Chase Briscoe Grabs First Career Win at Phoenix Raceway

Stewart Haas Racing driver puts the No. 14 back in victory lane in his 40th career start.
Chase Briscoe Grabs First Career Win at Phoenix Raceway

All of the talk surrounding Stewart Haas Racing this week has been around Aric Almirola's impressive start to the season, and Kevin Harvick's 46-race winless streak. The two veterans were aiming to notch another win at a place where they have run well. Yet it was Chase Briscoe that showed his teammates the way on Sunday at Phoenix Raceway, notching the first win of his Cup career.

Briscoe dominated the second half of the race, leading all but one of the final 83 laps, for a total of 101 laps on the day to become the 38th driver to score a win in all three national series in just his 40th Cup start. He is the 200th different race winner in the Cup Series, driving the famed No. 14 that his team owner and hero Tony Stewart drove to victory lane so many times.

“That’s unbelievable!” said Briscoe. “I was crying the whole last lap. This is definitely a team win. I’ve got to thank everyone that has gotten me to this point. Seven years ago, I was sleeping on couching, ready to give up. They gave me an opportunity and it’s led to this. So blessed to be driving at the organization, the team, the car that was my hero growing up. To get this 14 back in victory lane, to do it with Mahindra Tractors, their first year in the sport, everybody that’s believed in me. It’s unbelievable.”

The 0.771 second margin of victory may have looked comfortable, but the sophomore driver battled through two late race restarts, holding off a hungry cast of drivers at the front of the field. “Those restarts, we were sliding, everything else,” said Briscoe. “I hope the race fans enjoyed the race. It was unbelievable from my point. Definitely special and one that’s going to be remembered forever.”

Chevrolet drivers Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick were vying for their first career win as well, but came up just short on the last restart. Chastain matched his career-best finish, in what was an entertaining battle at the end. "That was so much fun to get to race like that at this level," Chastain said. "That’s so cool to race with Tyler and Chase. That’s everything I’ve ever wanted."

Pole sitter Ryan Blaney led a race-high 143 laps and won Stage 2 but was not able to secure the win. The Team Penske driver had to settle for another 4th place finish – matching his season best that came in the Daytona 500 in February. Kurt Busch rounded out the top five, leading the way for Toyota in his No. 45 machine with 23XI Racing.

Harvick finished 6th in the race, collecting his 18th straight top-ten finish at Phoenix, where he has won nine times. Kyle Busch had a solid afternoon with a 7th place result while Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez, and Chris Buescher rounded out the top ten.

Chase Elliott led 50 laps in the race before a slow pit stop on Lap 285 put him further back in the pack. He made his way back to the front but a spin with just eight laps remaining relegated him to an 11th place finish. Oddly enough, he was the highest-finishing Hendrick Motorsports driver in the race.

Almirola delivered a 12th place result, snapping his streak of top-ten finishes. Denny Hamlin rebounded from a pit road speeding penalty early in the race to come home with a 13th place result. Alex Bowman and Ty Dillon rounded out the top 15 on Sunday. It was a banner day for SHR as all four cars finished inside the top 16 with Briscoe getting the trophy.

Several drivers had a dose of bad luck today. Martin Truex Jr had a hard crash when his No. 19 Toyota made heavy contact with the outside wall. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver finished 35th. “We had been getting really loose all day on the longer runs," Truex said. "I was just trying to take care of the rear tires. Coming off of Turn 2 there, I’m kind of neutral free and then all of a sudden it shot straight into the fence. I cut a right-front down running up there in the glue or something.”

Finishing just one spot ahead of Truex was Kyle Larson in 34th. After winning the championship here last Fall, the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet went to the garage with a broken valve spring late in the race. Larson now has two DNFs this year through four races, matching his total from all of last season. "I thought we were a fourth or fifth place car," Larson said. "Was hoping to be a little better than that, but unfortunately the valve spring broke.”

Christopher Bell had a promising run going early in the race, but the driver of the No. 20 Toyota spun after a tire went down on Lap 119. The JGR driver brought out one of the eight cautions during the day, and finished 26th. Joey Logano takes over the lead in the points standings heading into round 5 of the season.

With the three-week west coast swing now complete, teams will now gear up for 500 miles at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Coverage of the Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 begins at 3 PM ET on Sunday.

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