The playoffs demand the best out of any driver, just ask Chase Briscoe. He was able to put a top-10 in each of the events except for one, and found himself as one of the drivers not fighting for the Championship this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I was telling people the other day after Kansas I was obviously frustrated and upset, but I felt like we were still gonna be fine,” he commented at ISM Raceway. “I felt like with our speed we were gonna be fine getting to Homestead still. We can still go run top five the next two races, if not win one, and after Texas then everything that went down at Texas makes Kansas sting a lot worse and makes me even more mad.”
Briscoe was in the thick of the action to win at Kansas Speedway, battling Christopher Bell for the victory, when the pair made contact with a lap car resulting in damage to both vehicles. Despite the rear panel having to be replaced, he was able to fight back to finish third.
He showed speed at Texas Motor Speedway, running up front until he made contact with the wall and then cut a tire, requiring an scheduled stop down pit road. He was credited with a 22nd-place finish.
He ran inside the top-five part of the event at ISM Raceway, though ultimately finished eighth, missing the cut.
Now as he is forced to watch four of his competitors fight for the championship instead, Briscoe finds himself thinking back to what happened at Texas.
“In hindsight we probably should have just pitted whenever we got in the wall,” he commented. “It was just a thing where at the time we felt like we made the right decision. Me and my crew chief were talking and we’re pretty sure the splitter is what ended up flattening the tire. If we would have come down, we didn’t even think the splitter was an issue, so we probably would have had the same issue regardless. I don’t know.
“There’s a lot of things we could have done different. Obviously, the lapped car situation could have went way different and we probably wouldn’t be in the situation we are right now, but those are the cards we were dealt and we’ve got to deal with those.”
The fact that he did not make the Championship 4 only stings more when he looks back and sees how strong they were at the Homestead-Miami Speedway test.
“We were unbelievable, we felt like,” he said. “A lot of guys go and test and you’re like, ‘Oh, man. We’re so good,’ and then you go back. I know Jeff Burton was at the test and I heard on the TV broadcast I heard him talk about how good he thought we were. Typically there fall off is around a certain time over a 40-lap run and we were two-tenths better than that, so I felt like if we can get to Homestead, we have a legitimate shot to win the championship.”
Briscoe went as far to mention that if he is able to pull off the victory on Saturday afternoon, “it’s gonna be sickening” in knowing what could’ve been. It’s an experience that he knows already, having won the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series race there in 2017.
Though on the flip side, one more checkered flag on the season would be very deserving for Briscoe and company as it’d give them a chance to not celebrate their success there, but as a year overall. While not making the Championship 4 is less than ideal, scoring 12 top-five’s and 25 top-10’s in the 32 races is certainly something to remember. It also easily puts him in the conversation as favorites for the title in 2020 with several drivers moving away from the series.
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