By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Kansas Speedway’s wild and wicked nature struck again. This time in the Xfinity Series as Chase Briscoe continues being the man with his ninth win of the year.
When you look at the top-10 result, you’ll notice a lot of guys you don’t often see up there. Guys like Ryan Sieg having yet another superb outing on the 1.5-mile tracks, finishing third. Underdog driver Josh Williams getting a career-best sixth, and of course the 500+ mile runners of Truck Series regulars Austin Hill and Brett Moffitt finishing fifth and seventh respectively.
That’s because we saw a lot of drama in the opening and final stages of the 300-mile race where several playoff contenders factored into the accidents with a couple taking a tremendous hits on their quest for the championship.
With that being said, let’s dive into my main takeaways from the Round of 8 opener.
Four Wide War Zone Didn’t Work
When you see a four-wide battle between Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson and Brandon Jones, did you really expect anything but chaos?
It was an incident that should’ve been a big one, but it ultimately impacted the race for two guys. Gragson clipped Cindric at the exit of Turn 1, leading to those two smashing doors like they were running luxury cars at Daytona Beach.
— NASCAR Xfinity (@NASCAR_Xfinity) October 17, 2020
Both were outraged because they’re now in a hole going into the next two races held at Texas and Martinsville. Gragson’s night was done while Cindric limped his Ford Mustang home in 28th.
I won’t say it was a ridiculous situation because it’s that time of the year where tensions run high and guys will take plenty of stakes to gain valuable track position. Even if it’s for the competition caution before that fiasco delayed it.
Cindric should be alright as he’s two points to the good over Justin Haley, but another race where Kansas bit him hard must be crushing.
Definitely not the same situation for Gragson, who’s had a bad week on and off the track. On the track, he’s at the bottom of the barrel with 33 markers behind his least favorite driver right now. Off the track, his social media account was hacked and that’s never a good thing.
Gragson’s maturity level still has some ways to go, but his post-accident interview was a bit encouraging to say the least.
Alfy’s Wild Ride
Good lord was that a wild ride for Anthony Alfredo, who was in a real awful situation where Brandon Brown went low and Justin Allgaier not letting off the throttle when he should’ve.
Consequently, their bonehead maneuvers sent Alfredo back across the track, collecting Brown, Jones and Riley Herbst in Turn 1. The brutal impact towards the wall led to Alfredo’s car upside down, bringing out the 14th red flag of 2020.
— NASCAR Xfinity (@NASCAR_Xfinity) October 18, 2020
Thanks to the testament of the cars and safety crew, Alfredo gave the two thumbs up and got out of his car unharmed. Much like the other time the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet landed on its lid at Kentucky Speedway 19 years ago.
My biggest gripe of the accident was Brown and Allgaier. Call it double standard with what I said about Gragson, but that could’ve been easily avoided.
Brown put Alfredo and Allgaier in a real bad spot that led to this chicanery. In return, Allgaier should’ve just woe it down and none of this mess would’ve happened. Allgaier doesn’t make petty moves, and tonight was poor timing on his part. Either way, both guys are to blame for the biggest wreck of the night.
I wanted to make sure and talk to @anthonyalfredo first, and I’m glad I did, but extremely disappointed in tonight. Although there was room above the 68 and he was pinching us down, I should’ve backed out earlier. I’m glad AA is ok and there’s no excuse. Just have to do better.
— Justin Allgaier (@J_Allgaier) October 18, 2020
Make it nine Xfinity Series wins for Chase Briscoe, who outside of Sieg’s pit strategy, was in a league of his own like nobody else’s business. Whether it’s clean air, dirty air or even avoiding crashes, Briscoe had yet another winning drive that should come to nobody’s surprise at this point.
— NASCAR Xfinity (@NASCAR_Xfinity) October 18, 2020
Not only he punched his ticket in the Championship 4 at Phoenix, he’s also one win away of equaling Sam Ard’s mark from 1983 for most wins by a non-Cup Series regular in a single Xfinity Series campaign.
For now, Briscoe’s mindset focusing on his No. 98 Ford Mustang to assure his car for the finale next month will be elite. Not whether or not he’ll be a candidate for Clint Bowyer’s No. 14 Cup ride (Bowyer’s crew happens to serve Briscoe by the way).
I asked Chase Briscoe about the thought of him ever being right up there with Kyle Busch and Sam Ard as the winningest Xfinity Series drivers in a single season, hoping to join them in the double-digit win column soon. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/tdC9cItU3b
— Luis Torres (@TheLTFiles) October 18, 2020
“It allows the guys at least to focus on the car. I am glad after all the chaos at the beginning of the race, a lot of those guys are going to be in scary points situations,” said Briscoe. “I am glad we don’t have to deal with that. It is crazy to win nine races this year. It has been an unbelievable year and hopefully we can finish it out strong.”
One spot down, three remaining in a span of two weekends as the tour will now head to Texas Motor Speedway for the annual O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
This should be the race where I expect Cindric to have a turnaround race as he’ll be looking to sweep the “Lone Star State” races. Only this time, being the first guy crossing the finish line because Kyle Busch took the checkered flag, but was disqualified.