By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
There were no back-to-back triumphs for Chase Briscoe in Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway as a late-race spin dashed his hopes and ended up a gut punching 19th place.
Despite leading 16 of 150 laps, Briscoe started off as not one of the more stronger cars among the 36-car grid. That would change on Lap 97 when he took the lead for the first time from Justin Haley.
It wouldn’t be the only time Briscoe took the top spot from a Kaulig Racing driver as he would do the same thing on Lap 114 when fresh tires stumped Ross Chastain, who didn’t pit for tires.
While cautions breed cautions, Briscoe continued showing his muscle, but a challenger appeared and his name was Harrison Burton.
For several laps, the rookie kept hunting down the four-time NASCAR Xfinity Series winner, who was hoping to get 1/4 of his win goal (eight for 2020) done at the two-mile circuit. Things would go haywire when Briscoe’s No. 98 Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang dealt with low voltage.
Burton would finally take the lead from Briscoe on Lap 118 as he got sideways at the exit of Turn 1. He wouldn’t regain the lead again, but came close with 29 to go when he had a strong run out of Turn 4 before Burton’s No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota Supra fought back and retained the lead.
Then with 25 laps to go, Briscoe’s luck ran out after wall contact a few laps prior resulted in a cut tire and spun off the entry of Turn 4. He slid towards the grass and due to voltage problems, the car couldn’t restart and lost a lap.
The spin turned out to be the eighth and final caution, and all the points leader could do was finish just inside the top-20, the first car one lap down. Burton went on to score his maiden series win in just his 12th start.
Briscoe, who’s left rear tire had tremendous blisters after the race, held himself accountable and hopes it’ll never happen again as he dropped to second in points, trailing Burton by 10 points.
“We had a pretty good car and just couldn’t ever get track position early in the race. When we finally got the track position we had a voltage issue where the motor kept shutting off,” Briscoe said. “I kept overdriving it trying to make up for it and then I just spun out off of four and that buried us obviously.
“That one is on me. We definitely had a car capable of winning or for sure running second at the absolute worst. I don’t even know where we ended up. We will have to just go to Phoenix and try to not do that again.”
The final leg of the “West Coast Swing” at Phoenix Raceway for the running of the LS Tractor 200 will commence March 7. In his two starts last year, Briscoe finished sixth in the spring race while in the fall, he ended up eighth despite starting third.
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