Jones announced the news prior to the ARCA Menards Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 27. He confirmed that he will take over the No. 81 JGR Toyota while striving to gain experience at a variety of tracks. Along with Charlotte, his schedule includes Iowa Speedway on June 11, Pocono Raceway on July 22, Watkins Glen International on August 19, and Bristol Motor Speedway on September 15.
“We’re trying to progress to the next level and get to the Cup Series,” Jones said on May 27, quote courtesy of ARCA. “I always have fun coming back down to the ARCA Menards Series. I have a great relationship with Menards and it’s fun to have a race like we did [on Friday] so I could get them back in Victory Lane.”
ALL the latest NASCAR news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on NASCAR newsletter here!
Jones Kicked Off the Schedule With a Strong Performance
Jones explained that the additional races were to gain experience and build confidence. So far, he is off to a strong start after capturing the race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and leading a race-high 33 laps, including the final 30.
Jones kicked off his race weekend by winning the pole for the 100-lap event. Though he did not remain at the front of the pack for very long. Full-time driver Rajah Caruth passed him after the first couple of laps and spent 24 at the front of the pack.
Jones avoided some on-track incidents, one of which involved Nick Sanchez and Caruth. The full-time Xfinity Series driver chased down Venturini Motorsports’ Corey Heim and took the lead on Lap 71. He held on until he captured the checkered flag for the sixth time in the series.
The Experience Will Benefit Jones Later in the Season
The driver of the No. 19 Toyota will use his expanded schedule to gain experience at several important tracks on the Xfinity Series schedule. The races at Pocono and Watkins Glen, in particular, will be important considering that Jones has 11 combined starts at the tracks with four top-10 finishes.
The double-duty weekends at these two tracks, along with Bristol Motor Speedway, all take place near the end of the Xfinity Series regular season. Jones already has a spot in the playoffs based on his win at Martinsville Speedway, but he can use the extra experience to potentially put himself in a better position while pursuing his first wins at these tracks.
Stacking points before the playoffs will be critical for Jones as he aims to contend for a championship. He is currently projected to enter the playoffs as the sixth seed, which would put him above the elimination line during the opening rounds. Adding more points during the regular season would potentially help him chase down Sam Mayer.