Chase Briscoe pulled off an impossible NASCAR feat at Martinsville.


Chase Briscoe almost made it. The Stewart-Haas racer knew he only needed a win to get into NASCAR Championship 4, and he was just 4 laps away from it.

Briscoe arrived at Martinsville Raceway as the lowest-scoring driver of the eight contenders, but was quick in practice and qualifying on Saturday, catching the attention of many, including a retired pole in Charlotte. player and defending champion Kyle Larson.

“He’s definitely one of the most aggressive drivers in the field,” Larson said. “Then you put the fact that he needs to win to improve. I’m sure it would be crazy if he ended up anywhere near the top of the pack. We’ll see…hopefully I was ahead of him or ahead of him and was able to avoid problems. He might as well come out on top and run away with that thing. That’s how good I find his car in practice.”

Briscoe, who started third, actually looked good on Sunday. He spent most of the first few laps in the top five and finished fifth in the first stage. But during the pit stop at the break, he left his pit with the gas can still attached to his Ford. The can fell out, but it was outside his box, and NASCAR penalized the team for removing the equipment. He had to drop to the bottom of the longest line, and it seemed that any hope of winning the race was gone.

However, he got one last chance.

With 32 laps left, Landon Cassill received his sixth and final race warning and slipped. The lead group pitted, but Briscoe lost a lap but regained it, running in eighth with Colcaster out.

Both drivers were on older tires, but Briscoe and his team realized that his only chance was to win and stay on the field, giving him the lead and hope.

Chase Briscoe 2

There were 24 laps left in the restart, and although Custer soon fell victim to the new tires behind him, Briscoe made a noble effort, first stopping Brad Keselowski and then Christopher Bell.

Four tires to ride dropped Briscoe’s old tires and Bell passed and went on to win. Briscoe had to settle for ninth and was eliminated from the playoffs along with Danny Hamlin, William Byron and Ryan Blaney.

“Yeah, that was the only game I really had,” Briscoe said. “I’m really surprised no one stayed out before me. We couldn’t really do it all day, so we knew if we restarted eighth, which I think is where we ran, we might have finished seventh Or eighth. I thought it would work for a second. I thought I might have won if the race was 10 laps away, but at the end I fell off a cliff really hard. It was unfortunate, but I had a chance. ”

Briscoe said the penalty did put her at a disadvantage.

“It’s really hard to pass,” he said. “We had to scrape one spot after another and it took a long time to get back there, but I think our car was pretty good near the end. It would have been nice to have consistent tires. I think we had a A car that can charge and fight to win, but it’s really the only race left.”

Still, the sophomore Cup racer was pleased with his playoff run.

“Proud of our team,” he said. “We were able to take advantage of that in the end. Only the punishment at the beginning buried us. Winning as a team, losing as a team. These guys got me into the playoffs and gave me a pit spot.

“Go to Phoenix next week and see if we can win.”