Chase Briscoe earns emotional win at Darlington

Coming into Thursday’s race, Chase Briscoe was coming off the toughest week of his life after learning his wife, Marissa Briscoe, suffered a miscarriage. 

After back-and-forth passing and contact with Kyle Busch in turns three and four on the final lap, Briscoe was able to pull away on the straightaway to collect an emotional victory in the Toyota 200 at Darlington Raceway. 

The victory gives Briscoe two victories on the season. The other came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Feb. 22. 

Through rain delays and lightning strikes in the Darlington area, the race began. Noah Gragson, who started on the pole, showed dominance in stage one. The 21-year-old JR Motorsports driver led all laps to win his second stage on the year. Busch, who started 26th, maintained the momentum from the second-place finish in Wednesday’s Toyota 500 and vaulted into the top five at the end of the stage, despite the car feeling loose. 

After Busch beat out Gragson in the pits, the Toyota driver dominated in a similar fashion to what Gragson did in Stage 1, as he led all laps in stage two. The lead pushed over two-and-a-half seconds over Allgaier in second and over five seconds over Gragson in third. 

In the ensuing pit stops at the end of stage two, Busch initially looked to win in dominant fashion, but was forced to go to the rear of the race after speeding.

With 51 laps to go, Allgaier led at the wave of the green flag, but was quickly overtaken by Briscoe in turn 1. In the ensuing 36 laps, Briscoe was able to maintain the lead over Allgaier while Busch battled back from the rear and vaulted into the top five. 

With 15 laps to go, Michael Annett spun out with a flat right-front tire. Briscoe, Allgaier and Busch would come out of pit road as the top three drivers. 

With the wave of the green flag with nine laps to go, Briscoe would maintain the lead while Busch would overtake Allgaier after the latter got loose on the back straightaway. 

With less than three laps to go, Busch would pull to within two-tenths of a second and would overtake Briscoe after the latter slid into the wall. After contact between the two on the final lap, Briscoe would pull away and claim the victory. 

The second-place finish for Busch marks the fourth time the 35-year-old has finished second at Darlington Raceway in the Xfinity Series. The three other finishes came in 2003, 2010 and most recently in 2015. 

Allgaier collects his second top-10 on the year with a third-place finish. His other top-10 finish on the year came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he finished 8th.

Austin Cindric’s fourth-place finish gives the 21-year-old three top-five finishes on the year, with the other two coming at Fontana (3rd) and Las Vegas (2nd).

Gragson finished the race in fifth. The finish gives Gragson four top-10 finishes on the year. Gragson won the first race of the year at Daytona International Speedway. 

Among 11 drivers who drove their first race at Darlington Raceway, 19-year-old Harrison Burton finished the highest (9th).  

BJ McLeod scored his first top-15 finish in the Xfinity Series on a non-restrictor plate track.

The Xfinity Series continues Monday, May 25 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

Race results: https://www.jayski.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2020/05/21/2020-05nxs-results.pdf

Driver points: https://www.jayski.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2020/05/21/2020-05nxs-points.pdf

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