Chase Briscoe claims first Cup win in Phoenix

What do Chase Briscoe and Kyle Jergensen have in common? They both recorded first victories in a major event in the desert.

A day after Jergensen celebrated his maiden Mint 400 in Nevada, Briscoe was doing the same for NASCAR Cup Series win #1 at Phoenix Raceway. An overtime restart placed him in a three-way battle with Tyler Reddick and Ross Chastain, both of whom were also seeking their first wins, with Briscoe ultimately holding them off.

Briscoe started sixth while fellow Ford driver Ryan Blaney won the pole. It was a relatively clean stage with the only yellow flags coming on laps 27 (a mandated competition caution) and 41 (debris). William Byron took the lead for the latter’s ensuing restart and the eventual stage win ahead of Briscoe, Chase Elliott, Reddick, Alex BowmanChristopher BellKyle LarsonKevin HarvickJoey Logano, and Austin Dillon.

Bell’s race took a turn when he spun on lap 120 for Stage #2’s only caution. Blaney dominated the segment as he led all but ten laps including the final one to win. Elliott, who led said ten circuits, was second followed by Harvick, Byron, Larson, Reddick, Chastain, Briscoe, Dillon, and Logano.

Tyre degradation resulted in the first of three incidents in the final stage when Martin Truex Jr.‘s right-front tyre went down and caused him to slam into the turn two wall. He explained shortly after that the car had been “getting really loose all day on the longer runs. I was just out there trying to take care of it, and we gained a few spots on the restart and I was just trying to take care of the rear tires. Coming off of turn two there, I’m kind of neutral free, and then all of a sudden, it shot straight into the fence. I cut a right front down running up there in the glue or something.”

Briscoe took the lead from Blaney on the following restart, and appeared poised to pull away if not for a pair of Chevrolet drivers having incidents beginning with Erik Jones‘ wreck on lap 287; interestingly, Jones was also the victim of a late accident a week prior in Las Vegas. Elliott, who chased down Briscoe before the Jones caution, fell back and spun with nine laps remaining to set up a three-lap dash to the finish.

Briscoe and Reddick occupied the front row for the restart. Despite Reddick and Chastain’s efforts, Briscoe kept his advantage for all three laps to win for the first time in NASCAR’s top series. He is the thirty-fifth driver to win in all three national series, the 200th different Cup race winner, and the first ARCA Menards Series champion to win a Cup points race since Chris Buescher at Pocono 2016.

“I knew that as long as I drove in there deeper than everybody else, I probably was going to be okay,” Briscoe said in his post-race press conference. “Those two other guys, they were giving everything they had too. Thankfully, Ross left me a lane. He didn’t have to do that. I thought I was going to plug the fence and be done. But I was committed at that point. I was kind of blown away that it stuck as well as it did and then that he even left me a lane because he was all but clear.”

As with any first-time winner, Briscoe’s triumph was well received by the racing world. Anand Mahindra, the CEO of prominent Indian agricultural machinery manufacturer Mahindra Group and Briscoe’s sponsor, posted a series of tweets praising him and the “triumphant sea of red” in reference to his livery. Briscoe shared a photo of him with the trophy on Reddit, where he is a prominent user, that quickly became one of /r/NASCAR’s most upvoted submissions of all time.

“I never thought I would win a single Truck race, let along a Cup race,” added Briscoe. “To be the 200th winner at that… Some incredible guys on that list. To be one of 200, it’s humbling, it’s unbelievable.

“Seven years ago, I was literally two days away from giving up racing, at least on the pavement side. Briggs and Beth Cunningham called me and asked me if I wanted to test their ARCA car. That turned into a race, then a full season, Ford taking a chance on me.

“There were many times along the way my career could have been over, even in the last four or five. To now be a winner in the Cup Series is unbelievable. To be one of forty guys week in, week out is special. To say you were the best guy that day. These guys are incredible race car drivers. To be on the race track with them is humbling, and to beat them is definitely humbling.”

Chastain and Reddick settled for second and third, respectively, with Blaney fourth. The top four all previously raced for Brad Keselowski‘s now defunct team in the Camping World Truck Series during the early stages of their national series careers. Keselowski, who finished twenty-third, tweeted it was “[n]ot the day we wanted for @RFK6Team (RFK Racing) but this is something to be proud of…”

Race results

Finish Start Number Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Status
1 6 14 Chase Briscoe Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 312 Running
2 17 1 Ross Chastain Trackhouse Racing Team Chevrolet 312 Running
3 12 8 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 312 Running
4 1 12 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 312 Running
5 15 45 Kurt Busch 23XI Racing Toyota 312 Running
6 16 4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 312 Running
7 11 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 312 Running
8 10 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 312 Running
9 23 99 Daniel Suárez Trackhouse Racing Team Chevrolet 312 Running
10 26 17 Chris Buescher RFK Racing Ford 312 Running
11 19 9 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 312 Running
12 5 10 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 312 Running
13 2 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 312 Running
14 9 48 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 312 Running
15 21 42 Ty Dillon Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet 312 Running
16 25 41 Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 312 Running
17 28 31 Justin Haley Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 312 Running
18 3 24 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 312 Running
19 33 38 Todd Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 312 Running
20 29 16 A.J. Allmendinger Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 312 Running
21 13 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 311 Accident
22 27 23 Bubba Wallace 23XI Racing Toyota 311 Running
23 18 6 Brad Keselowski RFK Racing Ford 311 Running
24 8 2 Austin Cindric Team Penske Ford 311 Running
25 14 43 Erik Jones Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet 311 Running
26 4 20 Christopher Bell Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 310 Running
27 22 34 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 310 Running
28 36 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 310 Running
29 24 21 Harrison Burton Wood Brothers Racing Ford 309 Running
30 31 77 Landon Cassill* Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 308 Running
31 32 51 Cody Ware Rick Ware Racing Ford 307 Running
32 35 15 Garrett Smithley Rick Ware Racing Ford 305 Running
33 34 78 B.J. McLeod Live Fast Motorsports Ford 304 Running
34 7 5 Kyle Larson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 239 Engine
35 20 19 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 219 Accident
36 30 7 Corey LaJoie Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 45 Accident
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Cup points

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