In stellar season, Chase Briscoe runs disappointing ninth in championship finale

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 07: Chase Briscoe, driver of the #98 Ford, waits on the grid prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at Phoenix Raceway on November 07, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Very little had gone wrong during Chase Briscoe’s dream 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.

The driver of the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford collected nine victories and earned a promotion to the No. 14 SHR NASCAR Cup Series car next year.

But the season ended in disappointment on Saturday when Briscoe finished ninth at Phoenix Raceway and dropped to fourth among the four drivers competing for the series title.

Briscoe led 41 laps and won the first stage of the race, but the handling on his car deteriorated as the light faded and the track cooled.

“It was just a frustrating day,” Briscoe said. “This is by far not my best race track. We started the race and, for me, just leading laps here I was like, ‘Wow, this is different.’ I was just so loose at the beginning of the race, and as the night came, I was just getting freer and freer. I don’t know how many times I about wrecked into (Turn) 1 and would end up hitting the wall.

“I’ve got to do a lot better job coming here. There’s something about this place that I just really struggle at, so I’ve got a lot of homework to do. It’s definitely frustrating to finish fourth in the championship after the year we had, but, overall, to win nine races it’s been a phenomenal year.”