Briscoe scores first Cup career victory at Phoenix; becomes 200th overall Cup winner

In a three-lap shootout between three competitors vying for their first career win in the NASCAR Cup Series level, Chase Briscoe came out on top at Phoenix Raceway. After fending off Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick he won the Ruoff Mortgage 500 Sunday afternoon and claimed his first victory in his 40th career start in NASCAR’s premier series.

The 27-year-old Briscoe from Mitchell, Indiana, led three times for 101 of the 312-scheduled laps, including the final 24, and had enough horsepower within his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang to hold off the field, including Chastain, Reddick and teammate Kevin Harvick in a three-lap shootout. Briscoe is the second first-time winner of the 2022 season and the 200th different competitor to win in the NASCAR Cup Series’ 74th season of competition.

With on-track qualifying occurring on Saturday, Ryan Blaney claimed his seventh Cup career pole after notching the top starting spot with a pole-winning lap at 132.709 mph. Joining him on the front row was Denny Hamlin, who posted a fast qualifying lap at 132.353 mph.

Prior to the event, Kyle Larson (unapproved adjustment), rookie Harrison Burton (unapproved adjustment) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (engine change) dropped to the rear of the field.  

When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Kyle Busch used the dogleg to vault himself into the top 10 from his 11th-place starting spot while Blaney rocketed with an early advantage ahead of the field. Behind, William Byron challenged Hamlin for the runner-up spot. Following the first lap, Blaney was out in front of a side-by-side battle between Hamlin and Byron while Christopher Bell settled behind in fourth, followed by Chase Briscoe and Aric Almirola.

Through the first 10 scheduled laps of the event, Blaney was leading by more than a second over Hamlin, who was followed by Byron, Bell and Chase Briscoe while Kyle Busch, rookie Austin Cindric, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman and Tyler Reddick were in the top 10.

Ten laps later, Blaney continued to lead by nearly two seconds over Hamlin, who was engaged in a battle with Byron for the runner-up spot. Behind, Briscoe was in fourth followed by Kyle Busch, Logano, Reddick and Bowman while Bell slipped back to ninth ahead of Kevin Harvick.

When the competition caution flew on Lap 25, Blaney was out front by more than two seconds over Hamlin and Byron. By then, Larson was scored in 20th after starting at the rear of the field.

Under the competition caution, the field pitted for early adjustments and Blaney retained the lead after exiting pit road with the lead followed by teammate Logano, Briscoe, Hamlin and Reddick. During the pit stops, Kyle Busch stalled his No. 18 DeWalt Toyota TRD Camry on pit road after running in fifth place, Following the pit stops, Blaney was sent to the rear of the field for speeding on pit road along with Michael McDowell, Hamlin and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The penalties moved Logano, who opted for a two-tire pit stop, to the lead followed by Briscoe, Reddick, Byron and Alex Bowman.

When the race restarted on Lap 31, the field fanned out through the dogleg as Logano retained a narrow advantage followed by Briscoe, Byron, Reddick and Chase Elliott. 

Two laps later, Briscoe moved his No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang into the lead ahead of Logano while Hendrick Motorsports’ Byron and Elliott battled for third place. 

On Lap 45, the caution flew when Corey LaJoie smacked against the backstretch, outside wall. The hard impact knocked the tire carcass off of LaJoie’s No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 as Cody Ware hit and ran over the carcass. 

Under caution, some including Blaney, Aric Almirola, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, rookie Harrison Burton and Ross Chastain pitted while the rest led by Briscoe remained on the track.

When the race restarted on Lap 52, Byron used the inside lane to his advantage as he stormed his No. 24 AXALTA Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to the lead while teammate Elliott challenged Briscoe for the runner-up spot. As Briscoe used the outside lane to retain the runner-up spot, Reddick started to challenge Elliott for third place while Bowman settled in fifth.

When the first stage concluded on Lap 60, Byron notched his first stage victory of the season. Briscoe settled in second followed by Elliott, Reddick, Bowman, Bell, Larson, Harvick, Logano and Austin Dillon while Martin Truex Jr., the reigning Phoenix spring winner, was in 11th ahead of Kurt Busch, Blaney, Cindric, Chris Buescher and Kyle Busch.

Under the stage break, some led by Blaney, Kyle Busch, Cole Custer and Burton remained on the track while the rest led by Byron pitted. During the pit stops, Elliott was the first competitor to exit first followed by Briscoe, Reddick, Byron and Harvick.

