Chase Briscoe earns first Cup win at Phoenix Raceway

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Chase Briscoe dreamed of being a NASCAR driver but didn’t always believe it would happen.

“I never in a million years thought I would even run a single Truck (Series) race,” Briscoe said.

Wheeling his idol Tony Stewart’s famed No. 14 Ford, Briscoe fended off a fierce charge from Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick on the final restart to earn his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory in Sunday’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

MORE: Phoenix results, points

MORE: What Drivers Said

Briscoe, the second-year driver for Stewart-Haas Racing, controlled the restart with three laps to go following a spin by Chase Elliott at lap 305. With Chastain and Reddick in hot pursuit at the green flag, Briscoe blocked low exiting the dogleg, covering any move to his from behind.

Chastain, Reddick and Ryan Blaney battled three-wide for second, but Briscoe was clear by the exit of Turn 2 and powered away for the win. Briscoe becomes the 200th different race winner in the NASCAR Cup Series.

“That’s unbelievable,” Briscoe told FOX Sports. “I was crying the whole last lap. I mean this is definitely a team win, but I have to thank everybody that’s gotten me to this point. Seven years ago, I was sleeping on couches, volunteering at race shops and was literally driving home to give up. (Late ARCA team owner) Briggs Cunningham, Kerry Scherer and Beth Cunningham, they gave me an opportunity and it’s led to this.

“I am so blessed to be driving at the organization, the team, the car that was my hero growing up. To get this 14 back in Victory Lane, to do it with Mahindra Tractors, their first year in the sport, everybody that’s believed in me. It’s unbelievable.”

The win only added to a great Sunday for Briscoe’s car owner. Tony Stewart also earned his first victory as an NHRA team owner with driver Matt Hagan at the Gatornationals in Gainsville. Florida.

Briscoe, who led 101 laps Sunday, was challenged on multiple late restarts. After a restart at lap 293 of 312, Briscoe escaped with the lead but not after daring racing with Reddick. The two fought side-by-side for a couple laps before Reddick slid back.

As the laps wound down, Reddick appeared to be reeling in Briscoe. But Elliott’s spin negated the charge.

Blaney appeared to have the strongest car in the race through much of the event, leading a race-high 143 laps. But troubles on pit road cost the No. 12 team. After winning the second stage, Blaney backslid to fourth on pit road but worked his way back to third. The next round of stops cost Blaney another six spots after the right-rear tire changer had difficulty with the lug nut.

Rounding out the top five behind Briscoe were Chastain, Reddick, Blaney and Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez and Chris Buescher completed the top 10.

Harvick’s sixth-place finish was his 18th straight top-10 finish at Phoenix, tying seven-time Cup champions Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the most consecutive top 10s at one track, both achieving so at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Entering Turn 3 on the final lap, Daniel Suarez blocked an inside run by Kyle Busch. Contact between the two sent Suarez up and into Austin Dillon, who backed into the outside retaining wall.

Stage 1 winner: William Byron

Stage 2 winner: Ryan Blaney

Who had a good race: Ross Chastain scored his second straight top-five finish, following up last week’s third-place effort at Las Vegas with a runner-up finish in Phoenix. … Tyler Reddick had an issue-free weekend after a West Coast Swing full of fast cars and underwhelming results. His third-place finish is his first top five of the year after leading 90 laps at Auto Club two weeks ago. … Kurt Busch took advantage of those late-race restarts to climb to a fifth-place finish, his first top five with 23XI Racing. He’s now scored top-20 finishes in each of the season’s first four races.

Who had a bad race: Phoenix Raceway’s 2021 winners had miserable days Sunday and didn’t even see the checkered flag. Martin Truex Jr., last spring’s winner, crashed at the exit of Turn 2 Sunday and destroyed the right front of his race car at lap 219, plummeting him to a 35th-place finish and first DNF of the year. … Twenty laps later, defending champion Kyle Larson broke a valve spring and ended his day with his second DNF in four races.

