FONTANA, Calif. – Chase Briscoe parlayed a quietly-solid day into his best finish of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season to-date over the weekend at Auto Club Speedway.
Briscoe started sixth and never dropped outside the top 15 all race long, clawing his way up to third during the second half of Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 before fading back to sixth after the final restart.
The Mitchell, Ind., native hadn’t had a top-five finish since his lone Xfinity Series victory last fall at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, so his Fontana performance was certainly encouraging.
“We’ve been building each week and I feel like we’re showing that,” Briscoe said. “We definitely wanted a strong day. It’s just taken a little time for us to get comfortable with one another as a team.”
Briscoe’s day didn’t start as strong as he hoped it would, as he failed to collect any bonus points in the opening stage and barely scraped out 10th-place in the second stage, but his No. 98 Nutri Chomps Ford Mustang came on strong during the final 75 laps.
“We kind of struggled at the beginning. That has been our mantra this year,” noted Briscoe. “As the race goes on, we get better and better. I don’t know if we were that good at the end. I kind of screwed myself getting onto pit road and cost us about four spots. We had to restart ninth and got back to fourth.
“We were just way too tight at the end. I wish that run before could have gone to the end. I feel like we could have been third or maybe second,” Briscoe added. “Overall, though, this was not a bad day. I think as we continue to go on, we get better and better as we learn each other. It was a pretty good day for the Ford Mustangs … and we will go on to the next one and see what we can do.”
In addition to Briscoe’s top-five effort, his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Cole Custer notched the win at the two-mile Southern California oval, making it a day to remember for the whole organization.
“It was an awesome day for Stewart-Haas Racing and Fred Biagi, especially with Cole picking up the win at his home track,” Briscoe said. “For our team, I feel like we’ve gotten better and better each week. I know our day is coming. We just have to find a little more speed.
“I’m proud of all the guys on my Nutri Chomps team. This is a pretty cool place,” he continued. “I’ve never been here before, but I really enjoyed it and look forward to coming back.”
Briscoe leaves Fontana 11th in the Xfinity Series point standings, 10 points clear of 13th-place Ross Chastain in the fight to make the playoffs.