Chase Briscoe may have won the pole, but when the green flag falls for this afternoon’s Xfinity Series final first round playoff race at Dover International Speedway, he’ll start from the back of the 38-car field.
Citing unapproved adjustments, NASCAR stripped Briscoe of the top spot less than an hour after he earned the pole.
Also being sent to the back of the field following Saturday’s qualifying was Michael Annett due to an engine change. That is a major development for Annett, as he currently holds the final transfer spot into the Round of 8 two weeks from now.
Before he was ordered to the back of the field, Briscoe was the fastest car in the field on the 1-mile, banked all-concrete oval with a speed of 157.246 mph — that, even though his Ford suffered a slight engine misfire.
“The motor was running, once we got going, it was under load and just missing a little bit,” Briscoe told NBCSN. “It’s probably something electrical, we think. It’s a testament to all the awesome motors at Roush Yates Engines. We weren’t even under full power and were able to get the pole, so that’s good.”
But a couple seconds later in the same interview, Briscoe kind of foretold what eventually happened to him: “Hopefully, we can find something little, like a wire loose or something and be able to start up front. But if not, we’ll probably have to go to the back with everything big picture-wise and make sure we don’t take ourselves out of the playoffs. We’ve got a good race car, but hopefully we can find out what our gremlin is and go from there. At least we’re now aware of it and it’s not a surprise when it does happen.”
Now, Cindric, who recorded a speed of 156.733 mph, will start from what had been Briscoe’s spot at the front of the field.
“Great to be on the front row, have a little speed and hopefully we can do everything we can to move on to the Round of 8 and maybe get some bonus points,” Cindric told NBCSN. “Making the Round of 8 is a box checked. … We’re happy where we are as a team but we’ve got to keep the momentum going.”
Cole Custer (156.685 mph) will be alongside Cindric on the front row.
Third through fifth are Tyler Reddick (156.461 mph), Harrison Burton (155.864 mph) and Christopher Bell (155.858).
Sixth through 10th are Noah Gragson (155.736), Justin Allgaier (155.649), Brandon Jones (155.555), Zane Smith (155.454) and Justin Haley (155.112).
Bell narrowly avoided disaster when he almost lost control of his car coming out of Turn 4 during his qualifying effort. Bell was able to rein the car back in. Several cars later, Tyler Reddick also got loose twice during his qualifying run but also managed to save it both times.
Today’s Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200 race starts at 3 p.m. ET (televised on NBCSN, and on radio on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The four lowest-ranked playoff drivers after the race will be eliminated from advancing to the second round of the playoffs, which begin October 19 at Kansas Speedway.
Click here for full qualifying results.