The NASCAR XFINITY Series headed to the half mile at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday night, and it was a frantic fight to the finish. While Chase Briscoe took a hard-fought victory, Justin Allgaier, Ross Chastain, and Austin Cindric all looked to be in position to win at certain parts of the event.
Dominant Run for Allgaier Falls Apart Late
Justin Allgaier led 126 of the event’s 300 laps and swept both the stages with a very strong car early. Things fell apart after stage two ended, though: Allgaier’s car went away, and it became a three horse race between Chase Briscoe, Ross Chastain, and Austin Cindric.
A Three-Horse Race at Bristol
Briscoe led on the final stage restart, but it was Chastain that prevailed, surviving another restart after a terminal mechanical failure for Bayley Currey left debris on the track. The final caution of the night came with less than 60 laps remaining, when Dexter Bean went for a spin. This brought together Chastain, Briscoe, and Cindric. Cindric wrestled the lead away from Chastain on the race’s final restart, and it looked to be Cindric’s race, especially after Chastain and Briscoe got together fighting for second. However, when power steering went out for Cindric, he slowed mightily. After Briscoe completed the pass on Chastain for second, he caught Cindric quickly. With a bump, Briscoe muscled by and sailed to the victory.
Briscoe Takes #7
The victory was Briscoe’s seventh of the season, and sets him equal to Austin Cindric in playoff points, counting the regular season bonuses; each will start the playoffs next weekend with 2,050 points. Briscoe’s seven wins bests Cindric’s five victories, but Cindric’s 17 top five finishes eke out Briscoe’s 14. Both have had stellar seasons, but despite fewer wins, Cindric has been the more consistent of the two. Either could certainly grab the title in a month and a half at Phoenix Raceway.
Bridesmaid Once Again for Chastain
Ross Chastain came oh-so-close once again on Friday night, leading a whopping 117 laps. Unfortunately, Chastain ended up a runner-up for the fifth time this season, including three of his last six races. While his stats are among the best in the series, the playoff reset will hurt Chastain. He’ll inherit eighth on the grid, only eight points above the cutoff line. The goose egg in the win column is to blame for that, and with Talladega and the Roval both in the round of 12, Chastain is far from a lock to make the next round.
Brown an Underdog Entering the Playoffs
One of the best feel-good stories from Friday night was certainly Brandon Brown locking himself into the playoffs after finishing twelfth. Despite driving for his family’s team, Brown scored consistently inside the top fifteen, and was right around 12th in points the entire season. This was enough to get into the playoffs with a comfortable margin over 13th-place Jeremy Clements. With no playoff points, Brown will be seeded at the bottom of the playoff grid. Who doesn’t love an underdog story?
The NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs will kick off at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 26th at 7:30 pm eastern time on NBC Sports Network.