Chase Briscoe’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series win came in spectacular fashion on Saturday at NASCAR’s newest track. Briscoe’s flawless performance in the Drive for the Cure 200 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina saw the Stewart-Haas Racing rookie become the first driver to tame the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL™.
Briscoe led a race-high 33 laps and held off road-racing veteran Justin Marks with polesitter Austin Cindric third. Cindric dominated Stage 1 before a late spin gave Daniel Hemric the lead. Hemric led the way in Stage 1 and appeared to be on course for his first Xfinity Series victory before he overshot Turn 17 in the closing laps while chasing Briscoe, who pulled away from Marks to register his first victory.
Ryan Preece and points leader Christopher Bell completed the top five at the finish. Hemric fell to 15th after his Turn 17 mistake, but rallied to finish 10th.
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Ford Performance Ford (Race Winner): “My family never had the money or anything, so I never thought stock-car racing was even a possibility. I just moved down here, was sleeping on couches, volunteering at race shops. I somehow convinced the Cunninghams to let me drive their ARCA car two years ago. Won the championship there and then last year got to drive for Brad Keselowski. … Now to be an Xfinity winner, I never expected to even get a chance to run in any of the top three series in NASCAR. It’s been such a blessing, just to get to drive for my hero, Tony Stewart, growing up in Indiana and being a sprint car guy. Tony was my hero, my idol. To get a call from him in Victory Lane with that team is so unbelievable. … The past couple days, I was just way off. We were surprised to even make the final round today in qualifying. I knew when the race would start, I would get better and learn around guys. But honestly, I don’t think the crew chiefs or anybody would thought tires be such a big deal. As a driver, I never expected to be that much loss of forward drive. Once I felt that, I tried to make sure the rear tires never spun no matter what I did. I may have given up a little time coming off the corner, but I’d make it back up down the straightway. I felt like that was why I was better at the end of the run.”
JUSTIN MARKS, No. 42 Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet (Finished 2nd): “These courses are always challenging for these series to put on because of the confines of the oval. Given that, I think it was great, it was awesome. I was really excited to come in here because it’s so different. If we are going to reinvigorate this fan base, we are going to have to do things like this. I really applaud the effort of everyone who put this track together. The track itself is challenging. These cars are heavy and there’s not a lot of tire touching the track and they have a ton of horsepower, so to go to these tracks like this it is really, really challenging. They did a good job paving the infield. It is a really challenging course. The drivers want the challenge to be hard for them. The corners are tight and we got the things wound up to 160 mph on the oval.”
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 MoneyLion Ford (Finished 3rd): “If I didn’t spin out there (in Stage 1) I would be four or five points ahead of the (playoff) cut line. So, there are some mistakes there that have to be minimized. From the playoff perspective, me and Daniel (Hemric) were the two fastest cars. We both made mistakes that cost us a better finish. You’ve got to have a car that can go on the switchback stuff and make up time in those places. I was trying to make up time in the aggressive spots.
To purchase Bank of America ROVAL™ 400 tickets, can call 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shop online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. Kids’ tickets cost just $10.
CMS PR (HHP/Harold Hinson photo)