In his sixth start at Bristol Motor Speedway, Chase Briscoe was able to collect his ninth career NASCAR Xfinity Series win and better his second-place finish at the 0.533-mile short track in June.
“I was worried. Our car was really good on the long run, I couldn’t get going, those guys were so far ahead,” Briscoe said.
“The last 15 laps our car came to life, I figured something out. We had to root and gouge our way up there, that’s what Bristol is all about.
“If we could end up second in points and win the race, we’d have the same amount of playoff points as (Cindric). Mission accomplished.”
With six laps to go in Friday night’s Food City 300, Briscoe passed Austin Cindric who lost his power steering in the closing laps to win the final race of the regular Xfinity Series season.
Kaulig Racing’s Ross Chastain got by Cindric also and finished second.
Cindric placed third, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-five.
Anthony Alfredo claimed sixth ahead of Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, Jeb Burton and Riley Herbst to complete the top-10.
Unofficially, Briscoe heads to Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway for the opening round of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs tied with the regular season champion at 2,050 points apiece.
The rest of the Playoff grid is as follows for third through 12th: Justin Allgaier (2,033 points), Noah Gragson (2,025 points), Brandon Jones (2,020 points), Justin Haley (2,018 points), Harrison Burton (2,014 points), Ross Chastain (2,010 points), Ryan Sieg (2,002 points), Michael Annett (2,002 points), Riley Herbst (2,001 points) and Brandon Brown (2,000 points).
Here are my main takeaways.
Allgaier dominated again, doesn’t win
Justin Allgaier has to wonder what he ever did to piss off Bristol. The JR Motorsports driver led over 100 laps on the high banked Tennessee oval for the fourth straight race but like the other three, he didn’t win.
Allgaier swept both stages for his series leading 13th and 14th stage wins of 2020. He also swept the weekend last week at Richmond. He led a race high 127 of 300 laps on Friday night too. It’s just that he only finished fifth.
Well, following a slow pit stop after his Stage 2 win, he restarted the race in third. He caught lap traffic at the wrong time and made it three wide in Turn 3 but had to get off the throttle and lost three spots on track. Without track position, he struggled to regain it.
It was his fifth top eight in his last seven Bristol starts including nine of the last 12, but he just has yet to win in that span.
He paced the field for 138, 131 and 156 laps prior but also finished 30th, 8th and 18th in those races too.
Chastain emotional after 2nd playoff place run
Ross Chastain has been so close to victory. Friday night was his fifth runner up of 2020, three of which coming in the last six races on the year. He’s just not won too which made him emotional on Friday night.
He thought he had a car capable of winning. He led 117 of 300 laps. He was fifth in Stage 1, fourth in Stage 2 and found himself bumping and banging himself towards a potential victory in the end. He came up just .651 seconds short.
He hasn’t won since Daytona last July (7/5/19). That’s 30 starts ago. He has had 23 top 10s this season though, 18 in his last 19 tries.
He’s more than capable of going on a run this postseason now.
Cindric hangs on for 3rd
Austin Cindric took the lead on the final restart and set sail on what would have been his first Bristol triumph. Instead, his power steering went out on his No. 22 Ford while leading with just a handful laps left.
I’m shocked he held on as long as he did, giving way of the lead with six laps left. Still, he finished third for his 10th top four in his last 13 tries on the season as the regular season champion enters the playoffs as the odds on favorite.