Event: Boyd Gaming 300 (Round 2 of 33) Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval) Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps) Start/Finish: 2nd/1st (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps) Point Standing: 1st (92 points, 7 ahead of second place) Note: Rain 50 laps into the Boyd Gaming 300 postponed the remainder of the race to Sunday afternoon.
Race Winner: Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford) Stage 1 Winner: Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford) Stage 2 Winner: Justin Allgaier of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Briscoe’s No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang was dominant in the Saturday portion of the Boyd Gaming 300, leading twice for 26 laps and taking the Stage 1 win. It proved to be a slightly different racecar in the Sunday edition of the race, for after rain postponed the remainder of the contest to after the NASCAR Cup Series race, track conditions changed significantly, seemingly to the betterment of others. Briscoe and crew chief Richard Boswell were undeterred, continually adjusting the handling of the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang. Their work, combined with a quick pit stop on lap 165, put Briscoe back into the lead for the lap-170 restart. Briscoe bested fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric when the green flag dropped, opening up a significant margin that, despite Cindric’s best efforts in the final 15 laps, could not be overcome. Briscoe collected his first victory of 2020 and the third Xfinity Series win of his career. The triumph, combined with Briscoe’s fifth-place result in the season-opener last weekend at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, makes the 25-year-old driver from Mitchell, Indiana, the championship leader with a seven-point advantage over next best Noah Gragson.
Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It’s nice to get a win early. Obviously, we were hoping that we could get a win at some point in the year – we expected to – but to get it in our Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang before Phoenix is definitely nice just because we can go there and kind of try some stuff because I feel like that’s one place I need to get way better at. That being said, it’s nice to take the point lead. It doesn’t mean as much this early in the season, but it’s a good confidence booster and it goes a long way when you’re in that first garage stall with your guys.
“If we do our job every week, I feel like we can contend at any racetrack. This shows that we’re capable of winning, and that’s something that internally I feel like we all knew, but you never know until you do it. It makes a little bit of a statement, but not a definite statement that this is who you’ve got to go through to win the championship, by any means. There are still a lot of guys that are going to be really good and, truthfully, we’ve got to get a lot better too to be that definite guy.
“The race was really weird. I feel like every time I come to Vegas, you can run up to the wall or even run the middle really well, and the bottom kind of goes away after seven or eight laps. The beginning of the race I felt like I was really, really good, and I had clean air, but when we lost the lead my car completely changed. It took a total 180 and it was hard to tell if it was really just dirty air doing that or the sun going down. Cindric ran away with it there for a while, and then when I was able to get the lead and I kind of ran away with it, and it seemed like tonight was the fastest I’ve ever felt like I’ve gone around Vegas, just because we had so much grip and so much speed around the bottom. It was almost like driving a truck in terms of how hard you could drive the thing, so clean air was crucial just because it was so hard to make a pass. I probably gave up a ton of time trying to make the top work, and even trying to make the middle work and pass guys. I just had to try to stay disciplined to run the bottom and, obviously, it would prevail.”
● Prior to Briscoe’s win in the Boyd Gaming 300, his previous best finish at Las Vegas was eighth, earned in last year’s Boyd Gaming 300. ● Briscoe led five times for a race-high 89 laps to bring his laps led total at Las Vegas to 90. ● Briscoe earned his third victory, 16th top-five and 32nd top-10 in 52 career Xfinity Series starts. This was his fourth Xfinity Series start at Las Vegas. ● Briscoe won Stage 1 to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point. He finished third in Stage 2 to earn eight more bonus points. ● Briscoe’s margin of victory over second-place Cindric was 2.874 seconds. ● There were five caution periods for a total of 28 laps. ● Only 11 of the 36 drivers in the Boyd Gaming 300 finished on the lead lap.
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Production Alliance Group 300 on Saturday, Feb. 29 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 4 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.