NASCAR notebook: Briscoe bounces back in Xfinity race at Dover

Chase Briscoe won the Drydene 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race Sunday at Dover International Speedway. Special to the State News/Chuck Snyder

DOVER — Chase Briscoe’s day on the track Saturday was one he’d rather forget.

He never challenged in the first Drydene 200 Xfinity race after spinning out his primary car early in the event at Dover International Speedway.

But Briscoe made up for it on Sunday by winning the second Drydene 200 on the Monster Mile despite starting last in the race. 

“I always wanted to win at Dover,” Briscoe said. “This is one of those ‘driver’ race tracks.

“I was pretty dejected after yesterday. I felt like I let a lot of people down. There’s no give-up on this team and its awesome to be a part of.”

Briscoe started at the tail of the field after switching to a backup car before Sunday’s race.

“It’s a testament to these guys at Stewart-Haas to pull a backup car out and come from the back and win,” Briscoe said. “I thought it was better than our primary. We hadn’t won in a month and a half but it felt like five years. I think this was the most dominant car we’ve had all year.”

Briscoe was in sixth place by the end of Stage 1 at Lap 45. He had the lead by Lap 71, won Stage 2, then survived a round of green-flag pit stops to take the checkered flag.

On his way back to the front during the pit cycle, Briscoe nudged Chastain after the duo exited Turn 4, causing Chastain to lift just enough for Briscoe to make the winning pass.

“I would do the same thing,” said Chastain, who won Stage 1 and led 24 laps. “It doesn’t mean I’m not mad about it. I’m upset but I would have done the same thing.”

Briscoe led a race-high 107 laps and averaged a speed of 111.784 mph to complete the 200 miles in 1 hour, 47 minutes and 21 seconds. Five caution flags took up 24 laps in a race that featured 12 lead changes among eight leaders.

Chastian held on for second, followed by Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones and Daniel Hemric to complete the top-five.

“This track is probably one of the harder ones to do (a doubleheader) at for sure,” said Cindric, who holds a 62-point lead over Briscoe in the Xfinity Series standings. “I definitely feel like I earned a sleep-in tomorrow morning. But it is fun. I love this place. I would come back and race it tomorrow if I had the opportunity.”

Johnson’s next ride?

Sunday may have been Jimmie Johnson’s last NASCAR Cup race at Dover.

But this season almost certainly won’t be his last time behind the wheel of a race car.

Johnson, who is retiring as a full-time Cup driver after this season, has shown a great deal of interest in competing on the IndyCar circuit. Last month, he took a test drive at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

More recently, Johnson said he was hoping to take part in 14 or 15 IndyCar races next year.

“Nothing is concrete,” he told reporters on Friday. “The planning cycle for corporate America is going on and budgets are being allocated. So I certainly hope here in the short term we’ll have some exciting news but right now nothing is concrete.”

In honor of Johnson’s last Dover race, on lap 48 — Johnson’s car number — all the places on the infield scoring tower went briefly to ‘48.’

Lighting a fire

Justin Allgaier apparently wasn’t too happy about things that were said about him on social media this past week.

Allgaier missed a possible top-five Xfinity Series finish at Daytona last weekend when A.J. Allmendinger knocked him out of the race.

Allgaier bounced back by posting his first Xfinity victory on Saturday at Dover.

“This is the power of social media,” said Allgaier. “I got blasted all week last week. So I guess I can thank A.J. for giving me the drive and determination and all the haters on social media, ‘cause that’s definitely what’s given me some fire, and we’re firing at the right time.”

LaJoie moving on

Driver Corey LaJoie said he’s moving on from Go Fas Racing after two seasons in the No. 32 Cup Series car.

Ranked 29th in the points standings, LaJoie is the son of two-time Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie.

“My partners and I are in discussions with several other opportunities to continue improving competitively in the Cup Series,” LaJoie tweeted on Friday. “Go Fas has been a significant part of my growth. Together, over the last two years of competing, we’ve achieved career-best finishes for both myself and the team.

“I’ve enjoyed working with all the guys and made lifelong friendships. Archie (St. Hilaire) runs a great team. I wish them all the best next season.”

Notes

Kevin Harvick’s victory gave Ford it’s 700th all-time Cup victory. … Chase Elliott, the pole-sitter for Saturday’s race, completed just six laps on Sunday before having his day ended by accident. … Cole Custer, who placed 10th in Sunday’s Cup race, was the highest-finishing rookie.