Chase Briscoe came into Thursday night’s Shady Rays 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta fresh off back-to-back victories in the series’ previous two races at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang showed that strength again at Kentucky, climbing from his seventh-place starting spot to lead twice for five laps before finishing fourth.
The result was not indicative of the drive, as Briscoe positioned himself for a potential third-straight win when he lined up second to fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric for a lap-125 restart. Unable to complete the pass for the lead, Briscoe slipped back to second.
But another caution that sent the race into overtime gave Briscoe one last shot at victory. When the green flag dropped on the race’s final restart on lap 134, Briscoe was in the lead and door-to-door with Cindric until the rear of Briscoe’s No. 98 machine stepped out on him. The 25-year-old racer from Mitchell, Indiana, gathered his Mustang back up, but slid back to fourth as Cindric motored away to the win. Still, the performance kept Briscoe atop the championship standings with a 16-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Noah Gragson.
“The second to last restart, I almost cleared Austin and then he got back around me,” Briscoe said after scoring a top five at one of his not so good tracks he said. “Then at the end of that last restart, I went down there and the same thing happened. I thought I was going be able to clear him and I just got too loose and about wrecked the thing.
“I don’t know if I just made the right-rear mad or what, because I was literally wrecking both ends after that. I felt like this was our worst car of the year as far as balance and speed goes, and we were still able to at least be in the hunt.
“We’ll go on to tomorrow and try to get our Ford Performance Racing School Mustang back out front. I feel like Kentucky and Texas are our two worst mile-and-a-half tracks, and those are the next two, so we’ll try to build on it and just try to learn a little bit and get better.”
Briscoe, earned his eighth top-five of the season and his 22nd top-five in 64 career Xfinity Series starts. He also finished third in Stage 2 to earn eight bonus points.