The second stage started on Lap 69 as Blaney and Kyle Busch occupied the front row. At the start and as the field fanned out through the dogleg, Blaney retained the lead while Kyle Busch was left to retain the runner-up spot ahead of Briscoe, Elliott, Byron and Reddick.

By Lap 75 and with the field jostling for positions, Blaney was leading by a second over Kyle Busch while Elliott, Briscoe and Byron were in the top five. Reddick was in sixth ahead of Harvick, Larson, Custer and Logano while Burton, Bowman, Cindric, Truex and Hamlin were in the top 15.

Fifteen laps later, Blaney stabilized his advantage to more than two seconds over Elliott while Byron was in third place ahead of Kevin Harvick, a nine-time Phoenix winner who was on a quest to end a 46-race winless drought. Reddick was in fifth followed by Kyle Busch, Larson, Briscoe, Logano and Bowman. 

Through the first 100 scheduled laps of the event, Blaney’s No. 12 Menards Ford Mustang continued to lead by more than a second over Elliott’s No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 while Byron, Harvick, Reddick, Kyle Busch, Larson, Briscoe, Logano and Bowman remained in the top 10. Behind, Ross Chastain was in 11th followed by Austin Dillon, Custer, Truex, Hamlin, Bell, Kurt Busch, Cindric, Almirola and Chris Buescher while Harrison Burton was mired in 21st ahead of Ty Dillon, Erik Jones, rookie Todd Gilliland and Justin Haley. Meanwhile, Daniel Suarez, AJ Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski, Bubba Wallace and Stenhouse were in the top 30 while Michael McDowell was the final car on the lead lap in 31st.

On Lap 118, the caution flew when Bell got loose and spun his No. 20 Rheem Toyota TRD Camry through the backstretch. By then, names like Keselowski, Wallace, Burton and Stenhouse were lapped.

Under caution, the leaders returned to pit road and Elliott emerged with the top spot for the first time after exiting with the lead followed by Blaney, Byron, Harvick, Larson and Briscoe.

When the race restarted on Lap 125 and as the field fanned out through the dogleg, Elliott persevered over a brief battle with Blaney to retain a narrow advantage while Byron fended off Harvick and Larson to retain third place.

Eight laps later and following a side-by-side battle with Elliott, Blaney re-emerged with the lead, though Elliott kept Blaney’s No. 12 Ford within his close sights. 

By Lap 140, Blaney extended his advantage to more than a second over Elliott, who started to have Harvick close in on him for the runner-up spot. Byron was back in fourth ahead of teammate Larson while Reddick, Chastain, Briscoe, Austin Dillon and Logano were in the top 10.

At the halfway mark on Lap 156, Blaney stabilized his advantage to more than a second over Elliott and less than two seconds over Harvick while Byron and teammate Larson remained in the top five. Reddick, Chastain, Briscoe, Austin Dillon and Logano remained in the top 10 ahead of Truex, Kyle Busch, Bowman, Almirola, Suarez, Buescher, Hamlin, Custer, Kurt Busch and Gilliland while Erik Jones, Ty Dillon, Haley, Cindric, Allmendinger, Keselowski, Wallace, Stenhouse, Bell and McDowell rounded out the top 30.

By Lap 175, Blaney continued to lead by four-tenths of a second over Elliott while third-place Harvick trailed by more than three seconds. Trailing by more than four seconds behind were teammates Byron and Larson. 

When the second stage concluded on Lap 185, Blaney fended off Elliott to claim his first stage victory of the 2022 season. Harvick crossed the start/finish line in third followed by Byron, Larson, Reddick, Chastain, Briscoe, Austin Dillon and Logano.

Under the stage break, the leaders pitted and Elliott returned to the top of the leaderboard followed by Harvick, Reddick, Blaney, Byron and Larson.

With 118 laps remaining, the final stage started under green. At the start and with the fan fanning out through the dogleg, Reddick was quick to attack Elliott for the lead, but Elliott was just able to utilize the outside lane to his advantage as he retained the lead. Meanwhile, Blaney moved up to third while Larson challenged Harvick for fourth place. 

Down to the final 100 laps of the event, Elliott was leading by less than half a second over Reddick while Blaney, Harvick and Larson were in the top five. Briscoe was back in sixth followed by Chastain, Austin Dillon, Byron and Truex. Bowman was in 11th followed by Logano, Suarez, Buescher and Kyle Busch while Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Hamlin, Erik Jones and Custer were in the top 20. 

