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Brandon Jones survives chaotic final restart to steal ARCA win at Watkins Glen

  • / Updated:
  • Paul Russo 

The ARCA Menards Series treated fans to a spectacular opening race to the 2022 race weekend at Watkins Glen International. In a race dominated by his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Sammy Smith, Brandon Jones came away with the trophy following a last lap dash to the checkered flag.

Smith, who will be competing alongside NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Jones tomorrow, led the majority of the race from pole position. Hot on Smith’s tail the entire event was Taylor Gray. Smith and Gray were on the front row to restart the race with a single lap to go after a late-race caution for debris on track. Smith chose to restart on the outside lane, leaving Gray with the inside. Jones restarted behind Gray and used his front bumper to shove Gray into turn one. The momentum from the shove caused Gray to carry into Smith knocking both racers off-line and out of contention.

After the shove, Jones was able to cruise ahead with the only threat coming from Nick Sanchez. Sanchez was at the bumper of Jones through the bus stop section but couldn’t find the space to pass. Sanchez would have to settle for second place in his Rev Racing Chevy. Jesse Love, Daniel Dye, and Smith rounded out the top five at the end of the 41-lap event.

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New York natives take on the Glen

Three natives of New York took to the track on Friday. Ballston Spa’s Ed Pompa would finish the best of the three, coming home in 17th, four laps down. Christopher Werth from Rochester showed some pace before spinning out with eight laps to go and collecting another car into the turn seven wall. Both drivers walked away, with Werth finishing in 18th. Tonawanda native Andy Jankowiak, an ARCA regular, was only able to turn three laps before retiring with mechanical issues, placing him in 22nd.

Andy Jankowiak throttles down in his 73 machine during practice Friday afternoon. Credit: Staff Photo.

Up next at Watkins Glen International is the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday afternoon. Green flag is at 3 p.m. with television coverage on USA Network. Stay tuned to through the rest of the weekend for coverage from the track!