Noteable: Ryan Blaney’s 143 laps led mark the 13th time he has led at least 64 laps and not gone on to win. … Aric Almirola‘s top-10 streak ends at five dating back to last season. The No. 10 Ford finished 12th Sunday. … None of Hendrick Motorsports’ four cars finished inside the top 10, marking the first time that’s happened since Talladega in October 2021.

Next race: The series will compete March 20 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on FOX).

NBC will broadcast final six NASCAR Cup Series playoff races

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The final six races in the chase for the NASCAR Cup Series championship will be televised by NBC.

The races remaining on the schedule are at Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 2), the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Oct. 9), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Oct. 16), Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 23), Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 30) and Phoenix Raceway (Nov. 6).

NBC’s broadcasting team will be on hand Sunday for what is typically a seasonal highlight — a 500-mile race at Talladega Superspeedway. The next week the playoffs move on to Charlotte for a cutoff race. The lowest four drivers in the playoff point standings will be eliminated from championship competition.

The Round of 8 is scheduled at Las Vegas, Homestead and Martinsville, with the tiny Martinsville track serving as the final cutoff race. The four drivers who advance from Martinsville will race for the title at Phoenix Nov. 6.

The high drama of the Phoenix race, in which the championship will go to the highest finisher of the four competing drivers, will be carried by both NBC and Peacock.

Post-race commentary and analysis for all six remaining Cup races will be carried on Peacock.

Kyle Larson is the series defending champion. Joey Logano carries the point lead into Sunday’s race at Talladega.

NASCAR viewer’s guide for Talladega Superspeedway

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After a messy Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs move on this weekend to another potentially messy spot — Talladega Superspeedway.

Home to the Big One — an almost certain multi-car crash, Talladega also occasionally produces unexpected winners, including Richard Brickhouse, James Hylton, Lennie Pond, Ron Bouchard and Brad Keselowski.

The mix of tight drafting, the Next Gen car and general playoff tension should make Sunday’s 500-mile run quite the adventure.

On Sunday at Texas, Tyler Reddick became the second driver (after Chase Elliott) to score three wins this season.

Joey Logano enters Talladega with the playoff point lead.

Playoff rookies roll on

The four drivers participating in the Cup playoffs for the first time remain factors approaching the second race in the second round.

Ross Chastain is second in the standings, 18 points above the cutline entering Talladega.

MORE: NBC NASCAR rankings put Denny Hamlin first

Daniel Suarez, Chastain’s Trackhouse Racing teammate, is seventh. He’s four points above the cutline.

Two other playoff rookies — Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric — will start Talladega below the cutline. Briscoe is four points below the cutline. Cindric is 11 points below the cutline.

Looking for wins

Only six of the remaining 12 playoff drivers have won races at the two remaining tracks in the second round (Talladega and Charlotte Roval).

Among the six, Joey Logano has the best win record at Talladega, having finished first there in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Other Talladega winners in the group: Ryan Blaney (two), Denny Hamlin (two), Chase Elliott (one), Ross Chastain (one).

The Charlotte Roval is relatively new, of course, but Chase Elliott already owns two wins there. Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson also have won at the Roval.

An opening for Brad?

Few people who watched it will forget the first Cup Series victory scored by Brad Keselowski.

It occurred at this week’s tour stop — Talladega Superspeedway — in April 2009. Keselowski and Carl Edwards made contact approaching the finish line and notched the win, even as Edwards’ car flew into the frontstretch fence, spraying car parts into the grandstands.

Thirteen years later, Keselowski returns to NASCAR’s biggest track having recorded six Talladega wins. No other active drive has more than three.

Keselowski’s refurbished team — Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing — has new fire with Chris Buescher winning at Bristol and Keselowski winning the pole and finishing eighth at Texas.

RFK Racing has led 309 laps in the past two races, more than the team had led in the prior 105 races combined.

Although he hasn’t won a Cup race since scoring a victory in a Team Penske Ford in April 2021 at Talladega, Keselowski must be considered a threat Sunday.

Entry lists

Thirty-seven drivers, including Xfinity Series star Noah Gragson and reigning Xfinity champion Daniel Hemric, are entered for Sunday’s Cup race.

