Chase Briscoe takes a practical approach to elimination race

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 08: Chase Briscoe, driver of the #98 Ford Performance Ford, climbs into his car during practice for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at ISM Raceway on November 08, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Chase Briscoe considers ISM Raceway in Phoenix one of his most challenging race tracks.

He considers Homestead-Miami Speedway one of his best.

Here’s the problem: Briscoe must overcome an 18-point deficit to Justin Allgaier in Saturday’s Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) to earn a chance to race for the championship a week later at Homestead.

Allgaier is fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings. Briscoe is fifth, with the Playoff field set to be cut from eight drivers to four on Saturday. At this point, Briscoe doesn’t feel he’s in a must-win scenario.

His approach to the competition depends on how the race develops from the first stage onward.

“I think it depends on the stages and how the stage points go,” Briscoe said on Friday at ISM Raceway. “If you’re looking good stage-points-wise, 18 points isn’t a lot to make up if he has an issue. If you’re still 18 points back after the second stage, you’ve got to win the race.

“If you’re three, four or five points back, you don’t have to win the race. You’ve just got to race the 7 (Allgaier) and hopefully beat him by those spots. I think the stage points is what determines everything, and you kind of see that in all three series.”

If Briscoe can survive Phoenix, he likes his title chances at Miami. After all, he ran exceedingly well there during a test in August.

“Typically there, (tire) falloff is at a particular time over a 40-lap run, and we were two tenths (of a second) better than that,” Briscoe said. “If we can get to Homestead, we have a legitimate shot at winning the championship.”

Greg Engle