LONG POND, Pa. – The finish to Sunday morning’s NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway was well worth the wait.
After nine cautions and a marathon hour-and-a-half slog through the 150-mile distance, a back-and-forth battle on a green-white-checkered finish ultimately went the way of Brandon Jones.
Jones weathered the caution-laden event to make a final-lap pass of Sheldon Creed in turn two, driving away from the GMS Racing driver to earn his first Truck Series win in 46 starts.
Though he took the top spot from Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Christian Eckes with 12 to go, after Eckes cut a tire and crashed in turn two, a spin by Tim Viens with six laps left set up the sprint to the finish and put Jones on the front row alongside Austin Hill.
Hill mastered the restart with a big shove from behind, taking the lead from Jones in turn one, but neither of the lead duo counted on Creed getting a major push from Todd Gilliland and shooting the gap between their two trucks going through the iconic Tunnel Turn.
That impressive move gave Creed the lead at the white flag, but Jones was right on the back bumper of the No. 2 Chevrolet with his No. 51 Toyota and ready to pounce.
Jones’ winning move ultimately came in the same place where he lost the lead the lap before, when Creed got loose in turn two and Jones was able to sweep past.
From there, the Atlanta, Ga., driver raced to victory by .864 seconds and became the 13th different driver to win a Truck Series race for Kyle Busch Motorsports in team history.
it was a sigh of relief for Jones, who shook the bridesmaid moniker after five career runner-up finishes in Truck Series competition, including his last two series starts in 2019.
“When I first started racing, I saw the (No.) 51 late model and said I wanted to race with Kyle Busch Motorsports one day and win races. And today we finally did it,” Jones said. “We’ve been close in the past. Menards was on our Tundra, them and Dupont, and those guys do so much for us in our sport.
“That was a heck of a battle and I know it was fun to watch on TV. It was really fun for me there,” Jones continued. “Got a heck of a push there from the 38 (Todd Gilliland); that was really fun. All in all, today was great day and I’m pretty pumped.”
Though it had taken him several years to finally check off winning in the Truck Series, Jones noted that he didn’t feel any extra pressure just from driving for all-time series wins leader and multi-time Truck Series owner champion Kyle Busch.
“It’s not really that much pressure honestly. I think there’s so much that he (Busch) provides for us,” Jones noted. “We were all on a call with him last night after the Cup race and he gave us so much information that led to this win today. It’s a group effort, and I can’t do it by myself; I have to have all that stuff to tie the pieces in.”
Series point leader Austin Hill edged out Creed in a side-by-side battle for second at the finish line, with Creed fading to third after having a shot at his maiden Truck Series score.
“Man, I was just a little tight there (at the end), but we had a really good truck, other than that,” said Creed. “Air is so difficult at Pocono; we saw that when I was leading and the 16 (Hill) couldn’t get around me. I didn’t know what they were going to do, and I had a huge run down the backstretch, and they split and I knew if I stayed behind the 51 (Jones) I’d get tight. So I shot the middle and it worked.
“I gave it away, honestly. I gave him the top on the front straightaway, and that’s where the race was won,” Creed added. “I should have just stayed on top, let him get next to me, then do what he did to me in turn one. But hats off to my guys. We’ve been struggling, honestly … but we finally got a really good truck today and I could race how I wanted.”
Gilliland crossed fourth and Ben Rhodes finished fifth.
Ross Chastain, Brett Moffitt, Stewart Friesen, Tyler Ankrum and Derek Kraus filled out the top 10.
The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season continues July 10 at Kentucky Speedway.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.