Brandon Jones Returning to SLM Roots at CRA SpeedFestScott Menlen
Speed 51 Story – This week is one of the busiest weeks of the year for the drivers of NASCAR’s three national series and there isn’t even a scheduled race on the calendar, at least for most. The rigors of Media Week has been at an all-time high with procedural changes ahead for NASCAR in 2017, but a few drivers including Richard Childress Racing Xfinity Series regular Brandon Jones are taking a step back into the short track world as a number of the top drivers head to Cordele, Georgia for CRA SpeedFest 2017.
The annual non-points big money show at Crisp Motorsports Park’s Watermelon Capital Speedway for Super Late Model and Pro Late Model teams is a chance to race against drivers from all over the land to come together and go head-to-head. It is also an opportunity for NASCAR competitors to reconnect with their short track routes before heading to Daytona Beach for Florida Speedweeks. Brandon Jones said he is pumped not to just race a Late Model once again, but to do it close to home.
“I’m absolutely excited, I think it’s been two years since I climbed in one, and I’m pumped to get back and have some fun. Coming back to the hometown area there, I grew up about two hours away from there so it’s pretty close,” Jones told Speed51.com.
While he’s looking forward to being back on home soil, it’s an opportunity that he would take just about anywhere.
“I just like racing Late Models and going to any short track. Racing in NASCAR you don’t get a whole lot of that stuff, usually you get a lot of mile-and-half, two mile tracks. Coming back to little bullrings and getting to battle the guys you grew up racing with is a lot of fun.”
The weekend has also become an opportunity for Jones to come together with the group that helped him get his start in the sport, including former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Cale Gale.
“It’s going to be Cale Gale and his dad Bubba. He got me started out in racing. Fury is going to build the Late Model, the chassis and everything. Cale is going to come over and be the crew chief for us.”
While Jones is looking forward to visiting family and friends while having a good bit of fun, winning is a top goal, but he knows it will not be an easy prospect, especially with a familiar NASCAR foe joining the party for the weekend.
“I checked the entry list last weekend and there’s a lot of good cars with a couple of guys I’ve been racing with a couple years, like Erik Jones who’s coming in. It’ll be also cool to see Sterling Marlin run the Pro race.”
Jones also hopes that SpeedFest will give himself a tiny bit of a kick start as the NASCAR season continues to draw near.
“It’s what we were thinking about, the reason behind us doing this is to try and get back in the car and get that racing feel up. Don’t lose your ground, lose your guard and all that stuff.”
While the NASCAR season is stuffed full events, Jones has also hinted at the possibility of running the SLM again on an off weekend during the year and maybe before the season during one of the February events at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).
CRA SpeedFest takes place on Sunday, January 29 at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia. The race will air live on Speed51 TV and can be purchased for $24.99 by clicking here.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Brandon Jones Facebook