POCONO, Pa. - Chase Briscoe outbattled Ross Chastain in an overtime finish to claim his fourth win of the season and second in the last three events, taking the Pocono Green 225 on Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway.
Briscoe battled adversity all day long, starting with a speeding penalty in the second stage, and continuing with 22 laps to go when he cut a left-rear tire while leading the race. After pitting, Briscoe restarted 11th on the ensuing restart with 18 laps remaining and blew his way through the field, gaining seven spots by the end of the first lap. Briscoe moved to third one lap later and passed Myatt Snider for second with 12 laps to go. He got around Chastain for the lead two circuits later and was sailing toward and easy victory until Chad Finchum got into the wall and brought out the caution with six laps remaining.
Briscoe opted for the outside lane and Chastain was able to grab the lead off turn one when the overtime restart flag waved, but Briscoe’s No. 98 HighPoint.com Mustang was stronger through the tunnel turn and he was able to make what turned out to be the winning pass in that part of the track.
While Briscoe celebrated, Austin Cindric was shaking his head trying to figure out what he needs to do win. He had one of the cars to beat, dominating in the early going to win stage one and then finished second in stage two. His day turned, however, with 38 laps to go when Snider and Noah Gragson made contact, resulting in Daniel Hemric getting sideways and going up the track where Cindric, with nowhere to go, ran into him. That ended Cindric’s day in 29th-place.
Briscoe’s win also vaulted him into the series points lead by three over Gragson, and moved Ford within seven points of the lead in the manufacturer’s standings.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series resumes on the 4th of July from Indianapolis with the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard on NBC at 3:00 p.m. ET.
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang -- VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW
“We were really not that good at the beginning. We kind of struggled and didn’t have the speed I really anticipated us to have here, and then Zippy and the guys just kept working on it and kept getting it better and better. We had the lead there after I sped on pit road and I was a little worried, but, fortunately, a lot of the good cars got tore up, so that made it a little bit easier to get back through the field. And then me and Ross, it was pretty fun. He’s always one of the hardest guys to race against and pass, and just really cool to get HighPoint.com here in Victory Lane. This is their home track. I was at the Mendiburu’s family house last night, so it’s pretty cool for them to win at their home track, so I know it means a lot. It’s cool to get all of our partners in Victory Lane -- Ford Performance Racing School, Fields, Dell Production Alliance Group, Go Bowling, Huffy Bicycles. We’ve got a lot of really cool partners and we’re halfway to eight, so hopefully we can keep going.”
WAS THERE CONCERN WHEN ROSS GOT BY YOU ON THE OT RESTART?
“Yeah, a lot of concern. Ross, I felt like if I picked the bottom I could have maybe slid him, but I was really tight and I was worried if I went to the bottom I would get too tight on exit and when I was catching Ross I knew his trouble end was the tunnel turn. He was just so loose, so I just tried to use that to my advantage. I knew that was my one spot where I could probably make a pass and it was fun. We raced clean the whole time and it’s always fun when you can do that.”
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT HERE AT POCONO TO MAKE SURE YOU GET EVERYTHING OUT OF IT?
“It’s really tough and especially with no practice. Anytime you come here if you’re car is driving perfect, well, it’s never driving perfect in all three corners. With no practice it made it really tough and we did a really good job of getting our car good, and at least to where I could drive it good at the end. Playing chicken here, that’s the key to it. When you’re side-by-side with a guy getting specifically in turns one and two, you’re on pins and needles seeing who is gonna lift first. Ross, I knew was gonna probably be the last guy to lift and typically I’m one of those guys too, so I knew it was gonna be tough, but really cool to race those guys and do it clean. That’s the main thing.”
YOU’VE NOW WON TWICE WITH ZIPPY ON THE BOX. HOW HAS THAT BEEN?
“It’s pretty cool. Growing up a diehard Smoke fan, I was a fan of Zippy, but none of them would even top winning at Indy with Zippy. I think that would be the absolute coolest thing for me to win at Indianapolis with Zippy and we have really good momentum. I feel like we’re gonna have a really good car next week, so hopefully we can kiss the bricks and kissing them with Zippy would be pretty cool, but, obviously, just another testament to Boswell and all the guys that aren’t here at the racetrack right now. They’re the guys preparing the car back at the shop. Zippy is coming in and calling the race and doing a really good job, but Boswell is still the key aspect of this team and he’s done a really good job of getting the cars driving good and getting us up front.”
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 MoneyLion Ford Mustang
“It seemed like a couple of cars in front of me were checked up. The 9 was sliding off the bottom lane and I don’t know if he got into the 21 or the 21 hooked him. I don’t know. Either way it caused a big pile-up. We were obviously on the front side of our strategy. We had an incredibly fast MoneyLion Ford Mustang all day. We were able to cut through traffic when we needed to and just the wrong place, wrong time. It really stinks. I feel this is part of the long list of races where I feel like we should have contended for the win and here I am early, so it stinks but that’s racing.”
WALK US THROUGH IT.
