Top-Five Finishes Keep Playoff Hopes Alive for Briscoe and Cindric
Brad Keselowski Racing NCWTS Recap: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150
Chase Briscoe dominated early in the Las Vegas 350, leading every lap of the opening segment and earning a valuable win in Stage 1. However, quickly-changing track conditions took a toll on the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150 as day turned to night, forcing Briscoe to rally back in the closing laps to earn a third-place finish.
After qualifying third, Briscoe rocketed to the lead following the wave of the green flag, occupying the point position throughout the 35-lap segment, winning the stage by more than a one-second margin and earning a valuable playoff point. Briscoe described his truck as “perfect” in Turns 1 and 2 and tight back to throttle in Turns 3 and 4, and crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. made the call for four tires, fuel and just a minor air-pressure adjustment. Briscoe restarted first, but track conditions were quickly changing as the sun set, which made the Cooper Standard Ford F-150 extremely tight throughout the second stage. Taking the green and white checkered flag from the sixth position, Briscoe stated that the rear end of his truck was “on edge.” The Brad Keselowski Racing team provided four tires, fuel and both air-pressure and wedge adjustments, and Briscoe returned to the track in the fifth position for the start of the final stage.
Briscoe found that his F-150 was still really tight center off, and a 55-lap green-flag run forced Briscoe to pit under green on lap 123. With one final opportunity to adjust, Hillman called for four tires, fuel and additional wedge and air-pressure adjustments. When the final yellow flag of the night finally waved on lap 133, Briscoe was scored in the seventh position, but he lined up fifth when the field went green with just a handful of laps remaining. Briscoe found himself three and four-wide following the restart, fighting hard and tangling with non-playoff drivers for several laps before emerging third. Unfortunately, despite having the fastest truck on the racetrack in the closing laps, Briscoe ran out of time before he could chase down the leaders, ultimately crossing the finish line in the third position.
Chase Briscoe: “Tonight was really disappointing, because I felt like we had a race-winning truck and we finished third. We were really good at the start of the race in the daylight when the track was really slick. As the sun went down, we didn’t make the right adjustments and it put us in a box and cost us a lot of track position. After we made our green-flag pit stop toward the end, I felt like our Cooper Standard Ford F-150 was the fastest truck on the racetrack by quite a bit. Even though there are eight guys racing in the Playoffs, there are still a lot of guys out there racing for wins. We had to race them really hard and just lost too much ground to the leaders to be able to make it back to the front. It would have been a really big deal to be going into Talladega with a win, and a spot in the Round of 6, because there’s just so much that’s out of your control in a plate race. We just have to do everything we can to stay out of the Big One. The guys who do that are essentially the ones who are going to get to the next round.”
Starting Position: 3rd
Finishing Position: 3rd
Stage Wins: 1
Laps Led: 40
Playoff Seeding: 5th
Points Ahead of Cutoff Position: 10