ARCA: Brandon Jones Brings First Series Victory to Ranier Racing with MDM


BROOKLYN, Mich. – It’s been quite the foray into the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for the newly formed Ranier Racing with MDM team. The team went to victory lane in Friday night’s Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway in just their second race of ARCA competition.

Brandon Jones started fourth in the No. 8 Valvoline-Menards Chevrolet and was running in the second position, tracking down leader Chase Briscoe when the first caution flew at Lap 28. As the leaders hit pit road, the Ranier Racing with MDM pit crew had a quick stop to give Jones the lead.

Briscoe would regain the lead before Jones took it back on Lap 38 and led until green flag pit stops on Lap 79, where Kyle Weatherman stayed out and led the next 17 laps.

Jones retook the lead for the final time at Lap 97 as Weatherman rank the tank dry in his No. 58 St. Charles Glass Ford. Jones was able to cruise to the victory by 6.557 seconds over ARCA point leader Chase Briscoe.

“I really wasn’t too worried about the 58 (Weatherman),” Jones said. “I really didn’t know their game plan or what fuel cycle they were on, but I was definitely confident in our game plan. We had an awesome Menards-Valvoline Chevy all week.”

It was the third career ARCA victory for the 19-year-old driver in 15 starts, but his first since winning in his first two series starts in 2014. Even thought Jones has competed across a variety of series in the past several seasons, Friday marked his first race at the two-mile track in the Irish Hills of Michigan.

“It’s awesome, man. I’m so glad to be back in victory lane. It was a couple years ago we got our first two starts, first two wins in ARCA,” said Jones, who is pulling double duty and also competing in Saturday’s XFINITY Series event at Michigan in the No. 33 Nexteer Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.

While it was a big day for Jones, it was an even bigger day for the team.

In 2016, MDM-Hillman Racing, a joint partnership between NASCAR veteran Mike Hillman and Virginia businessmen Doug Fuller and Matt Miller combined operations with longtime driver development consultant and spotter Lorin Ranier, the third-generation owner of Ranier Racing.

The team is fielding entries for Spencer Davis and Kyle Benjamin in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East as well as running select ARCA races with Jones and Benjamin. In the team’s ARCA debut last weekend at Pocono, Jones finished third and Benjamin finished sixth.

On Friday at Michigan, Benjamin backed up his Pocono performance by leading one lap in the No. 28 FEVR Chevrolet and finishing third.

In just four ARCA starts with Jones and Benjamin behind the wheel, the team has an impressive average finish of 3.25.

The strong early performance doesn’t come as a surprise to the 18-year-old Benjamin.

“I kind of figured we would be. All the guys that are in the shop are so smart. It shows in the K&N Series too. We bring competitive cars in K&N and now in ARCA too the two times we’ve started. It doesn’t really matter what series we are in as we always have a really strong car and I’m just thankful to be in the equipment I’m in.”

What has led to this team being so good, so quickly?

“You’ve got Lorin Ranier, Matt Miller, and Doug Fuller, they’re great guys. They’re really committed to building fast and competitive race cars. They run really, really competitive in the K&N East Series week in and week out with Kyle Benjamin and Spencer Davis,” Jones’ crew chief Mike Hillman, Jr. said.

“Seeing a bunch of good, old school racers and people that have a lot of heart and want to be competitive and do what it takes to win races, to get them their first win and to project this team forward is pretty awesome.

“It’s a little group of guys. Everybody works really, really hard as a team on everybody’s vehicles. There aren’t guys dedicated to any of the stuff that we do. It’s pretty awesome to hang out with these guys and get them their first ARCA win.”

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About Brian Eberly

Brian Eberly (@beberly18) is a Certified Public Accountant and Manager of Field Accounting at a transportation company, but when he isn’t at the office you can most likely find him at a racetrack, watching a race on television, or following the action on social media. Eberly became interested in NASCAR in the nineties when Jeff Gordon was dominating the scene, and became hooked when he attended his first race with his dad in 1999 at Michigan International Speedway. Eberly has been writing about NASCAR since 2012 for various websites. An Illinois native and Northern Illinois University graduate, Eberly travels throughout the Midwest covering racing events in multiple series. When not following racing, he can be found on the golf course (usually trying to find his golf ball) and following the Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs, Bulls, and of course the NIU Huskies.

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