June 11th, 2015
June marks a special time for high school seniors across the country as graduation day nears. With his high school career behind him, Richard Childress Racing driver Brandon Jones will not celebrate in the traditional way. Instead, he will trade his cap and gown for a helmet and firesuit this weekend, as his Lake Norman High School classmates walk across the stage to accept their diplomas on Saturday, June 13.
The 2015 graduate recalls his favorite class at Lake Norman High School saying, “Psychology was a lot of fun. It was a difficult course and I had to work really hard, but the teacher was great. Our class had a lot of fun with it.”
While attending his last semester of classes, Brandon was required to participate in a Career and Technical Education class as part of the curriculum to graduate.
What better way to earn school credit, than working on your race cars? Brandon earned his extra credits welding and fabricating at GMS Racing where he drives the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In fact, while his classmates celebrate the end of a life chapter, Brandon will be behind the wheel of the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill.
“I was able to learn a lot while working in the GMS Racing shop,” he noted. “I worked alongside my guys on the No. 33 team and helped them with different projects. A lot of drivers are able to make calls about what they want to do to their race cars, and working in the shop helped me better understand the mechanics of the cars and trucks. That’ll definitely help me talk with the crew chief and decide what we’re going to do with the car as my racing career progresses.”
Even though graduating high school is one of the most exciting days in a young person’s life, there is always something they’ll miss about walking the halls and attending extra-curricular activities. “I think the biggest thing I’m going to miss about high school is the crowd and all the people,” Jones mentioned. “Everyone would always get together and hang out. We’d cut up and laugh. I’m definitely going to miss that.”
Some graduates pack up and head off to college, while others jump into a full-timejob. Brandon will strap into his full-time job behind the wheel of a race car as a NASCAR driver. The 18-year-old competes in four different series, traveling track-to-track competing against some of the best in the country. There’s still a lot to learn for the recent grad; different tracks, engineering set ups, patience and determination.
But, he won’t forget Lake Norman High School. Those three years will stay with him throughout his life.
“For nearly all my high school days, I was balancing the importance of doing well academically with the increasing demands of my racing responsibilities and opportunities. It really taught me a lot about self discipline, time management and how to prioritize things. Along with my studies, those are the things I’ll use forever. But for now, it’s going to be pretty cool to be able to go full-time racing, focus on getting better each week and take what I learned in the classroom and apply it in my everyday life.”