A race that had a difficult start but concluded with a strong comeback concluded with a disappointing outcome for Chase Briscoe and his No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford team following the Hooter’s 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
It started even before the drop of the green flag when a piece of ballast came off of Briscoe’s car and was situated on the track during the pace laps. Briscoe was then directed by NASCAR to pit as his crew went to work to replace the missing ballast from his car. By the time Briscoe returned to the track while serving a pass-through penalty for having too many crew members over the pit wall, he was six laps behind the field. From there, Briscoe spent the entire race making up the laps he lost from the leaders.
When the first stage concluded, he was three laps behind. By the time the second stage concluded, he was one lap behind. When the caution flew with seven laps remaining following a single-car wreck, Briscoe took the wave around to return to the lead lap and was then able to race from 11th to seventh when the checkered flag flew. Briscoe’s seventh-place result was his seventh top-10 finish of this season.
“It was definitely a frustrating day, but we can’t hang our heads,” Briscoe said. “We had another really good, fast race car and we just made a silly mistake this week and forgot something. Last week, I made a silly mistake on pit road, so it all evens out. The positive is that we had a really fast race car. In fact, I felt like we were the fastest car by quite a bit. The good thing is we get another chance at it tomorrow and hopefully, we can put it all together and not make any mistakes and get another win.”
Following the race, however, Briscoe’s team was hit with a major penalty as a result of the ballast that separated from his car prior to the race. As a result of violating rule 126.96.36.199.4.d. from the NASCAR RuleBook, crew chief Richard Boswell, car chief Nick Hutchins and engineer D.J. Vanderley have been suspended for the next four series races, beginning with the second Homestead race on June 14. Briscoe’s post-race penalty does not come with any fine nor points implications as he is second in the standings, trailing points leader Noah Gragson by 18 points.
This marks the second time this season where a team was hit with a safety violation as a result of ballast loss from a car. In May, Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team was also penalized for a loss of ballast prior to the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a penalty that resulted in Hamlin’s crew chief Chris Gabehart, car chief Brandon Griffeth and engineer Scott Simmons being suspended for the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series races.