Jones Keeps Momentum Rolling, Wins First K&N Race at Iowa

NEWTON, Iowa (August 2, 2014) - Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) looked to get back to victory lane as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) returned to Iowa Speedway for the second and final East vs. West showdown of 2014. Friday got started in the right way for TSM, as all five drivers qualified inside the top 12 for the Autolite Iridium XP 150. The night ended on a strong note for Brandon Jones, as the 17-year-old captured his first-career NKNPSE victory at Iowa Speedway. Scott Heckert, Ben Rhodes and Kaz Grala followed Jones with solid top-10 runs, while Cameron Hayley suffered from handling issues throughout the night, hindering the No. 98's finish.

Brandon Jones:

Jones entered the Autolite Iridium XP 150 with a ton of momentum in recent weeks as the 17-year-old has been successful in capturing two ARCA Racing Series victories. Jones looked poised to continue that as he qualified for the Autolite Iridium XP 150 in the eighth position. When the race began, Jones showed great poise while looking to make his way through the field in the 150-lap race. By lap 50, Jones worked up to the sixth position on the racetrack. Ten laps later, Jones was in the top five and looking for more. Another caution just before the midway break shook up the running order for some of the race leaders and when the race resumed on lap 76, Jones ran in the second position. Jones settled into the second spot where he was running when the caution flag waved with just over 20 laps remaining. Jones used this to his advantage, restarting in second and holding strong until lap 142 when the Georgia native took hold of the lead and never looked back. Jones took the No. 33 Wolfpack Energy Services Chevrolet to the lead and held off a late-race charge to capture his first-career NKNPSE victory in his 19th-career NKNPSE start. The win moved Jones to third in the NKNPSE Driver Point standings, just eight points behind the second position.

Brandon Jones on his first-career NKNPSE Victory:

"It's hard to believe the run we've been on lately with the No. 33 team. Between the ARCA wins and now finally grabbing that first K&N win, it's hard to say anything other than how proud I am of this entire Turner Scott Motorsports team. They've been working hard all season long and it feels great to be seeing these results. I'm really looking forward to closing out the K&N season strong and hopefully picking up a couple more wins."

Scott Heckert:

Heckert entered the Autolite Iridium XP 150 with a ton of confidence returning to the track where the 20-year-old recorded a career-best finish of third earlier this season. Heckert started the day by qualifying seventh for the race. Early on during the 150-lap race, the No. 34 Chevrolet settled into seventh, maintaining his position until the midway break came at lap 75. After the break, Heckert began to gain positions, moving to sixth by lap 80 and entering the top five on lap 95. As the laps wound down, Heckert moved into the fourth position before crossing the finish line in fifth. The result gave Heckert his third top-five finish of 2014 and moved him to 11th in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.

Scott Heckert on his top five at Iowa:

"That was a really fun race, and I'm happy for my teammate Brandon Jones. Our car was really good after we made adjustments at the break. My team did an awesome job and I'm really proud of our efforts. Hopefully we can continue to run well as the season begins to wind down."

Ben Rhodes:

Rhodes came into the Autolite Iridium XP 150 with hopes of becoming the first NKNPS driver to sweep both Iowa races in a single season. The day got started off in a good way for Rhodes as the No. 41 started the race in the fourth position. When the race began, Rhodes made a move to get up to the third position. Rhodes worked up to second on lap 44, running quicker lap times than the race leader. By lap 50, the NASCAR Next driver was to the point position and the new race leader. Rhodes remained out front until the midway break, leading 25 laps in total on the day. A caution prior to the midway break proved to be the turning point for the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions team. Rhodes brought the No. 41 down pit road a lap earlier than NASCAR allowed for the midway break, which led to him and several other cars being forced to restart at the rear of the field. Rhodes didn't falter, however, as the race resumed on lap 76 and he went to work from the 29th position. By lap 95, Rhodes was up to 18th and running quick lap times. By lap 120, Rhodes was back in the top 10 and looking for more. Rhodes worked up to seventh as the caution flew with just over 20 laps remaining. Rhodes maintained his position, bringing the No. 41 Chevy home in the seventh position. The top-10 finish gave Rhodes his 10th top-10 in 2014 and extended his NKNPSE Driver Point Standings lead to 71 points over TSM teammate Cameron Hayley.

Ben Rhodes on his top-10 run:

"It was a tough night for my Alpha Energy Solutions team, but we still showed strength. I feel like we had the car to beat all night, but after the confusion on pit road it just put us too far back to put our Chevy in victory lane. Despite all that, we were able to come back and score a top-10 finish and extend our points lead, so I'm proud of my Turner Scott Motorsports team."

Kaz Grala:

Grala entered the Autolite Iridium XP 150 on the heels of three-straight top 10s. The youngest full-time NKNPSE Driver in the field looked to continue that trend after putting down a qualifying lap good enough to start in the ninth position. When the race began, the 15-year-old slipped back in the field just a bit, falling to 12th by lap 10. Grala continued to run in and around the top 15, until movin back into the top 10 on lap 90. Grala wouldn't fall outside the top-10 from there, as he continued marching forward, moving up to seventh on lap 110. Grala held strong in seventh, until the final restart came on lap 139. Grala fell one position to eighth, where he would eventually finish. The top-10 finish marked the fourth top 10 in a row for Grala and gave him seven top 10s in 2014. Grala moved up to seventh in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.

Kaz Grala on another top-10 finish:

"We had another solid top-10 run for the No. 31 NETTTS/Kiklos Chevy. We were able to run strong all day long and close the deal out for our fourth-straight top 10. I'm looking forward to keeping up this run we've been on lately next weekend at Watkins Glen; hopefully we can make it five in a row."

Cameron Hayley:

Hayley came into Iowa looking to build upon previous success at the track in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. The 18-year-old started the race in the 12th position and quickly settled into the top 15. Unfortunately, Hayley and the No. 98 would battle handling issues throughout the day. By lap 50, Hayley radioed to his crew that he was extremely tight as the No. 98 ran in the 16th position. By the midway break, Hayley was running in the 18th position while the No. 98 crew went to work looking to improve Hayley's handling. Hayley continued to battle in and around the top 15 for the remainder of the race, ultimately finishing 19th overall and 15th in the NKNPSE. He remains second in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.

Cameron Hayley on his finish at Iowa:

"Overall, this was a pretty tough day for the No. 98 Cabinets by Hayley team. We just couldn't get the handle we needed all day long and it affected us from start to finish. I really thought coming into this weekend that we were going to have a car that could contend for the win, but it just wasn't meant to be. I am looking forward to getting onto the road courses next weekend at Watkins Glen; hopefully we can rebound there with a strong run."

The NKNPSE heads to Watkins Glen next weekend for the 13th race of the 2014 season.