For the fifth time in the last six races, Chase Briscoe came home in the top five in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
And maybe even more poingnant, it’s how he finishes the races that has been grabbing attention throughout the garage.
“There is his, the closer!” said Michael Annett to Briscoe postrace at Dover International Speedway.
After struggling with his No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford throughout the Allied Steel Buildings 200, it was the final stage where the first-year full-timer surged to the checkereds. Here, he climbed to finish fifth to earn not only his fifth top five in 10 races this year, but his eighth consecutive top 10 in 2019.
“It was a weird day… but typical of how we’ve run all year,” Briscoe said. “We really struggled the whole race and then at the end, all of a sudden, we come alive and got up in the mix.”
Qualifying seventh, the Indiana native ran just inside the top 10 most of the day, marking an eighth-place average running position across 200 laps. With tuned adjustments and strong late restarts, it was another top-five result — and maybe the most impressive.
“I felt today was our biggest struggling day as far as our top fives,” he said. “We were a couple car lengths from going a lap down — we were able to tune on it and got some good restarts at the end.
“We ended up stealing a top five, honestly.”
Briscoe currently rides the series’ longest active streak of top-10 finishes. And that’s a stat not forgotten by Briscoe.
“Overall, it’s nice to run top five in five of the last six races,” he said. “We just have to continue to get better. Charlotte will be a relaly good track for us.
Obviously, we want to win. But to salvage what we had was good.”
At one point does a top five begin to lose its luster?
“It’s frusrating to not win,” he said. “To be honest, the past couple times we ran top five, I felt we had a top-five car. But today, we weren’t. We just continued to work on it with good restarts at the end to steal some track position.”
Briscoe feels early race speed and a strong “base” set-up will bring the No. 98 from top five to Victory Lane in 2019.
“I’ve yet to feel 100 percent what I want in the car so far,” he admitted. “Typically, those last runs are the closest we get to that. That’s where we are fastest. Once we get that base of what we like, that’s where we will take advantage.”