Early penalty on pit road, late race Hail Mary costs Briscoe Sunday in Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, VA — Everyone was raving about Chase Briscoe on Saturday. They felt like he truly had a potential to win Sunday’s Xfinity 500 and stamp his name into the Championship 4 as a result. Briscoe had a fast car on short runs as well as long runs. With a third starting spot, how much damage could he do?

Early on, it looked like a lot. Briscoe finished 5th in the opening stage. However, that’s also to where his championship hopes ended too. Briscoe and everyone else hit pit lane for the first time of the day on Lap 133. Unfortunately, his gas can flew off as he was exiting his stall and slid into the stall in front. That’s a penalty.

Briscoe had to go to the tail end of the field and never made his way back to the front. With Sunday’s race being difficult to pass again and Briscoe’s No. 14 Ford being stuck in dirty air, his race winning chances and championship hopes were essentially over from the start of the second stage on.

However, they had the opportunity late to throw a Hail Mary. Landon Cassill brought out the 6th and final caution on Lap 466. It was a shot for Briscoe who was running 9th at the time to do the opposite as those in front. All 8 cars in front hit pit lane on Lap 470.

Briscoe and his SHR teammate stayed out and shared the front row. It looked like a genius move. Unfortunately, inside of 10 to go, his aged tires showed their condition – old. Those on 4 tires caught him and despite leading 25 laps once inheriting the lead, he fell like an anchor and would come home 9th.

“Yeah, I probably needed less laps, that would have been nice,” Briscoe said. “If I would have known that move Ross did, I move done that (laughter).

“Yeah, we were obviously on a lot older tire there. Thought there for a little bit I was going to be okay. I just fell off a cliff pretty hard. I should have used the wall. Pretty good deal to use there.

“I thought about it in the past but was never brave enough to do it. I couldn’t hold those guys off with new tires. I just didn’t have the forward drive or even the side to hold them off. Knew when the 6 got to me, I was going to be in trouble. At that point I was so much slower than those guys, they were just able to drive through me.

“Proud of our team. We were in position at the end to potentially capitalize on it. Just the penalty at the beginning buried us. Win as a team, lose as a team. These guys have kept me in the Playoffs giving me positions on pit road.

“Go to Phoenix next week and see if we can win.”

Still, Briscoe can hang his hat on a solid year that saw him score his first career win, ironically enough it being in March at Phoenix, as well as advancing all the way to the third round of the postseason.

He endured a rough stretch of 1 top 5 and a pair of top 10’s in a 25 race span. However, he still got out of the first round of the playoffs and finished 5th, 10th and 9th respectively in the Round of 12. That got him to this point that he was in. Briscoe was 4th in Vegas but 36th in Homestead. Now a day like today ended his hopes.

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