N. WILKESBORO, N.C. - Chase Briscoe had one of the fastest cars over the final 96 laps, but with an uncharacteristic lack of cautions in the closing laps, he didn’t have a chance to mount a charge in the annual All-Star Race and finished a Ford-best fourth.
Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano also finished in the top 10, placing sixth and 10th respectively in the 200-lap feature that was won by Kyle Larson.
The usual twists that have become associated with the All-Star Race weren’t present this season as the sport returned to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the first time since 1996. As a result, there were only a couple of rules in place. A caution was called at lap 100 and teams could only use one set of sticker tires over the final 100 laps.
As it turned out, that never happened because the final 91 laps went caution free after the race resumed and track position was hard to gain.
The NASCAR Cup Series returns to points racing this weekend with the annual Memorial Day Weekend Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 28 at 6 p.m. (Fox, PRN, SiriusXM)
NCS RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
1st -- Kyle Larson
2nd -- Bubba Wallace
3rd -- Tyler Reddick
4th -- Chase Briscoe
5th -- Chase Elliott
6th -- Ryan Blaney
7th -- Daniel Suarez
8th -- Erik Jones
9th -- Ty Gibbs
10th -- Joey Logano
REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
16th – Chris Buescher
18th – Kevin Harvick
19th – Brad Keselowski
21st – Austin Cindric
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang –
THOUGHTS ON THIS RACE? SHOULD IT COME BACK HERE?
“Truthfully, this car at every short track has kind of struggled. I think a lack of grip didn’t really fix the issues. I don’t know. It was fun. I still think this has a great opportunity to be an incredible event, but it would be different if every other race on short tracks had been really good. I think we just need to keep continuing to work on the car. I feel like we made it better on short tracks than what it was last year, but we just need to get it better. We’re slipping and sliding around and doing the things we need to do, but, truthfully, I just feel like this race would have been really, really good if the track had more than one lane. It was almost the track more than the car necessarily. It was just so fast on the bottom groove. If you miss it by six inches, you are a half-second slower. We all know that and we all just continue to fight for the bottom. I would almost just put it up as the racetrack is so bottom dominant that that’s why it’s really hard to pass.”
YOU FOUND SOMETHING AT THE END.
“Yeah, we were really, really fast at the end. I felt like if I could have ever just got the lead, I would have been hard to beat, but I’m sure a lot of other guys would say that too. It was definitely frustrating. We kind of got beat around there on that one restart. I went from running fourth to seventh or eighth and had to drive back up to fourth, so I felt like we were one of the few cars that could pass. I’m proud of that effort, but I would have obviously loved to win a million dollars. Truthfully, with how our last couple of weeks have been, just to get a good run and prove that we can run with these guys is nice.”
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Wrangler Ford Mustang –
“I had a fun night. Sixth was probably the highest we got to and where we finished, and I thought we could run fifth. Overall, it wasn’t a bad night. We didn’t have winning speed, but it was a fun night, for sure. It was just a case of how disciplined you wanted to be.”
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WITH SUCH A LONG RUN ON THIS WORN SURFACE?
“The whole last run going green was super cool. It was big tire management because you never really know how many laps you’re gonna run. I kind of had it in my mind right away like, ‘Alright, we might go the whole way, so let’s kind of plan on that,’ and it happened. It was a pretty fun night trying to conserve tires. It reminded me of my late model days.”
ALL STAR OPEN RACE
Ford Finishing Results
3rd – Aric Almirola
4th – Ryan Preece
6th – JJ Yeley
11th – Harrison Burton
12th – Ryan Newman
13th – Michael McDowell
15th – Todd Gilliland
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 FR8 Auctions Ford Mustang –
WHAT DO YOU THINK GIBBS DID WRONG AND WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE WERE YOU TRYING TO SEND?
“He just drove me all the way through the corner and into the 31 and wrecked both of us. I mean, it’s pretty clear none of us were gonna make the corner with the 54 driving me wide-open into the corner. Listen, it’s short track racing and we’re all trying to get into the All-Star Race. It’s a big night, so people are gonna leave with hurt feelings and tempers are gonna flare. That’s part of it. It sucks that the guy that moved you and moved a lot of cars made it in, but at the same time I’m not gonna wreck him and send him out or do something stupid with a broken car. I just wanted to let him know that it’s unacceptable and he knows that. He knows what he’s doing out there. He gets away with a lot more than he should. It was unfortunate. I felt like our FR8 Auction Ford Mustang was pretty good. We got a good restart and we were making things happen and then we just got nailed.”
IN YOUR OPINION, DO YOU THINK HE DESERVES TO BE IN THE ALL-STAR RACE?
“Well, he raced his way in, so absolutely. I mean, that’s just part of it. I am not a poor sport. Racing is racing. You just hate to get cleaned out like that, so that sucks, but it is what it is.”
THAT WAS UNCHARACTERISTIC FOR YOU TO DO WHAT YOU DID.
“I don’t think about any of that. I don’t care about all that. It just sucks because we moved up. We were moving forward and felt like we had a car that if we got the position we could probably hold it and I had the position – got a great restart, cleared him and got down and he just never lifted. There was no chance that I was ever gonna make turn three and, in the process, I wiped out Justin Haley with the 54 driving me through the rear bumper. It’s short track racing. I know we’re gonna beat and bang, but there was no chance of me making the corner. That wasn’t knocking somebody a little bit up the track. I was full lock and still going straight with him pushing, so it sucks. It is what it is. I hate it for the FR8 Auction folks. We had a fast car and felt like we could at least have a shot at running in that top three and see what we could do.”
TODD GILLILAND, No. 38 Boot Barn Ford Mustang –
“I think my spotter said the 42 hit the inside wall. The only thing I saw was the 42 coming right across my nose and I just shot to the outside wall. That’s probably about as hard as you could possibly wreck here and it definitely sucks that we tear up a car here, but that’s racing. For me, I lost a spot on that restart. If I had just maintained, I would have been ahead of that. To me, that’s disappointing for myself that I let that happen, but at the same time I didn’t want to get stuck top of three wide.”
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (May 20 -- North Wilkesboro)
- Ty Majeski was Ford’s highest finisher at North Wilkesboro, finishing 2nd.
- Matt Crafton also finished in the top 10 as he ended up 7th while Hailie Deegan was 20th.
- Zane Smith (32nd) and Ben Rhodes (33rd) did not finish after being involved in the same multi-truck accident.
- Ty Majeski is the highest Ford driver in the standings (2nd) with Zane Smith 3rd, Ben Rhodes 6th and Matt Crafton 7th.
- The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series continues this week on Friday, May 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1, PRN, SiriusXM).