Your first time is always special. Chase Briscoe experienced that Sunday. Briscoe grabbed the lead with 3 laps to go and pulled away from the field to score his first career NASCAR Cup series win in his 40th start at Phoenix Raceway.
The victory made him the 200th overall winner in NASCAR Cup series history.
“I was crying the whole last lap,” Briscoe said. “I mean, this is definitely a team win. I got to thank everyone that has gotten me to this point. Seven years ago, I was sleeping on couching, ready to give up. They gave me an opportunity and it’s led to this.”
Briscoe’s willingness to dive to the inside of the track on the track’s paved dogleg area was key to his success Sunday. Restarts saw the field spread out heading into Turn 1 with several drivers making it four, five and even six wide at times to try and grab the lead with Briscoe showing his mastery of the technique.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver in his sophomore season in the Cup series led the second most laps on the day, 101, and took the lead on lap 230 after the race’s sixth caution by diving under Chase Elliott on the dogleg. From there, Briscoe maintained a tenuous lead with Elliott close behind. He was opening that gap when Erik Jones spun his No. 43 on lap 287 closing up the field and sending the field into the pits for a final round of stops.
Briscoe won the race off pit road and blocked Ross Chastain on the restart to move back to the point. The race’s eighth and final caution came on lap 305 when for the second week in a row Elliott spun on the backstretch.
The leaders stayed out and Briscoe again took the lead in a four wide battle as Chastain and Tyler Reddick dueled for second allowing Briscoe to stretch out his lead, winning by .771 of a second over Chastain.
“That was so much fun to get to race like that at this level,” Chastain, who finished third a week prior said. “Trackhouse Racing believes in me. Advent Health. These people, they believed in me early in the season whenever stuff wasn’t going great. If we can keep putting these together, that’s so cool to race with Tyler and Chase.”
Reddick held on for third.
“It was a lot of fun,” Reddick said. “Great to claw back from the hiccup we had earlier in the race. Everyone on this team did a really good job all day. One little miscue that took us from second to 12th. My pit crew did an amazing job, had a good restart at the end to put ourselves in position.”
Polesitter Ryan Blaney won Stage 2 and led a race high 143 laps but suffered from a speeding penalty, as well as slow pit stops near the end, and finished fourth, Kurt Busch was fifth.
Briscoe’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick saw his winless streak stretch to 47 races, but he finished a respectable sixth. Kyle Busch overcame a speeding penalty to finish seventh, Joey Logano was eighth, Daniel Suarez gave Trackhouse Racing a second top ten finish on the day in ninth. Chris Buescher rounded out the top 10.
Sunday’s race marked the first this season that didn’t have a Hendrick Motorsports car in the top 10. Kyle Larson, who won his championship with a win at Phoenix in November, lost an engine on lap 235 and was scored with a DNF in 34th. Elliott, who led 50 laps, was eleventh, last week’s winner for Hendrick Alex Bowman was 14th, and William Byron who led 12 laps and won Stage 1 was 18th.
Last spring’s winner at Phoenix, Martin Truex Jr., crashed on lap 219 and was scored 35th.
The win for Briscoe and Stewart-Haas capped off a great day for team co-owner Tony Stewart. Stewart’s first year NHRA team scored its first win with Matt Hagan taking the Funny Car title at the Gatornationals in Gainesville Florida.
Its Western swing now complete NASCAR heads back east to Atlanta Motor Speedway where the Cup series will race on a newly renovated 1.54-mile oval next Sunday.
NASCAR Cup Series Race Results Ruoff Mortgage 500
Sunday, March 13, 2022
1. (6) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 312.
2. (17) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 312.
3. (12) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 312.
4. (1) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 312.
5. (15) Kurt Busch, Toyota, 312.
6. (16) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 312.
7. (11) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 312.
8. (10) Joey Logano, Ford, 312.
9. (23) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 312.
10. (26) Chris Buescher, Ford, 312.
11. (19) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 312.
12. (5) Aric Almirola, Ford, 312.
13. (2) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 312.
14. (9) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 312.
15. (21) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 312.
16. (25) Cole Custer, Ford, 312.
17. (28) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 312.
18. (3) William Byron, Chevrolet, 312.
19. (33) Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 312.
20. (29) AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 312.
21. (13) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, Accident, 311.
22. (27) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 311.
23. (18) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 311.
24. (8) Austin Cindric #, Ford, 311.
25. (14) Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 311.
26. (4) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 310.
27. (22) Michael McDowell, Ford, 310.
28. (36) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 310.
29. (24) Harrison Burton #, Ford, 309.
30. (31) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 308.
31. (32) Cody Ware, Ford, 307.
32. (35) Garrett Smithley, Ford, 305.
33. (34) BJ McLeod, Ford, 304.
34. (7) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Engine, 239.
35. (20) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 219.
36. (30) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, Accident, 45.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 100.339 mph.
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 6 Mins, 34 Secs. Margin of Victory: .771 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 8 for 52 laps.
Lead Changes: 14 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: R. Blaney 1-27;K. Larson 28;J. Logano 29-32;C. Briscoe 33-51;W. Byron 52-63;K. Larson 64;R. Blaney 65-121;C. Elliott 122-132;R. Blaney 133-189;C. Elliott 190-224;R. Blaney 225;C. Elliott 226-229;C. Briscoe 230-287;R. Blaney 288;C. Briscoe 289-312.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Ryan Blaney 5 times for 143 laps; Chase Briscoe 3 times for 101 laps; Chase Elliott 3 times for 50 laps; William Byron 1 time for 12 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 4 laps; Kyle Larson 2 times for 2 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 24,14,9,8,48,20,5,4,22,3
Stage #2 Top Ten: 12,9,4,24,5,8,1,14,3,22
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