“It seemed like the 9 got loose on the bottom and whether he cut off the 21 or the 21 got into him, either way, it caused a big pile-up and we were right there. I found a gap and the gap was the car against the wall, so there wasn’t a whole lot to do, unfortunately for us. Obviously, we had an incredibly fast MoneyLion Ford Mustang. I feel like I’ve said that the last couple weeks. I hate being out of the race early, but I also hate having a race-winning car and not being able to capitalize on it. I feel like that’s been the story of our last couple weeks and you just can’t let it get to you, but it’s frustrating. We’ll go to Indy, a hometown race for our team and I’m looking forward to that.”
CHASE BRISCOE WINNER’S PRESS CONFERENCE
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang
HOW DID YOU KEEP THE CAR OFF THE WALL WHEN THE TIRE WENT DOWN?
“It was really surprising. I didn’t have any warning of it or anything like that. I was going down the short chute after turn one and all of a sudden it started pulling me to the infield and I heard stuff hitting the crush panels and everything else. I was really worried. I was trying to get out of the way of the leaders. I was worried that I was gonna spin out and come right up into them. I was lucky that it finally blew out on the exit of the tunnel turn, instead of right in the middle of it. I was really fortunate, too, that I was able to whoa it up. I think I ended up probably one or two feet off the inside wall, so that would have definitely ended our day. For the left-rear to not get the crush panel completely knocked out was a huge blessing in disguise, so I definitely thought our race, for the most part, was over as far as winning. I think we were probably gonna be able to get back to the top five, just because a lot of those good cars were tore up, but, overall, it was pretty cool to come from the back and able to get the win.”
DID YOU HAVE A LITTLE MORE HOPE WHEN SOME OF THOSE CARS ON THE RESTART LAID OVER?
“Yeah, for sure. I think I ended up restarting 10th or 12th in line. A lot of those guys were tore up, so they were letting people go by. The restart kind of worked out just perfect. I think by the first lap I was already running fourth or something like that. The biggest issue was the 21 and the 10 were kind of checked out and I didn’t know what they had tire-wise, but I was hoping they’d get to racing. Once the got to racing I was able to catch them so fast and then I was able to clear the 21 fairly quick, and then the 10 is obviously, he races really, really hard. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing. He kept kind of trying to sucker me into going to the bottom because that was my only opportunity, but I knew that put me in the worst situation. We were side-drafting really hard. I was able to clear him once, but I drove in so far into one that I missed the exit and he passed me back. That’s the fun thing about coming to Pocono, you’re always kind of playing chicken with each other trying to get into the corner. I knew Ross wasn’t gonna lift and I wasn’t gonna lift, and kind of the same thing on that last restart . Yeah, it’s definitely good for us that a lot of those good cars were tore up, and then as well as being able to restart somewhere in the midpack as opposed to restarting dead last.”
DID YOU CUT THE TIRE?
“I don’t know. I know Zippy said it looked like we just ran something over and cut it. I know there was definitely no warning. I went through turn one just fine and I was about midway through the backstretch and all of a sudden I thought I was gonna spin out down the straightaway, so I don’t know if I just hit something. I know there was a lot of debris all race long, kind of all over the place with how many wrecks there were and how many cars were in every wreck, so I’m sure I just hit something little and cut it. I was really lucky to be able to come back from that.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT GETTING THROUGH THE CARNAGE TODAY?
“It was crazy. I felt like the start right before that our car finally got to driving good. We started really bad and I knew I was gonna kind of be in the mix finally, where before I couldn’t really keep up with those guys. We all got stacked up off of one and I saw the 9 getting kind of squirrely. I was hitting the 22 really hard trying to help him to get going and we all checked up. It was like four us all hit each other at the same time and cars just started wrecking left and right. It was like the movie Cars. There sea just kind of split perfectly. The 22 was probably an inch, if that, off my front bumper. It was so close, so everything went our way today. Obviously, we still had issues with speeding on pit road and the flat tire, but, other than that, everything worked out perfect. We were really bad at the beginning of the race and thought we were gonna be lucky to even run eighth, but then a lot of those guys get tore up and we make our car better and we’re able to drive back through the field.”
HOW CONCERNED WERE YOU WITH CHASTAIN ON THE FINAL RESTART?
“I was certainly concerned just because I knew if the caution didn’t come out I was gonna win the race, and anytime you have a restart you never know what can happen. I kept contemplating in my head what lane to choose for that final restart because the 7, I always feel like, is the best pusher and typically I always say if the 7 is gonna be on the inside or the outside you go with that lane. He was so damaged that I was worried about doing it. I talked to my spotter to tell the 39 spotter just to push me as hard as he could and we relayed that message, so that’s what we did. I drove it in really hard into one, obviously, but Ross just being able to cut all of that distance off he threw a slide job on me. I was tight that final run as it was, so I was worried about even being able to turn back under him. I knew from that run where I caught him that his biggest struggle point was the tunnel turn. Even by himself he was really sideways through there, so I just tried to use that to my advantage and get really close to him without hitting him and just put air on his spoiler and get him loose, and then obviously I had to drive in deep enough into three that I could get away from him so he couldn’t do the same thing back to me, just because these XFINITY cars with how low of downforce they are, they’re just a handful around other guys if they’re close to your door or close to your bumper. So I knew that Ross was probably gonna do the same thing back to me, so I just had to drive in deep enough to get away from him.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE ROAD COURSE AT INDIANAPOLIS NEXT WEEK?
