LAS VEGAS – Prior to the start of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season, Chase Briscoe told reporters he had a goal of scoring “eight to 10 wins” with his No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing team.
Briscoe hit that threshold, and perhaps made a statement audition for a NASCAR Cup Series opportunity, with a dominant performance in Saturday night’s Alsco 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The Mitchell, Ind., native swept all three stages – the first time he’s done that in an Xfinity Series event – and led four times for 165 of 200 laps en route to his series-leading eighth victory of the year.
With the win, Briscoe locked himself into the second round of the Xfinity Series playoffs.
Despite early challenges from Austin Cindric, Ross Chastain and Ryan Sieg, once Briscoe retook command from Sieg on the 52nd lap he was never seriously threatened again after that.
Briscoe gave up the lead with 53 to go to make his final pit stop, and was running second behind Michael Annett – who hadn’t yet pitted – when the penultimate yellow of the race waved for a tire in the frontstretch grass with 46 laps left.
When Annett pitted for fresh tires and fuel, Briscoe re-took the race lead and never gave it up again, opening up a margin of more than six seconds at one point as he raced into the Sin City night.
Not even a lap-187 caution for the stalled car of Alex Labbe, nor a nine-lap shootout to the checkered flag, could slow the roll of Briscoe’s Ford Mustang. He darted away from Noah Gragson on the final restart and took the checkered flag in front by 1.37 seconds.
“First off, that was an incredible car from everybody at Stewart-Haas (Racing). That made my job way too easy, honestly,” Briscoe noted. “It was a super-fast Fields Ford Mustang and I am happy to get them in victory lane. This is the only race they do all year. The (last) restart, I knew if I could take the lead on the restart I would be okay … but I was spinning the tires so bad all night for whatever reason. I guess it was all that Roush Yates horsepower.
“I am happy to get all our partners back in victory lane,” Briscoe continued. “We have had a lot of wins this year, but this is by far our most dominant car and I am so glad I can sleep a little easier this week going into Talladega and the (Charlotte Motor Speedway) ROVAL and just enjoy them.”
With his Saturday-night score, Briscoe equaled Sam Ard and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram for the most wins by a series regular through the first 27 races of a season in Xfinity Series history.
It also meant that he accomplished his preseason mission, something Briscoe noted he believed from the start his team “was fully capable of achieving.”
“I just can’t say thank you enough to Gene Haas and Tony Stewart and everyone that lets me drive these race cars. It has been an unbelievable season and we still have a lot – six more wins and a championship – that we can try to get. That is what we are going to try to do, and I am so happy to start the playoffs like this.
“After the last couple weeks we had, to go to Bristol and win and now (win) here is a pretty good way to start our playoffs.”
Gragson finished as the runner-up, his best result in 20 races, since a similar effort at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway in June. Daniel Hemric crossed third, keeping the JR Motorsports No. 8 team in a solid position in the Xfinity Series car owner playoffs with two races before the first elimination.
Justin Allgaier and Ryan Sieg filled out the top five, followed by Austin Cindric, Michael Annett, Anthony Alfredo, Harrison Burton and Justin Haley.
Playoff drivers who finished outside the top 10 included Brandon Jones in 11th, Riley Herbst in 12th, Brandon Brown in 15th and Ross Chastain – who tagged the wall early in the first stage – in 16th.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs continue Oct. 3 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.