By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe earned his third straight top-five finish at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash driver started the final run of the Food City 300 just outside the top-five. Briscoe’s No. 98 Nurti Chomps Ford Mustang surged ahead of John Hunter Nemechek for fifth. He picked off another position after Brandon Jones cut a right front tire.
Briscoe then hounded his SHR teammate, Cole Custer, who was all that stood between him and fellow Xfinity Dash 4 Cash drivers Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick. However, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender did not have enough time and finished fourth. Bell took the win and the $100,000 bonus.
“That’s really what we should be doing all year long,” Briscoe admitted. “It’s just taken us a little bit of time for me to learn the race cars and for them to kind of find what I like. Overall, this is by far our best weekend from start to finish.
“We showed that I feel like we can be a top four contender, so there at the end I felt like I honestly was the best car it’s just so hard to pass when they get like that around the top.”
With passing at a premium, Briscoe struggled to move forward. He searched for speed in both the low groove and the high groove to no avail. In the final 20 laps, Briscoe had the fastest car on track, but was trapped behind his teammate.
“I found a little bit of speed down on the bottom of one and two, but we didn’t get the $100,000 this week,” Briscoe explained. “We’ve got a shot again next week. We’ll go there with our Nutri Chomps Ford and see what we can do.”
The Mitchell, IN native ran inside the top-10 throughout the race. After starting third, he slipped outside the top-10 by the end of the first stage. Briscoe ended that stage in sixth, and was seventh in the second stage, which ended under caution.
“We still weren’t great necessarily at the beginning to the middle stages, but it’s definitely the closest we’ve been,” Briscoe admitted. “That’s definitely encouraging.
“There at the end, once again, I felt like we were probably the best car and for sure one of the top three best cars, but we’ve got to keep getting better and we have every week. It’s definitely something encouraging to look forward to for the rest of the season. I’m looking forward to going to Richmond and seeing what we can do.”
The fourth-place finish was Briscoe’s third-straight top-five and fifth-straight top-10 finish this season. It also qualified him for the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash in the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway on Friday night.
Briscoe’s fourth-place finish moves him from 11th to be tied with Jones for seventh in the championship points standings. They are 101-points behind points leader Bell and 11-points ahead of the cutoff for the playoffs, held by Justin Haley.
In the rookie points battle, Briscoe now leads by one point over both Noah Gragson and Nemechek.