“Yeah, I’ve been practicing on the simulator since February for the Indy race. It means the world to me to win there, just with it being new nobody knows what to expect, so we’re trying to be the best we can be. I go to the simulator every Wednesday and every Wednesday I’ve been running at least an hour-and-a-half to two hours at Indy, just trying to get prepared for the racetrack. I feel like I’ve got a pretty good idea of where to make speed. It’s hard to really say how much the simulator will correlate over to the real-life thing, but I feel like I have a really good general idea of what to do and I’m not gonna be lost for those first couple of laps. I was standing here when Jeremy was talking and I couldn’t imagine going to a new racetrack and not being able to at least practice. When I was doing the ARCA stuff I didn’t have access to the simulator, but I at least had iRacing and iRacing doesn’t even have the same track that we’re gonna run, so I’m sure it’s gonna be really hard for those guys, but we’ve been practicing a lot for it. I’m really looking forward to it. It would mean the world to me to win at Indy. Growing up going there all the time. Growing up in Indiana and then for me to be a diehard Tony Stewart fan growing up to have Zippy on the box, to win at Indy would be one of the coolest things. So we definitely put a lot of significance on that race and hopefully we can get it done.”
WHEN YOU LOOK AT INDY. HOW DO YOU CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS FOR THAT RACE, AND WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TO WIN THERE WITH NO FANS?
“I hate, first off, that there’s not gonna be fans at Indianapolis just because when I go there, there are so many people that come from my hometown and from my area that don’t get to see me race anywhere else. You know just feeling the support every time I go there is so special and last year in driver’s intros when we were riding around in the trucks I literally had tears in my eyes just the amount of people that were standing up and cheering for me. It wouldn’t suck to win Indy without fans, but it would be bittersweet because none of my family would be there, none of the fans that don’t get to watch me anywhere else. I’m not gonna turn away a win at Indy just because there are no fans, but it is tough to go there and not have fans. The same in the fall in Kentucky. Kentucky is actually five or six miles closer to where I grew up than Indy is, but to go two weeks back-to-back at my two home tracks and not have any fans is certainly tough. Obviously, we know the situation that we’re in and hopefully we can have fans back soon, but it would definitely mean the world to win at both of those racetracks and maybe next year we can go back with fans and try to get a win again.”
HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE EMOTIONS?
“I think to a certain extent of that is not having fans will make it a little bit easier just because emotionally it’ll be a little bit easier. I won’t have as many distractions. Normally, when I go to Indy I have a ton of appearances and everything else, and I’ll be able to just go there and focus strictly on racing. From that end, I think it’ll maybe help a little bit just not having those emotions go along with it. In the race car, once we get going, it’s not gonna be any different. I’m gonna be focused on my job and hopefully we can just keep bringing race cars like we have. That’s the big thing. Like I said, it would mean a lot to me to win that race, but at the end of the day it’s a race just like any of the other ones. They pay the same amount of points, so we’re going there with the mentality just like it was today, so it might mean more to me personally, but I think we can keep those emotions in check and just go there and try to do our deal.”
GREG ZIPADELLI, Crew Chief, No. 98 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang
“It’s definitely a busy weekend with everything that’s going on, but we’ve got a lot of really good people, solid teams and had some really good cars yesterday. Today, now we get an opportunity to go race another Cup race. Getting a lot of racing done here in two days, but honestly it’s been a lot of fun, a lot of work, but everybody has done good. Yesterday, the biggest thing was we had four pretty strong cars. We were able to just fluff them and do some maintenance and setup changes for today, so hopefully we made the right ones and have another good, solid day.”
HOW REWARDING IS THIS WIN WITH ALL THE ADVERSITY YOU HAD TODAY?
“I guess that’s what probably makes racing so fun and so humbling of a sport is that it’s just never over until it’s over. I just thank the Lord that we had another opportunity at it and Chase made the best of it. We obviously had a good car and that’s all you can do is you kind of ride that wave and, right now, today was a good one for the XFINITY program even though we had a lot of adversity and some things that could have taken us out or at least taken the win away from us a couple of times and battled back, so just proud of everybody. I’m super, super-proud of Chase. He never gets rattled. He doesn’t get worked up. It’s kind of like he just pulls the belts tighter and tries to figure out whatever he can do to make it better and goes and does it.”
WHAT DOES IT SAY FOR CHASE TO LOSE A TIRE AND THEN COME BACK THROUGH TO STILL WIN?
“Yeah, a super-talented, young kid. He has a great attitude, fights to the end. That restart when we put tires on and had to come from the back, he went from 17th to fourth in three-quarters of a lap. He was three, four, five-wide and, like I said, we were blessed today. For as much bad as we had, we had a little good luck when we needed it. I’m just proud of everybody, certainly of Chase and his efforts.”