Brandon Brown claims the final playoff spot while Chase Briscoe notches his seventh win after taking the XFINITY Food City 300
It all came down to this. The XFINITY Food City 300 was the regular-season finale that would send the best dozen drivers into the playoffs that begin next week in Las Vegas. Seven were already in on wins and four more on points, leaving just a single spot for the rest of the series regulars to fight over. The fight ended at the end of the first stage, well before Chase Briscoe crossed the finish line as the race winner.
While Briscoe found the winner’s circle, the 12th place finisher also had a terrific night at Bristol Motor Speedway. When the green-white checkers came out for the end of the first stage, Brandon Brown had clinched the final playoff spot, on the proviso that there would be no upset winner. There wasn’t.
Briscoe beat Ross Chastain by 0.651 seconds on the way to his seventh victory of the year. He said it would take eight to find a seat in Cup, and he is one away. He will enter the playoffs tied with Austin Cindric in points with 2,050.
“I was so mad after last week,” said Briscoe. “I told all the guys there ain’t no way we’re getting beat today. I was so mad after how we ran last week and I get on the internet all the time and see guys count us out after one bad race and I know what this team is capable of and I’m just so happy to get Ford Performance Racing School back in victory lane. Highpoint.com. I finished second here the last two races and I wanted to win here so bad and it’s awesome that I can actually celebrate it with all these race fans.
“If we could end up second in points and win the race, we’d have the same amount of playoff points as (Cindric). Mission accomplished.”
— NASCAR Xfinity (@NASCAR_Xfinity) September 19, 2020
Meanwhile, Chastain tied a mark he didn’t want. He is the third driver with the most second-place finishes without winning, joining Dale Jarrett (1983) and Ty Dillon (2016).
The Round of 12 begins next week in Las Vegas and followed by Talladega and on the Charlotte Roval.
During the race, the president of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Chris Powell, announced there would be no fans for next week’s races. Gov. Steve Sisolak has a directive that limits gatherings, and Powell, while disagreeing with the governor, said the track has no other option but to follow the order.
LAP 1 of 300 (159.9 miles): Justin Allgaier (pole) and Ross Chastain led the field to the green flag. The No. 90 Camaro of Dexter Bean issued a pass-through penalty for a restart violation. Allgaier shot out to a lead, but it didn’t take long for Chastain to take over. Myatt Snider started -88, so he needed a win to advance. He was behind the wall at Lap 35, killing his chance to claim the final playoff spot.
LAP 40: Competition Caution. Chastain, Allgaier, Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson, Chase Briscoe, Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones, Michael Annett, and Brandon Brown, the top-10. Ryan Sieg sent to the rear for speeding on pit row. The No. 07 Camaro of Gray Gaulding was the Lucky Dog bringing the number of cars on the lead lap to only 18. Restart Lap 47. Allgaier on the point.
LAP 62: Multi-car wreck. **RED FLAG** BJ McLeod clips the nose of Jeffrey Earnhardt, sending him into the wall and, on the way down, hits Vinny Miller. Tommy Joe Martins spins to avoid wrecking cars. The red flag was just a little over a minute. McLeod and Miller are unable to continue. Bayley Currey is back on the lead lap with the free pass. 19 cars on the lead lap. Leader Chastain chooses the inside lane on the restart at Lap 70, with 15 left in the stage.
LAP 85: End Stage 1. Unless there is an upset winner, Brandon Brown has claimed the final playoff spot. Clements told to pit because his car was smoking. Allgaier wins the race off pit row after winning the stage. Timmy Hill gets the free pass. Restart Lap 94.
FOOD CITY 300 RACE BREAKDOWN – STAGE 2
LAP 120: Joe Graf Jr. clips the left rear of Michael Annett, sending him into the wall for the caution. Brandon Jones triggered the wreck. **RED FLAG** for fluid on the track. The No. 1 Camaro suffered right-front suspension damage ending his night. Timmy Hill gets second Lucky Dog in a row putting 18 cars on the lead lap. Red Flag time, 9:14. Cindric and Allgaier pace the field to green. Restart Lap 130.
LAP 170: End Stage 2. Allgaier locks up his series-best 12th stage win of the season. Timmy Hill continues to bounce between one lap down and to get a third consecutive free pass. Race off pit row: Winners are Sieg (+6 but took only two tires), H Burton, Chastain, and Briscoe (+2). Losers are Cindric (-5), Allgaier and J Burton (-2). All the leaders can make it to the end on fuel. Restart Lap 179 with Chastain out front, followed by Briscoe, Allgaier, H Burton, and Gragson.
FOOD CITY 300 RACE BREAKDOWN – STAGE 3
LAP 202: Caution for debris. Bayley Currey had a suspension failure losing a rear spring on the track. He was running on the lead lap at the time. The field whittled down to 15 cars on the lead lap. Leaders have one set of tires left of the four issued for the race. Restart Lap 210. Chastain, Cindric, Briscoe, H Burton, and Herbst, the top-five.
LAP 244: Dexter Bean spins and hits the inside wall for another caution. All the leaders pit to take on their final set of tires. No significant changes in the race off pit row with Chastain out first. Laps leader Justin Allgaier picked up one spot and will restart fourth. Of the win and in drivers, Jeremy Clements is 12th, and Alex Labbe is 14th. If either manages to take the checkers, that will knock out Brandon Brown from the playoffs. Restart Lap 252. Cindric takes over the lead.
STAGE 1-2 TOP 10 FINISHERS – LAPS 85 / 170
1 – Allgaier, Haley, Briscoe, Cindric, Chastain, Gragson, B Jones, Annett, J Burton, H Burton
2 – Allgaier, Cindric, Briscoe, Chastain, Gragson, J Burton, H Burton, Herbst, Alfredo, Sieg
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