Event: Darlington 200 (Round 5 of 33) Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.366-mile oval) Format: 147 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/57 laps) Start/Finish: 11th/1st (Running, completed 147 of 147 laps) Point Standing: 1st (223 points, 19 ahead of second)
Race Winner: Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford) Stage 1 Winner: Noah Gragson of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet) Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Chase Briscoe beat one of the best drivers in NASCAR to score his fourth career Xfinity Series victory and his second this season. The driver of the No. 98 HighPoint.com/Ford Performance Racing School Mustang started 11th for the 200-lap race around the 1.366-mile oval and ran consistently among the top-10 through the race’s first 90 laps. A quick pit stop on lap 91 for four tires and field allowed Briscoe to restart in second place on lap 96. The 25-year-old driver from Mitchell, Indiana, promptly took the lead, pacing the field for the next 34 laps. A caution on lap 133 allowed Briscoe to pit one final time for fresh tires and fuel, and another lightning-fast stop put Briscoe in the lead for the lap-138 restart. This set up a battle between Briscoe and Busch, the winningest driver in Xfinity Series history with 96 career victories. But Briscoe would not be denied, crossing the finish line first in a fender-scraping, tire-rubbing duel where the margin of victory was just .086 of a second.
Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 98 HighPoint.com/Ford Performance Racing School Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“This is the best thing that could happen, honestly. For those that don’t know, we had a miscarriage Tuesday of our daughter and, to be honest with you, I wasn’t sure what racing we would do. God is so good. Earlier when I got dressed, I prayed that whatever His will is, just let it be done today. I knew He was going to have a high because of the low, and it’s just unbelievable to win here at Darlington and to beat Kyle Busch doing it.
“I just kept making a lot of mistakes on the final lap. Emotionally, I wasn’t there. Getting into turn one, I knew that there was no way he was going to drive in deeper than me. I wasn’t going to let it happen. Kyle was gracious enough to at least leave me a little bit of a lane and it was a heck of a race. This is the number one win. Honestly, winning the Daytona 500 couldn’t even top the feeling of the ups and downs. This is what my family needed and what my wife needed.
“This has been the hardest week I’ve ever had to deal with. At the initial start, I was all over the place emotionally, and then when I had the lead with 50 to go, I was just making so many mistakes because I was literally crying inside the racecar. There’s nothing else to say other than God is just so glorious. Obviously, I’m happy to get HighPoint.com and Ford Performance Racing School in victory lane, but this is more than a race win. This is the biggest day of my life after the toughest day in my life, and to be able to beat the best there is, is so satisfying.”
● The win gave Briscoe the lead in the championship standings. He holds a 19-point advantage over second-place Harrison Burton. ● This was Briscoe’s 55th career Xfinity Series start, but only his second at Darlington. He finished sixth in last year’s race. ● Briscoe led three times for 45 laps. ● Briscoe finished eighth in Stage 1 to earn three bonus points and fourth in Stage 2 to earn an additional seven bonus points. ● There were five caution periods for a total of 28 laps. ● Twenty-four of the 39 drivers in the Darlington 200 finished on the lead lap.
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Alsco 300 on Monday, May 25 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.