By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
For the first time since victory at the Charlotte Roval last fall, Chase Briscoe is in the top five in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
This time, it occurred on an oval, as Briscoe wheeled his No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to finish fifth in Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway.
After battling with his car in the first two stages, Briscoe only got better through the last 70 laps, marching into the third spot after the final restart and stayed amongst the top five to the end.
“We struggled at the beginning. That has been our mantra this year,” Briscoe said. “As the race goes on we get better and better.”
Running third at one point late, Briscoe was only two spots behind teammate and eventual race winner Cole Custer. However, Briscoe lost fourth to Kyle Busch and fell one more spot to Tyler Reddick.
“I don’t’ know if we were that good at the end,” he said. “I screwed myself getting onto pit road and cost ourselves four spots. We had to restart ninth and got back to fourth.
“We were 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.”
With two straight top 10s entering Auto Club, a top-five run for the first-year full-timer now has him looking higher as the series skips through the spring races.
“I think as we continue to go on, we get better and better as we learn each other,” he said. “It was a pretty good day for the Ford Mustangs and Stewart-Haas Racing and we will go on to the next one and see what we can do.”
Briscoe leaves Auto Club with now three straight top-10 finishes and 11th in driver points.