten laps later, Custer had company in the form of Jones, who made the pass to reclaim the lead on Lap 112. Six laps later, a stalled truck brought out another yellow, sending the lead lap trucks to pit road for service. A flawless stop by Crafton's team sent him back to the top ahead of Spencer Gallagher , who took two tires. Jones exited third, followed by Ray Black Jr . with no tires, and Reddick. On the restart, Crafton was able to stay ahead, but Jones, hungry for his first win of the season, was quickly closing. Ultimately, Jones spun on the frontstretch 17 laps from the finish while trying to pass a lapped truck. With Jones out of the mix, Crafton found Reddick, Custer and John Hunter Nemechek looking to deny him of his fourth win of 2015. The green flag resumed with 10 laps remaining and Reddick wasted no time making his move and surging to the lead. Crafton's strong night would take a dramatic turn after Nemechek broke loose in Turn 3 and sent the No. 88 Toyota hard into the outside wall, yielding the sixth caution of the night. Custer jumped out to the lead on the final restart and cruised the rest of the way to Victory Lane. Behind Custer and Gallagher, Sauter, Nemechek and Cameron Hayley rounded out the top five, while Timothy Peters , Ben Kennedy , Reddick, Daniel Hemric and Austin Theriault comprised the top-10. "I always knew that we had trucks capable of winning," Custer said. "We just had to put everything together for a race." The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action next Friday, June 19, at Iowa Speedway for the American Ethanol 200 with coverage on FOX Sports 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See where your favorite driver will pit (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, FS1) RELATED: Full starting lineup The pit stall assignments are out for Saturday night's American Ethanol presents the Drivin for Linemen 200 brought to you by Ameren (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) and Erik Jones got his pick of pit stalls at Gateway Motorsports Park. Jones, who earned the pole position based on his practice speed after qualifying was rained out, chose the pit stall closest to the exit of pit road. He has an opening in front of him when he goes to leave pit road. Cole Custer (starting second), Johnny Sauter (starting fourth), Brandon Jones (starting fifth), Tyler Reddick (starting sixth), Austin Theriault (starting 10th), John Hunter Nemechek (starting 12th) and Tyler Young (starting 17th) all have openings in front of them on pit road. Timothy Peters chose the first pit stall closest to the entrance of pit road. The Gateway race is the eighth race of the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Erik Jones starts on the front row with Cole Custer RELATED: Full starting lineup A quick downpour at Gateway Motorsports Park covered the track with rain, delaying the start of the American Ethanol Presents the Drivin' for Linemen 200 brought to you Ameren. The green flag was set to drop at 8:43 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX Sports 1, MRN and SiriusXM. There was racing on Saturday night as the action got underway at 10:44 p.m. ET after a delay of approximately two hours and one minute. The race is scheduled to go 160 laps and 200 miles. Johnny Sauter told FOX Sports 1 that he didn't anticipate the rain changing the track much from all the rain. "I don't think this race track is going to change a whole lot from what we had in practice even though we've had a couple rain showers. I really don't I don't know how much rubber could really be put on there in a two-hour period." Rookie Daniel Hemric told FS1 that with the track losing all the rubber that "everybody is in the same boat now." Rain washed out qualifying just minutes into the three-round knockout style format at the 1.25-mile track. Only 16 drivers made a lap and after qualifying was canceled, the starting lineup was set by practice speeds, per the NASCAR rule book. In the series' lone practice session earlier in the day, Erik Jones topped the charts, followed by Cole Custer , Matt Crafton , Sauter and Brandon Jones . Custer won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award for this race last year, which was won by Darrell Wallace Jr . There is no Air Titan at the track but jet dryers got to work to dry the track as quickly as possible. The Gateway race is the eighth race of the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule. Crafton holds the points lead over Tyler Reddick and Erik Jones . FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Practice leader Erik Jones will start on the pole in tonight's race RELATED: Full starting lineup " Practice speeds from Gateway Keystone Light Pole Qualifying got underway at Gateway Motorsports Park, but four minutes into the 20-minute opening round, a downpour put a hold on the session at the 1.25-mile track before ultimately washing out the three rounds of knockout qualifying. Since qualifying did not resume, NASCAR set the starting grid based on practice speeds, per the rule book. That puts Erik Jones on the pole position since he topped the lone practice session with a fast lap of 136.766 mph. Jones was also the fastest among the 16 drivers that made a lap during the opening round qualifying before the rain moved in, clocking a lap of 136.087 mph. Second-fastest in practice was JR Motorsports' Cole Custer (136.591 mph), who will start on the front row with Jones. Rounding out the top five from their top speeds in practice are ThorSport Racing's Matt Crafton (136.579 mph) and Johnny Sauter (136.285 mph), and GMS Racing's Brandon Jones (136.240 mph), respectively. Custer won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award for this race last year, an event that was ultimately won by Darrell Wallace Jr . There is no Air Titan at the track but there are jet dryers at work to dry the Illinois facility. The American Ethanol Presents the Drivin' for Linemen 200 brought to you by Ameren is the eighth race on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for 2015. The 160-lap, 200 mile event is set for 8:30 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX Sports 1 as well as MRN and SiriusXM. