MIAMI – Chase Briscoe made the most out of two late cautions in Sunday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Contender Boats 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to take home his third win of 2020, and his first at the 1.5-mile venue.
Briscoe, who was running down leader Noah Gragson in the final laps, only to scrub the wall with three laps to go and derail his chances, caught a break with just over a lap to go when Austin Cindric spun in turn four to bring out the caution and set overtime. His No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) pit crew pulled off a near-perfect, four-tire stop and got their driver to the lead for the restart. Just after taking the green flag, the caution came out again with a three-car incident consisting of Riley Herbst, Daniel Hemric and Michael Annett on the backstretch, setting up one final green-white-checkered finish. Briscoe jumped to the lead and held off a hard-charging Brandon Jones for the win.
“The caution obviously fell absolutely perfect and then my pit crew did an unbelievable job to get us out front, definitely a team win,” said Briscoe, who held off Jones by just .072 seconds. “On the second from last restart, I spun the tires (and let Jones grab the lead), but on the last restart, I got enough push (to get back the lead) and then the 19 had a big run coming off of four because I drove it in so deep on the bottom so he couldn’t get to me, and it almost cost me.”
It was redemption of sorts for Briscoe, who was racing without his crew chief, car chief and engineer, who were all placed on a four-race suspension after a piece of ballast fell of his car during the pace laps of Saturday’s Hooters 250 in Miami. Per the NASCAR Rule Book, the loss of separation of the added ballast from the vehicle results in the suspensions. Briscoe, with former crew chief Greg Zipadelli, who is SHR’s VP of Competition, on top of the pit box, rebounded to finish seventh Saturday and now trails Gragson by just 18 points in the battle for the championship.
Meanwhile, it was the second straight day of heartbreak for Gragson. Leading both races in dominating fashion, late-race cautions evaporated big leads, relegating him to fifth Sunday and third Saturday.
“I was leading there at the end and the caution came out with a lap and a half to go,” said Gragson, whose car was far superior on long green-flag runs, leading race-high 81 laps Sunday and 83 Saturday. “I just have to work on myself and take the positives from today.”
The rest of the top five included Ross Chastain, AJ Allmendinger and Gragson. Allmendinger took home the NASCAR Xfinity Series $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus, besting the three other eligible drivers – Gragson, Justin Haley, who finished sixth, and Hemric. Allmendinger earned eligibility by virtue of his win on June 6 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Dash 4 Cash moves to Talladega Superspeedway next Saturday, June 20, for the UNHINGED 300. The quartet with a chance at the $100,000 bonus will be Briscoe, Jones, Chastain and Allmendinger.