Talladega Cup entry list

The Xfinity entry list includes 41 drivers for 38 spots. Among those joining the series regulars are Trevor Bayne, Parker Kligerman, Timmy Hill and Jeffrey Earnhardt.

Talladega Xfinity entry list

Forty-one drivers are entered for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race. Included are Kaz Grala, Ryan Preece, Natalie Decker, Jennifer Jo Cobb and Parker Kligerman.

Talladega Truck entry list

This week’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Friday, Sept. 30

Forecast: Partly cloudy. High of 77. (Weather note: There is the possibility that Hurricane Ian could impact the race weekend, depending on its path).

  • 3:30 – 5 p.m. — Truck Series qualifying
  • 5:30 – 7 p.m. — Xfinity Series qualifying (USA Network)

Saturday, Oct. 1

Forecast: Overcast with showers at times. Potential for heavy rainfall. High of 73. 60% chance of rain.

  • 10:30 a.m. – Noon — Cup Series qualifying (NBC Sports app, Motor Racing Network, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio)
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series race (94 laps, 250 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 4 p.m. — Xfinity Series race (113 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Oct. 2

Forecast: Sun in the morning, increasing clouds in the afternoon. Slight chance of a shower. High of 74.

  • 2 p.m. — Cup Series race (188 laps, 500 miles; NBC, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

 

 

 

 

NASCAR fines Ty Gibbs $75,000 for pit road incident at Texas

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NASCAR fined Ty Gibbs $75,000 and docked him 25 points for door-slamming Ty Dillon on pit road during last weekend’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Crew members from other teams were nearby when Gibbs hit Dillon’s car, causing it to swerve. No crew members or officials were hit.

NASCAR has made it a priority that drivers are not to cause contact that could injured crew members or officials on pit road. NASCAR also penalized Gibbs 25 Cup driver points and docked 23XI Racing 25 car owner points for the No. 23 Cup car that Gibbs drives.

NASCAR penalizes William Byron for spinning Denny Hamlin

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NASCAR has docked William Byron 25 points and fined him $50,000 for spinning Denny Hamlin under caution in last weekend’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Byron drops from third in the playoff standings to below the cutline heading into Sunday’s Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Chase Briscoe moves up to hold the final transfer spot with 3,041 points. Austin Cindric is the first driver outside a transfer spot with 3,034 points. Byron is next at 3,033 points.

Hendrick Motorsports was docked 25 owner points as well.

Hendrick Motorsports stated it would appeal the penalty.

The caution waved at Lap 269 for Martin Truex Jr.’s crash. As Hamlin slowed, Byron closed and hit him in the rear. 

Byron admitted after the race the contact was intentional, although he didn’t mean to wreck Hamlin. Byron was upset with how Hamlin raced him on Lap 262. Byron felt Hamlin forced him into the wall as they exited Turn 2 side-by-side. Byron expressed his displeasure during the caution.

“I felt like he ran me out of race track off of (Turn) 2 and had really hard contact with the wall,” Byron said. “Felt like the toe link was definitely bent, luckily not fully broken. We were able to continue.

“A lot of times that kind of damage is going to ruin your race, especially that hard. I totally understand running somebody close and making a little bit of contact, but that was pretty massive.”

On the retaliatory hit, Byron said: “I didn’t mean to spin him out. That definitely wasn’t what I intended to do. I meant to bump him a little bit and show my displeasure and unfortunately, it happened the way it did. Obviously, when he was spinning out, I was like ‘I didn’t mean to do this,’ but I was definitely frustrated.”

Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart argued and questioned NASCAR for not putting Hamlin back in second place — where he was before Byron hit him — and also questioned Byron not being penalized.

“I guess we can just wreck each other under caution,” Hamlin said after the race.

Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, told reporters after the race that series officials did not penalize Byron because they did not see the incident. 

“When we were in the tower, we were paying more attention to the actual cause of the caution up there and dispatching our equipment,” Miller said. “The William Byron-Denny Hamlin thing, we had no eyes on. We saw Denny go through the grass.

“By the time we got a replay that showed the incident well enough to do anything to it, we had gone back to green.”