By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chase Briscoe had an adventurous second crack at the Daytona 500 where he ultimately finished third.
At one point towards Stage 1, a shot of being towards the front went south after being involved in the opening caution on Lap 42. Kaz Grala had lost a wheel on the backstretch with Briscoe trying to avoid the carnage. Suddenly, Briscoe was hit from behind by eventual Daytona 500 champion Austin Cindric sendng him for a spin.
Over the radio, Briscoe asked “who ARCA-braked me?” He was then told that Cindric apparently never heard the call that the caution came out for Grala.
From there, Briscoe stayed out of trouble and ultimately led into a huge turnaround when it mattered most.
On the final restart, Briscoe restarted sixth and pushed Brad Keselowski in order to get a run on Cindric, who timed his restart perfectly. As the field took the white flag, Briscoe gave it his all to get the outside groove working but to no avail.
Coming into Turn 3, Briscoe lost ground to Keselowski. That’s when Kyle Busch, who also had to overcome an earlier accident, gave Briscoe the ultimate push to get a run on Keselowski.
Though a quick block led to Briscoe hitting the outside wall, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver kept his foot on the throttle, and was able to sneak low to beat Ryan Blaney for third.
“Just couldn’t quite get to Brad,” Briscoe commented on the finish. “I needed to be able to get to Brad, and he was having to drag so much brake for me to be able to help him. I wish I was more help. If I could have locked on, I could have got him up there.
“Kyle got me really good into three and I had such a run that I had to take it,” Briscoe on Busch. “I wish it was Talladega because I felt like if the start-finish line was a little further down I may have had a shot at that thing, but really cool to start our year off with Mahindra Tractors with a third-place finish in the Daytona 500.”
After the race, Briscoe would congratulate Cindric in victory lane as the two were former teammates at Brad Keselowski Racing (Truck Series in 2017) and Roush (Xfinity Series the next year). Despite not being hoisting the Harley J. Earl Trophy, Briscoe knows a strong start to the season will do him wonders as far as the playoff picture is concerned.
“We want to be a playoff contender this year, and having a good run here is a good start,” said Briscoe. “Wish we could have had one more lap. You never know what could have happened, but yeah, super cool to finish third and really cool for one of my best friends to win the race.”