Despite starting all the way back in 13th for the final restart, Chase Briscoe got all he could out of his No. 29 Ford over the closing laps at Gateway, bringing home a runner-up finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the second week in a row.
“Just unfortunate circumstances,” Briscoe said. “We were really fast. I thought we had the truck to beat. I kind of didn’t get all I could, I think, getting onto pit road under green and then there at the end, we didn’t think we could beat them without tires, so we went ahead and came down. The first two laps, I had too much front brake dialed into it and I kept locking the wheels up getting into (Turn) 1. Definitely a tough one to swallow, but overall a good day for us.”
After losing out to Christopher Bell in last weekend’s race at Texas by a matter of inches, Briscoe and his Brad Keselowski Racing team came into Gateway looking to improve their finish by one position and got off of the right foot by scoring the pole over John Hunter Nemechek, his second pole in the past three weeks.
When the green flag flew for the Drivin’ for Linemen 250, Nemechek got the jump and would lead all 35 laps of Stage 1, with Briscoe coming in second. In the second stage, it was Briscoe’s turn, as he took over the lead under the stage break and led all the way to the end of the second stage, scoring the stage win at lap 70.
Though Christopher Bell would take over the lead at the start of the final stage, Briscoe was right back up front seven laps later for another 54 laps stint in the lead, bringing his laps led total to 88 for the night as he would lead until lap 134.
Green flag pit stops would shake up the lead as Briscoe wound up getting overtaken by Matt Crafton when things cycled out, but a late race caution at lap 149 would change everything again.
Under the final caution for the No. 50 truck being stopped on track, some drivers elected for no tires and two tires, but Briscoe and his crew decided four fresh Goodyears was the way to go, even if it would leave him mired back in traffic for the restart with eight laps to go.
When the green flag flew for the final time, Briscoe made the most of the advantage he had over the trucks in front of him with older tires, slicing and dicing his way through the pack and finding himself in third place on the white flag lap, right behind Bell.
Entering Turn 1, Bell left a lane open on the bottom and Briscoe saw his chance to make a move to try and get up to second and challenge Nemechek for the lead. However, things didn’t quite go to plan as Briscoe made his move underneath Bell, but Bell tried to move down and slam the door, causing the two to make contact.
Both trucks stayed under control and Briscoe was able to get up to second, but by that point Nemechek had pulled away with the lead and Briscoe simply ran out of time to catch him, finishing 1.635 seconds back.
“That last lap was just a racing deal,” Briscoe added. “We had so much better tires than everybody and these guys deserve to try to get a win. Just stuck my nose in there and I was already committed at that point.”
With his finish on Saturday night, Briscoe now has four top-five finishes through the first eight races of the season, but will have to wait another week to finally breakthrough for his first career Truck Series win.