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See where drivers finished in the race at Gateway Motorsports Park NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race - American Ethanol presents the Drivin' for Linemen 200 brought to you by Ameren Gateway Motorsports Park Madison, Illinois Saturday, June 13, 2015 1. (2) Cole Custer , Chevrolet, 160 2. (14) Spencer Gallagher #, Chevrolet, 160 3. (4) Johnny Sauter , Toyota, 160 4. (12) John H. Nemechek #, Chevrolet, 160 5. (9) Cameron Hayley #, Toyota, 160 6. (13) Timothy Peters , Toyota, 160 7. (15) Ben Kennedy , Toyota, 160 8. (6) Tyler Reddick , Ford, 160 9. (7) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 160 10. (10) Austin Theriault #, Ford, 160 11. (11) John Wes Townley , Chevrolet, 160 12. (5) Brandon Jones #, Chevrolet, 160 13. (18) Ray Black Jr . #, Chevrolet, 160 14. (20) Travis Kvapil , Chevrolet, 160 15. (17) Tyler Young , Chevrolet, 160 16. (21) Tyler Tanner , Chevrolet, 159 17. (28) Ryan Ellis , Chevrolet, 157 18. (23) Timmy Hill , Chevrolet, 157 19. (27) Jordan Anderson , Chevrolet, 156 20. (25) Jennifer Jo Cobb , Chevrolet, 156 21. (3) Matt Crafton , Toyota, Accident, 151 22. (24) Korbin Forrister #, Chevrolet, 148 23. (1) Erik Jones #, Toyota, Electrical, 145 24. (26) Tommy Regan , Chevrolet, Electrical, 108 25. (8) Matt Tifft , Toyota, Accident, 92 26. (29) Norm Benning , Chevrolet, Brakes, 56 27. (19) Justin Boston #, Toyota, Accident, 51 28. (16) Mason Mingus , Chevrolet, Accident, 51 29. (22) Justin Jennings , Chevrolet, Brakes, 26 30. (31) Michael Affarano (i), Chevrolet, Brakes, 13 31. (30) Adam Edwards , Chevrolet, Brakes, 6 32. (32) Joey Gattina, Chevrolet, Engine, 0 Average Speed of Race Winner: 96.97 mph. Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 03 Mins, 45 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.871 Seconds. Caution Flags: 6 for 35 laps. Lead Changes: 9 among 5 drivers. Lap Leaders: E. Jones # 1-55; M. Crafton 56-62; E. Jones # 63-82; M. Crafton 83-93; J. Sauter 94-97; C. Custer 98-110; E. Jones # 111-119; M. Crafton 120-150; T. Reddick 151-154; C. Custer 155-160. Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): E. Jones # 3 times for 84 laps; M. Crafton 3 times for 49 laps; C. Custer 2 times for 19 laps; T. Reddick 1 time for 4 laps; J. Sauter 1 time for 4 laps. Top 10 in Points: M. Crafton - 329; T. Reddick - 317; J. Sauter - 299; E. Jones # - 296; J. Townley - 260; C. Hayley # - 254; S. Gallagher # - 251; D. Hemric # - 246; T. Peters - 245; B. Kennedy - 238.
Erik Jones takes the checkered flag at Iowa Speedway in the American Ethanol 200, holding off Brandon Jones, Matt Crafton and Tyler Reddick. Jones led 112 laps in the race.
17-year-old will compete in two more 2014 Camping World Truck Series races Brandon Jones is joining GMS Racing to run two more NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season. Jones will pilot the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado in the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 25 as well as the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 7. Shane Huffman will serve as crew chief. "I couldn't be more excited to continue our NCWTS efforts this season with GMS Racing at Martinsville and Phoenix ," Jones said in a release. "The opportunity to start our relationship at a familiar track like Martinsville is a great benefit and I'm incredibly excited to tackle Phoenix for the first time. GMS Racing has had impressive performances this year and I can't wait to get back on track working with Shane Huffman and the entire organization." Jones has made six previous Camping World Truck Series starts in his career, including three this year, all for Turner Scott Motorsports. His best finish was a fourth-place result at Dover this past spring. Jones has made two previous starts at Martinsville and has an average finish of 17.0 at the track. The 17-year-old Atlanta native competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East circuit this season and finished fourth in the final standings. He won his first K&N Pro Series East race at Iowa Speedway in August. Huffman served as the crew chief for most of his races on that circuit and has also been the crew chief for all three of Jones' starts this season in the Truck Series. "Everyone at GMS Racing is thrilled to welcome Brandon into the fold of the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado," Nic Moncher, the general manager of GMS Racing, said in a team release. "He has shown a great deal of talent this season across every series he has competed in, and we're both looking forward to great performances together at both Martinsville and Phoenix . Brandon has all the tools you like to see in a young driver and he will be a great asset to our Truck Series program." This season, GMS Racing has fielded a full-time truck for Joey Coulter (No. 21), while Max Gresham and Spencer Gallagher have split time in the No. 23 entry. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule