Sunday, February 5, 2023

Brandon Jones Scoots by Gray and Smith to Steal One in ARCA at The Glen

Brandon Jones collects his third ARCA Menards Series win of the season in a wild finish at Watkins Glen. Screengrab from FS1.

Brandon Jones, in Brandon Jones fashion, did what he needed to do to win Friday’s ARCA Menards Series General Tire Delivers 100 at Watkins Glen International. What did Jones do? He ran his race and led only the final lap.

Sammy Smith dominated the race from the drop of the green flag, but it was his biggest competition in Taylor Gray that slammed into him on the final restart after being followed tightly into the corner by Jones, and handed the lead over to the No. 81 Toyota.

The race actually started out very uneventful, with the first 11 laps going green with no incidents.

That was until Rita Thomason spun out in the bus stop and stalled her No. 06 race car, leading to a caution. But it was what happened just before the caution flew that caught everyone’s eye.

In Thomason’s attempt to get back onto the racing surface, she pulled directly into the bus stop area right as Dale Quarterley is driving by. The two nearly had a violent t-bone crash.

Once that cleared, it was Smith, who retained the lead but not without a fight. Taylor Gray was able to keep solid ground on the leader until the race break at lap 22.

Connor Mosack and Brandon Jones were in the midst of a battle for third at this point, which almost went down in flames as they ran into the No. 06 of Thomason in the esses.

All bets were off after the final race break of the day, as drivers would begin to beat and bang for position with just 16 laps to go.

Smith, Gray, and Jones continued to sit an even distance from each other with nine laps left as a huge crash took place. Chris Werth and Amber Balcaen came together and the Werth’s No. 71 would get pinned underneath Balcaen’s No. 30 car.

Balcaen was visibly upset with Werth after the incident.

On the restart with four laps to go, Mosack and Jones made contact again, and this time it sent the 23 out of contention.

Things continued to get heated as Gray put the door to Smith in attempt to take the lead just as the caution came out.

But as we saw that wasn’t the end of things, as the two would come together again and as a result neither of them would win the race.

Video: Taylor Gray Nudged by Brandon Jones, Cleans Sammy Smith Out of Lead on Last lap at Watkins Glen

Brandon Jones scooted on by to collect his third ARCA Menards Series win of the 2022 season.

Nick Sanchez got through to finish second, a much needed result as his points lead has now extended to 11 points over Daniel Dye and 16 over Rajah Caruth.

Caruth, who came into the race second in the standings, had a flat right rear tire, which was followed by a pit road speeding penalty, which led to an 11th-place finish for the Rev Racing driver.

Jesse Love quietly finished in the third position, a good clean run for himself and the Venturini Motorsports team.

Dye and Smith rounded out the top five, who both surely have different feelings on how their day went. Dye’s finishing position was the highest spot he was in all day, compared to Smith who led 39 of 41 laps and didn’t get the victory.

Parker Chase brought it home sixth, and Austin Wayne Self – running double duty this weekend – finished seventh.

Gray, Quarterley, and Connor Jones rounded out the top ten finishers.

It was an uneventful race, which turned quite eventful. Now it feel as though the high tempers will carry over to the ARCA Menards Series’ next event in just TWO DAYS on the dirt in Illinois.

Here are the final race results from Friday’s ARCA Menards Series General Tire Delivers 100 at Watkins Glen International:

FinNo.DriverMakeLapsDiffBest LapStatus
181Brandon JonesToyota41---75.137Running
22Nick SanchezChevrolet410.60075.323Running
320Jesse LoveToyota410.72475.739Running
443Daniel DyeChevrolet411.31676.428Running
518Sammy SmithToyota412.15774.935Running
615Parker ChaseToyota413.12276.552Running
732Austin Wayne SelfChevrolet413.70676.868Running
817Taylor GrayFord414.32275.031Running
94Dale QuarterleyChevrolet414.48976.947Running
1055Conner JonesToyota414.62076.734Running
116Rajah CaruthChevrolet414.80776.749Running
1211Stanton BarrettToyota415.15578.127Running
1335Greg Van AlstChevrolet416.25979.222Running
1425Toni BreidingerToyota418.42980.349Running
1503Casey CardenFord4121.09585.764Running
1623Connor MosackChevrolet383 laps75.265Running
1712Ed PompaToyota374 laps80.923Running
1871Christopher WerthFord329 laps79.610Out
1930Amber BalceanFord329 laps80.482Out
2006Rita ThomasonChevrolet3110 laps94.302Out
217Dr Ed BullFord2714 laps86.388Out
2273Andy JankowiakChevrolet338 laps80.327Out
2301Zachary TinkleFord239 laps85.684Out
2448Brad SmithChevrolet239 laps97.698Out
2510Tim MonroeChevrolet140 laps109.354Out
RJ Starcevic
RJ Starcevic
Owner/founder of @NASCARReport on Instagram - Host of The Drivers Meeting Podcast - Contributor for

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