DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Chase Briscoe capped a heartbreaking week by winning the Xfinity Series’ return to action at Darlington Raceway on Thursday.
Briscoe was in the Darlington infield Tuesday awaiting the race’s original start when he digitally joined wife, Marissa, for a 12-week exam for their expected baby. The couple heard the tragic news: There was no fetal heartbeat. “The worst news I could’ve heard,” Briscoe posted on Instagram on Wednesday.
Still, Briscoe was in the lineup for the series’ first action since March 7 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and used two strong restarts and a quick pit stop to finish on top. He got the lead out of the pits during the final caution, then pulled away from Kyle Busch and Justin Allgaier on the subsequent restart with seven laps to go for his fourth career win and second this season.
“This is the biggest day of my life after the toughest day of my life,” Briscoe said.
Busch seemed to have the race in hand as he took the second stage in a dominant showing. But he was called for speeding in the pits and ordered to the back of the 39-car field.
But Busch was there to challenge Briscoe at the end, the cars touching off the final turn before Briscoe crossed the finish line in front by 0.08 seconds.
Allgaier was third, Austin Cindric fourth and Noah Gragson, the pole sitter who won the first stage, was fifth.
For Busch, it was another error that cost him a win at Darlington. In the NASCAR Cup Series race Wednesday night, he clipped Chase Elliott late to cause a spin — Elliott waited and extended his middle finger at Busch — and finished second to Joe Gibbs teammate Denny Hamlin.
Busch was satisfied with his run.” I had a good showing, put on a little bit of an exciting show there at the end,” he said.
Busch and Timmy Hill were in all three Darlington races. The two plan to run all four races at Charlotte, too.
After the delay Tuesday because of rain, more storms delayed the planned noon start for another 4½ hours.
NASCAR’s Cup Series had a successful return at Darlington with two races.
Kevin Harvick earned his 50th Cup win when he took Sunday’s race, the first for the series in 10 weeks while Hamlin won a rain-shortened race Wednesday night, the first time the series ran on that day since 1984.