You could forgive Brandon Jones if his attention is somewhat divided as the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs approach.
Jones is trying to win a championship in the No. 19 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing, where he as driven for five season and where he has accumulated all six of his career victories.
But Jones also knows that he’ll be racing for a new owner and manufacturer in 2023 when he succeeds Noah Gragson in the seat in the No. 9 Chevrolet at JR Motorsports.
“It’s a little difficult,” Jones said of the challenge of deferring thoughts of his future plans during his current run for the title. “Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to pull information over. Obviously, I’ve built such a large notebook at Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I came into that organization as a 15th-place driver, and now I’m a race-winning driver. No doubt in my mind that’s how far we’ve come at Joe Gibbs Racing, how much information they’ve been able to give me.”
Jones wasn’t talking about taking proprietary notes from Joe Gibbs Racing, merely his own personal notes on how to drive each racetrack.
“You end up with such a large notebook with these companies, and they’re all intertwined with e-mails and different things. So, it’s like ‘How do I get all MY notes?’ I don’t care what they have on the car and stuff—we’ll figure that out at the next place, and they’re obviously really fast at JRM, so it’s not like I’m pulling information that they’re using.
“But it’s all my notes—it’s all my lift points and my way of racing the tracks that I’ve got to try and take now and get into my own documents now that I can start sharing with them.”
Jones is five-time winner and eight-year veteran in the series who has qualified for the NXS Playoffs in six of the last seven seasons. In addition to his five wins – including a popular victory earlier this year at Martinsville Speedway – Jones claims 35 top-five and 97 top-10 finishes, and a best points finish of sixth in 2020.
Jones has also found Victory Lane at every level of NASCAR national series competition in which he’s raced. The Atlanta native lays claim to eight ARCA wins, a K&N East-West Challenge victory and a Truck Series triumph in 2020.
Best Move For Jones
Another year with Joe Gibbs Racing wasn’t necessarily going to do wonders for Jones. It would have been Year 6 for him there. With no real room to move up into a JGR ride on the Cup level and Jones unfortunately not being a splashy name to land at 23XI Racing, remaining with JGR was going to make him and Xfinity Series lifer.
Going to JRM could be the breakout that he’s been long searching for. This 9 car has won three championships (2014, 2017-18) and tallied 21 of the company’s 70 overall victories since 2014. If he can continue that success, Jones is young enough to still find a Cup ride.
There’s more Chevrolet teams than there are Toyota and this move could land him a promotion finally.
Risky Move Too
This move though is a make or break in a way. If he doesn’t thrive in this ride, then there’s no reason to even think Cup level because it will show everyone that maybe he is an Xfinity Series lifer. This is one of the top rides in the series and Jones has to be thinking Championship 4’s now.
2023 will be Year No. 8 in this series and with that much experience, even in the first year with this team, he’s got to win multiple races in the regular season and find a way to vie for a final four berth.