By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Briscoe didn’t enter the top-10 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway until the final Stage of the race. The No. 14 CODE 3 ASSOCIATES Ford Mustang lined up second after pit stops under caution with about 35 laps to go.
The Mitchell, IN native battled with race leader Justin Haley, who took two tires. A quick caution kept the Stewart-Haas Racing driver in second. Briscoe took the lead on the next restart only for another caution to wave.
On the final restart of the race, the 27-year-old fought three-wide with Haley and Ross Chastain. Briscoe slipped back to second, behind Chastain, as he continued to battle with the Kaulig Racing driver.
Both eventual winner Joey Logano, and Kyle Busch, ran down and passed Briscoe in the closing laps. The Phoenix Raceway winner from earlier this season held off Denny Hamlin to take the checkered flag in fourth.
“On that last restart, I just didn’t get the job done,” Briscoe admitted. “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.
“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. We kept ourselves in the ballgame and still have a lot of work to do but we still have a chance. We are running the best we have all year long and that is about all you can ask for.”
The fourth-place finish was a far cry from the performance Briscoe had early in the race. After qualifying 16th, he fell outside of the top-30 and went a lap down in Stage 1. A caution for Busch earned the No. 14 the free pass.
Briscoe spent much of the second Stage outside the top-20 as well. Stage 3 started his slow climb up the running order, which was aided by multiple late-race cautions and pit strategy.
“We weren’t the greatest at the start of the race and obviously it didn’t really matter there at the end,” Briscoe explained. “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. We had such a big gap compared to everyone else. Nobody else had tires. We were all on equal tires.”
The fourth-place finish is Briscoe’s fifth career top-five in the NASCAR Cup Series. It’s also the 11th top-10 finish of his career and his eighth this season.
Though he didn’t earn any Stage points, Briscoe is still in range of the cutline for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4. He is nine-points below the cutoff, currently held by Hamlin. Briscoe is 42-points behind fellow Ford Performance driver, and leader, Logano.
The last hope for a Stewart-Haas Racing championship, Briscoe now heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Dixie Vodka 400 on Sunday, October 23 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network as well as SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.