Eight laps later, the caution flew when Truex went dead straight after cutting a right-front tire and pounded his No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota TRD Camry into the backstretch outside wall hard. The incident was enough to terminate Truex’s event as he emerged uninjured and made the mandatory trip to the infield care center.

Under caution, the leaders returned to pit road and Elliott retained the lead followed by Harvick, Briscoe, Chastain, Austin Dillon and Byron while Blaney dropped to ninth place. Following the pit stops, Daniel Suarez was penalized for speeding on pit road. 

With 83 laps remaining, the race restarted under green. At the start, Briscoe assumed the lead over Elliott and Harvick retained third place as the field jostled for positions.

Eight laps later, Briscoe was leading by nearly eight-tenths of a second over Elliott while Harvick, Logano and Chastain were in the top five. Byron was in sixth followed by Austin Dillon, Blaney, Larson and Bowman. Shortly after, Larson fell off the pace and had to limp his No. 5 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for another full lap before pitting. Soon after pitting, it was determined that a broken valve spring was detected in Larson’s car, which forced the reigning Cup champion to nurse his car to the garage.

Down to the final 50 laps of the event, Briscoe continued to lead by more than three-tenths of a second over Elliott, who continued to stalk Briscoe for the lead, while Harvick, Chastain and Blaney were in the top five.

Not long after and with the leaders mired in lapped traffic, the battle for the lead intensified as Elliott pressured Briscoe for the top spot. Despite Elliott’s efforts in closing the gap and trying to navigate his way around Briscoe’s No. 14 Ford for the lead, Briscoe was able to maintain the top spot.

With 30 laps remaining, Briscoe continued to lead by less than half a second over Elliott while third-place Harvick trailed by more than a second. Chastain, coming off his strong run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, was in fourth followed by Team Penske’s Blaney and Logano. Reddick was in seventh ahead of teammate Austin Dillon while Bowman and Almirola were in the top 10.

Shortly after, the caution flew when Erik Jones spun off of Turn 2 and made contact with the inside wall.

Under caution, the leaders pitted and Briscoe managed to retain the lead ahead of teammate Harvick, Chastain and the field.

With 20 laps remaining, the race restarted under green. At the start and with the field fanning out, Chastain bolted below the dogleg to challenge Briscoe for the lead along with Harvick, but Briscoe managed to retain the lead by a narrow margin. Not long after, Chastain fought back on the inside lane and he drew himself alongside Briscoe as Tyler Reddick joined the party after he passed Harvick.

Shortly after, a three-wide battle ensued between three competitors seeking their first Cup victory before Briscoe managed to remain ahead of Reddick and Chastain. 

With less than 15 laps remaining, Briscoe, who was representing Stewart-Haas Racing, was leading by half a second over Reddick, who was representing Richard Childress Racing, and more than a second over Chastain, who was representing Trackhouse Racing. Meanwhile, Harvick was mired back in fourth, trailing by more than a second, while Blaney was in fifth.

Down to the final 10 laps of the event, Briscoe continued to lead by more than half a second over Reddick while Chastain was being pressured by Harvick for third place.

Just then, the caution flew with eight laps remaining when Elliott got loose and spun through the backstretch while running in seventh place. The caution evaporated Briscoe’s steady margin over Reddick.

Under caution, the top-13 competitors led by Briscoe remained on the track while the rest led by Chris Buescher, who was in 14th place, pitted. 

Down to the final three laps remaining, the race restarted under green. At the start, Briscoe, who restarted on the inside lane, darted his car to the dogleg and received a bump from Chastain to clear the field and retain the lead entering the backstretch. Behind, Chastain challenged Reddick for the runner-up spot as Kurt Busch challenged Blaney and Harvick for fourth place. 

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Briscoe was still leading by over Chastain and Reddick. With all types of battles ensuing behind, Briscoe was able to pull away and streak across the finish line in first place as he emerged victorious for the first time in his second full-time season in the Cup circuit.

With the victory, Briscoe recorded the first win for Stewart-Haas Racing this season and for SHR’s No. 14 team currently led by crew chief Johnny Klausmeier since former veteran, Clint Bowyer, won a rain-shortened event at Michigan International Speedway in June 2018. In addition, Briscoe, who claimed the Cup Rookie-of-the-Year title in 2021, became the 38th different competitor to achieve a victory across NASCAR’s top three national touring series (Camping World Truck, Xfinity and Cup).

