Briscoe dominates Vegas Xfinity race

Chase Briscoe began his 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday night just as he has competed so much of the regular season – out front.

Briscoe led a dominating and career-high 164 of the 200-laps, and swept both stage victories in the Alsco 300 playoff opener en route to his series best eighth victory of the season. He joins NASCAR legends Sam Ard and Jack Ingram as the only drivers to amass eight wins in the opening 27 races of an Xfinity Series season.

Briscoe’s No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford beat Las Vegas native Noah Gragson’s No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevy by a healthy 1.370-seconds – with Briscoe forced to hold off the field on a late, furious race restart with 10 laps remaining making a strong statement about his championship intentions.

“Just didn’t have enough for the 98 [Briscoe], a lot of race cars out here and one space shuttle,” Gragson said of Briscoe.

Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 Menards/NIBCO Ford, Chase Briscoe, driver of the #98 FIELDS Ford, and Noah Gragson, driver of the #9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber Camo Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300 (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

The victory earns the 25-year-old Indiana-native Briscoe an automatic bid into the second round of the playoffs with two races – at Talladega Superspeedway and the Charlotte Roval – still remaining in this opening playoff round. It’s the first time in his two seasons at the Xfinity Series level that Briscoe has swept both stage victories en route to a race win.

Chase Briscoe, driver of the #98 FIELDS Ford, Noah Gragson, driver of the #9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber Camo Chevrolet, and Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 Menards/NIBCO Ford, race during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300 (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Daniel Hemric finished third, one of only two non-Playoff drivers among the top 10 at Vegas. Playoff competitors Justin Allgaier and Ryan Sieg rounded out the top five. Regular season champion Austin Cindric was sixth, followed by Michael Annett, Anthony Alfredo (the other non-playoff driver in the top 10), Harrison Burton and Justin Haley.

Playoff drivers Brandon Jones and Riley Herbst finished 11th and 12th. Brandon Brown and Ross Chastain finished 15th and 16th – Chastain’s 15 laps led second to Briscoe’s effort.

While restarts were dramatic as drivers made daring moves to challenge Briscoe and negotiate their places, Briscoe was inevitably able to hold his place out front. He led by more than four seconds with 25 laps remaining and had increased that advantage to more than six seconds with 20 laps remaining when he radioed to his crew that he felt a small vibration. He was reminded of his healthy lead and reassured it was his race to manage – that all was okay. And indeed it was for Briscoe.

“First off, incredible car by everybody at Stewart-Haas and that made my job way too easy, honestly,” Briscoe said, acknowledging, “We’ve had a lot of wins this year, but this was by far our most dominant car. I’m so glad I can sleep a little bit easer this week going into Talladega and the [Charlotte] Roval and just enjoy.”

“I knew this team is fully capable of achieving that and even more. I just can’t say thank you enough to [team owners] Gene Haas and Tony Stewart and everybody that lets me drive these race cars.

“It’s been an unbelievable season and we’ve still got six more wins to try and gain and a championship so that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the #98 FIELDS Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The outcome gives Briscoe the automatic ticket to Round 2 and leaves Cindric leading the standings, 17 points ahead of Gragson. Allgaier is next, 25 points behind Cindric. Sieg and Burton hold the seventh and eighth spots in the standings with Chastain two points behind Burton for the final transfer position for the Round of 8.

Annett is 10th in points, 10 points out of the final position, while Herbst is 14 points back and Brown is 20 points back heading into next Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300 at Talladega Superspeedway (4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Post-race inspection notes: The Nos. 10 (Chastain), 18 (Herbst), 20 (Burton) and 22 (Cindric) each had one lug nut not safe and secure. The fines assessed to those teams crew chiefs will be on the penalty report that is typically released on the Tuesday following a race weekend.

Race Results

Fin Str No. Driver Team Laps Status Led
1 1 98 Chase Briscoe (P) FIELDS Ford 200 Running 164
2 6 9 Noah Gragson (P) Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber Camo Chevrolet 200 Running 0
3 14 8 Daniel Hemric South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet 200 Running 0
4 3 7 Justin Allgaier (P) BRANDT Chevrolet 200 Running 0
5 12 39 Ryan Sieg (P) Chevrolet 200 Running 3
6 2 22 Austin Cindric (P) Menards/NIBCO Ford 200 Running 10
7 13 1 Michael Annett (P) Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 200 Running 8
8 8 21 Anthony Alfredo Sim Seats Chevrolet 200 Running 0
9 5 20 Harrison Burton # (P) Dex Imaging Toyota 200 Running 0
10 10 11 Justin Haley (P) LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 200 Running 0
11 7 19 Brandon Jones (P) Toyota Service Centers Toyota 200 Running 0
12 9 18 Riley Herbst # (P) Monster Energy Toyota 200 Running 0
13 15 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet 200 Running 0
14 20 2 Brett Moffitt(i) Cape Cod Ready Mix Chevrolet 200 Running 0
15 11 68 Brandon Brown (P) Jabs Construction Chevrolet 200 Running 0
16 4 10 Ross Chastain (P) Chevy Accessories Chevrolet 200 Running 15
17 29 61 Austin Hill(i) Weins Canada Toyota 199 Running 0
18 18 92 Josh Williams Sleep Well/Silverton Casino Chevrolet 199 Running 0
19 32 93 Myatt Snider # Superior Essex Chevrolet 199 Running 0
20 26 78 Stefan Parsons SOKAL Digital Toyota 199 Running 0
21 25 15 Colby Howard Project Hope Foundation Chevrolet 198 Running 0
22 22 44 Tommy Joe Martins AAN Adjusters Chevrolet 198 Running 0
23 24 4 Jesse Little # JD Motorsports Chevrolet 198 Running 0
24 17 7 Gray Gaulding(i) Chevrolet 197 Running 0
25 31 74 Bayley Currey(i) Chevrolet 197 Running 0
26 28 6 BJ McLeod JD Motorsports Chevrolet 197 Running 0
27 27 8 Joe Graf Jr # Bucked Up Energy Chevrolet 196 Running 0
28 21 13 Timmy Hill(i) Toyota 196 Running 0
29 30 90 Dexter Bean Sleep Well/Alpha Prime Chevrolet 195 Running 0
30 23 5 Matt Mills JF Electric Chevrolet 194 Running 0
31 34 52 Kody Vanderwal # The Rolling Home Show with Bill Malone Chevrolet 191 Running 0
32 16 36 Alex Labbe Can-Am Chevrolet 179 Electrical 0
33 19 0 Jeffrey Earnhardt Forever Lawn Chevrolet 166 Running 0
34 35 99 Vinnie Miller Koolbox Ice Chevrolet 51 Brakes 0
35 36 66 Chad Finchum SMITHBILT HOMES Toyota 36 Suspension 0
36 33 47 Kyle Weatherman Mutt and Jeff Porkskins Chevrolet 7 Accident 0