LAS VEGAS – Chase Briscoe’s work was cut out for him ahead of Sunday’s South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Rolling off from the 16th starting position, Briscoe’s afternoon started off with a subpar 26th place result in Stage 1.
While Stage 2 offered plentiful frantic moments involving Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace and Christopher Bell, Briscoe climbed up ever so slightly in Stage 2’s running order with a 19th place finish.
As the dust settled and the action turned to intense, ontrack action, Briscoe applied the spurs to his No. 14 Code 3 Associates Ford Mustang in Stage 3. Namely, he worked his way inside the top 10 as the lead lap contenders vied for different pit strategies to maximize track position.
Briscoe and crew chief Johnny Klausmeier found themselves in a prime position to snatch their second win of 2022 in the closing laps. In this case, the 27-year-old Mitchell, Indiana native was in the lead with 15 laps remaining.
However, Briscoe had a tall task with trying to stave off the likes of Joey Logano and Ross Chastain. With Chastain, Logano and Kyle Busch making haste of Briscoe, it was all about placing best in class.
Although Briscoe crossed the stripe in fourth and remained below the cutline by nine points, he knew it was all about rolling the dice in the final laps at Las Vegas.
“We weren’t the greatest at the start of the race and obviously it didn’t really matter there at the end,” Briscoe said. “We put ourselves in position and I wish that when I was running second and Justin (Haley) was in the lead, that run would have gone to the end. I feel like I was probably going to get by him in the next five laps.”
Despite the commendable gamble, Briscoe wondered about what could have been if he executed his restart more efficiently, especially when he dealt with Haley.
“We had such a big gap compared to everyone else. Nobody else had tires. We were all on equal tires,” he opined. “On that last restart, I just didn’t get the job done. The 31 stalled me out and let Ross (Chastain) put us three wide which put me in a really bad spot into three. When you give up the lead you are kind of just stuck.”
Equally so, the second year Cup competitor knew his task was somewhat insurmountable as he contended with Chastain, Logano and Busch’s fresh tires advantage.
“Who knows? Those guys were coming on tires and I doubt I would have been able to hold them off but I would have felt better about it if I had the opportunity,” he considered.
With Homestead looming next Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC), Briscoe is licking his chops about battling for the win, a momentous need for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver as he looks to climb above the Playoffs field cutline.
“We kept ourselves in the ballgame and still have a lot of work to do but we still have a chance,” he said. “We are running the best we have all year long and that is about all you can ask for.”