CONCORD, N.C. - Chase Briscoe managed the driving rain that had plagued Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 250 on the Charlotte Roval all afternoon, but a puddle in turn one on an overtime restart turned out to be his undoing as he spun while leading and allowed AJ Allmendinger to make the decisive pass and gain the victory.
Briscoe was able to eventually continue, but finished 18th as his bid for a ninth victory came up short. Austin Cindric drove conservatively once the rain started to fall in order to secure enough points to clinch a spot in the Round of 8, which he did after the second stage. That allowed him to be more aggressive and led to a sixth-place finish.
Despite having rain tires, the rain was so intense that a red flag needed to be thrown because of so much standing water on the track. The red flag period lasted for 38 minutes as track blowers moved the water, but it created a scenario where a lack of daylight became a factor in the closing laps.
Briscoe, who led a race-high 23 laps, won the second stage and, in a replay of their duel on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, waged battle with Allmendinger down the stretch. Briscoe made an aggressive move to pass Allmendinger for the lead in the backstretch chicane with 12 to go, but a caution four laps later resulted in a restart. Allmendinger got the lead again, but Briscoe passed him again in the infield portion of the course with four to go before one final caution resulted in overtime.
With his fuel level low, Briscoe managed to get the jump on Allmendinger before spinning through the first turn.
Briscoe and Cindric will regroup and get ready for the Round of 8, which begins on Saturday, Oct. 17 at Kansas Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
FORD FINISHING RESULTS:
6th -- Austin Cindric
7th -- Cody Ware
18th -- Chase Briscoe
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 Wurth Ford Mustang
“I think a top-five effort was pretty likely there. I probably made one small mistake that kept our Wurth Ford Mustang out of the top five, but to race a car in the dark, in very, very wet conditions, pouring down rain with no headlights, no tail lights, splitter clearances being at dry minimums, I can assure you that no other race car can experience what we experienced today in our race for better or for worse. I’m sure it was entertainment for anyone at home, but I look forward to Kansas, Texas, Martinsville and Phoenix surely just for the fact that we don’t have to do that again.”
THE GOOD NEWS IS YOU ADVANCE TO THE ROUND OF 8. HOW DOES THE NEXT ROUND SET UP FOR YOU?
“Advancing to the Round of 8 is a box checked for us. Obviously, we weren’t in a super tight spot heading into today, but that was kind of my only goal after it started raining. I got off to a pretty aggressive foot there to try and establish track position in the dry, and I think that got us the fastest lap of the race as well, so that’s a positive. That will help us out tremendously at Kansas, so looking forward to that, but after it started raining we were pretty conservative as far as my driving, the strategy and after we got into a place where we could advance I started being able to peck my way up through the field and get us to where we could finish inside the top 10 and maybe have a little more clear visibility than back in the twenties.”
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang
WHAT HAPPENED OFF TURN ONE?
“The driver just made a mistake. In the conditions like this you’ve got to be at 100 percent and I tried going 110 and it bit me, so very unfortunate. That one is gonna sting for a long time. I felt like I did my job for about 95 percent of the day right and I just knew if AJ was beside me getting into three, he had been running me up so much I tried throttling up and I was in first gear and I just hit the puddle and it spun me out. That was frustrating to say the least. We obviously had a really good Ford Performance Racing School/HighPoint.com Mustang, but didn’t get it in victory lane, so we’ll try to do it next week.”
YOU JUST WENT DOOR TO DOOR WITH A GREAT ROAD COURSE RACER IN AJ. IS THERE ANY SOLACE IN THAT?
“It’s encouraging for sure to run with AJ, but the end result is he won the race and I came in 17th. I’m gonna think about that one a lot laying in bed. I know what I did wrong. That’s the frustrating part and just try to learn from it and move on.”
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE RESTART?
“I just messed up. I wish I could have got the win. It’s a hometown race for both of our sponsors. Obviously, the racing school is based out of right here and HighPoint.com is down the road in Ballentine, so it would have been a big day. I did 95 percent of the day right and that’s 100 percent on me at the end. That last restart I knew if AJ was beside me getting into three he was gonna try to run me up the racetrack and I tried throttling up and I just hit a puddle wrong when I did it and messed up. That one is on me. We’ll go onto Kansas and have a short memory. Next week is a lot more important than today was, so we’ll go onto Kansas and try to get a win.”