Brandon Jones seals Xfinity Series pole at Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Brandon Jones bolstered his chances of keeping his playoff run alive, winning the pole position in Friday’s qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Martinsville Speedway.

Jones posted a best lap of 95.482 mph in the final round of time trials at the historic .526-mile track, putting his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the first starting spot for Saturday’s Dead On Tools 250 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, Peacock, MRN, SiriusXM). His fifth pole of the season was the eighth of his Xfinity career.

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Sheldon Creed will share the front row after sealing the second-fastest lap at 95.333 mph in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Sammy Smith landed the third-fastest lap with title contenders Ty Gibbs fourth and Noah Gragson completing the top five.

Jones is currently last in the Xfinity Series Playoffs standings, with a 38-point deficit to the provisional cut line. The 250-lapper is the last race in the postseason’s Round of 8, and Jones’ lone win this season came at Martinsville back in April.

The field will be whittled down to the four drivers who will race for the championship Nov. 5 at Phoenix Raceway.

“I don’t think that there’s any more added stress or anything there,” Jones said. “I mean, when it comes down to strategy, the race becomes very simple. You know, now that we don’t have to go out there and maybe run around for points, and at the end, you’re panicked to try to win the race. I mean, we have one goal in mind and it is to win the race. I don’t see a really a scenario that we points our way into this.”

Austin Hill did not post a qualifying speed after his Richard Childress Racing crew pushed the No. 21 Chevy back to the garage with a radiator issue. Hill currently ranks sixth out of the remaining title-eligible drivers.

Daniel Hemric also did not register a lap in qualifying after a crash during the preceding practice session. Hemric posted the sixth-fastest lap in practice, but his No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet broke loose entering Turn 1 and made sizable contact with the outside retaining wall.

Dawson Cram and Ronnie Bassett Jr. failed to qualify.