“That’s unbelievable,” Briscoe, who was emotional on the frontstretch, said on FOX. “I was crying the whole last lap. I mean, this is definitely a team win, but I gotta thank everybody that’s got me to this point. Seven years ago, I was sleeping on couches, volunteering at race shops and was literally driving home to give up. [Owners] Briggs Cunningham [III] and Kerry Scherer and Beth Cunningham gave me an opportunity and it’s led to this. Unbelievable. So blessed to be driving at the organization of the team and the car that was my hero [Tony Stewart] growing up. To get this No. 14 back in Victory Lane, to do it with Mahindra Tractors, their first year in the sport…it’s unbelievable.”

Behind, Chastain edged Reddick to finish in the runner-up spot, with both competitors claiming their best results through the first four events of the 2022 campaign.

“Like a day at the K1 track, that was so much fun,” Chastain said, “To get to race like that at this level. Trackhouse Racing believes in me. These people, they believed in me early in the season whenever stuff wasn’t going so great. If we can keep putting these together. That’s so cool to race with Tyler [Reddick] and Chase [Briscoe]. That’s everything I’ve ever wanted. My crew chief Phil Surgen, people don’t know how good he is. His adjustments this year have been so incredible and he gave me exactly what I needed. We just came up one spot short, but I’m so happy.”

“I thought we got a really good launch [on the restart] considering all things,” Reddick added. “Being right there with [Briscoe] going into [Turn] 1, but I knew about how deep I could drive it in Turn 1 all day. I thought I got pretty good heat in the tires. I still over-stepped it. I couldn’t have drove it any deeper than I did and I thought I was still gonna get up in the fence. Chase was just able to drive it off in there. Kind of like dirt racing, clear high and take the lead. It was a lot of fun. It was great to claw back from a hiccup we had early in the race. Everyone on this Guaranteed Rate Chevrolet did a really, really good job all day. We had one little miscue that took us from second to 12th, but my pit crew did an amazing job. They got us right back out of that hole and we had one good restart at the end to put ourselves in position. It was a fun day. It was a nice way to recover. It’s nice to recover from a mistake that late in the race and still be battling for the win there at the end. All in all, great day. We’ll see what else we can learn from this and get ready for what lies ahead.”

Blaney, who led a race-high 144 laps, finished fourth and Kurt Busch claimed his first top-five result of the season and with 23XI Racing after muscling his No. 45 MoneyLion Toyota TRD Camry in fifth place. 

Harvick came home in sixth place while Kyle Busch, Logano, Suarez and Chris Buescher finished in the top 10.

Notably, Elliott settled in 11th following his late spin, Hamlin ended up in 13th place in between Almirola and Bowman, Byron fell back to 18th and Austin Dillon finished 21st after being involved in a last-lap skirmish with Daniel Suarez while battling for a top-10 spot. Todd Gilliland was the highest-finishing rookie in 16th place while Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski and Austin Cindric finished 22nd, 23rd and 24th.

There were 14 lead changes for six different leaders. The race featured eight cautions for 52 laps.

Despite finishing in eighth place, Joey Logano leads the regular-season standings by four points over Kyle Busch, five over Chase Elliott, 10 over Chase Briscoe and Kyle Larson and 14 over Aric Almirola.

Results.

1. Chase Briscoe, 101 laps led

2. Ross Chastain

3. Tyler Reddick

4. Ryan Blaney, 143 laps led, Stage 2 winner

5. Kurt Busch

6. Kevin Harvick

7. Kyle Busch

8. Joey Logano, four laps led

9. Daniel Suarez

10. Chris Buescher

11. Chase Elliott, 50 laps led

12. Aric Almirola

13. Denny Hamlin

14. Alex Bowman

15. Ty Dillon

16. Cole Custer

17. Justin Haley

18. William Byron, 12 laps led, Stage 1 winner

19. Todd Gilliland

20. AJ Allmendinger

21. Austin Dillon – OUT, Accident

22. Bubba Wallace, one lap down

23. Brad Keselowski, one lap down

24. Austin Cindric, one lap down

25. Erik Jones, one lap down

26. Christopher Bell, two laps down

27. Michael McDowell, two laps down

28. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., two laps down

29. Harrison Burton, three laps down

30. Landon Cassill, four laps down

31. Cody Ware, five laps down

32. Garrett Smithley, seven laps down

33. BJ McLeod, eight laps down

34. Kyle Larson – OUT, Engine, two laps led

35. Martin Truex Jr. – OUT, Accident

36. Corey LaJoie – OUT, Accident

Next on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is Atlanta Motor Speedway, the first of two stops at the venue for the series and the first race since the track was reconfigured for this season. The event is scheduled to occur on Sunday, March 20, at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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