By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
A late-race spin could not keep Chase Briscoe from bouncing back as he earned a top-10 finish at Michigan International Speedway.
After his spin, Briscoe restarted at the rear of the field in the LTi Printing 250. The NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie was one of the only drivers with enough fuel for the final 44 laps. Briscoe’s No. 98 Nutri Chomps / Blain’s Farm & Fleet Ford Mustang quickly moved up through the field.
With 20 laps to go, Briscoe broke back into the top-10. He battled with Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones, and fellow rookie John Hunter Nemechek for position. Briscoe traded positions back and forth with Jones and Nemechek, but lost touch with Allgaier. When the checkered flag waved, he was seventh.
“We were really loose all day long,” Briscoe admitted. “We were going to play the fuel strategy card and we were going to be alright; I think. Honestly, after that spin was the best the car was all day. At the end we were two or three-tenths better than the leader.
“Drove to fifth or sixth from the back and I feel like I had a lot more, but I just got stuck in traffic and racing guys. A couple guys, I don’t know, they were just racing dumb in my opinion and we ended up racing each other so hard that we cost each other six seconds on the race track. Instead of running second or third we ran seventh. Overall, I thought we made our car better all day which is always good. We just have to start the race better.”
Briscoe brought out the final caution of the 250-mile race. On a restart on lap 77, his Ford Mustang spun in the middle of the field in turns one and two. Luckily, his competitors avoided him as his car slid down the banking, driver’s side facing the oncoming traffic.
At the time, Briscoe’s team, led by crew chief Richard Boswell, had been placed perfectly. Their strategy had left them up front with one more guaranteed pit stop, had the caution not waved.
Since the 2.0-mile track was repaved in 2013, the racing line has been relatively narrow compared to the wide and expansive racing surface.
“Definitely it was aggressive on the restart,” Briscoe explained. “This place is so narrow. It is hard to do anything regardless. Obviously, the restarts were pretty intense, but we just would get single file and it seems like you have to run that middle and you get suckered into going to the bottom and get freight trained.
“If you get a run on a guy and don’t clear him, you end up losing two or three spots. It is part of racing here and you know that going into it, but it doesn’t make it any more fun.”
The seventh-place finish is the 10th straight top-10 finish for Briscoe this season and 14th of his career.
The top-10 finish kept Briscoe sixth in the championship points standings, 187-points behind points leader and race winner Tyler Reddick. He is 87-points ahead of the cutoff for the playoffs, held by Brandon Jones.