Three drivers all vying for their first win at the top level of NASCAR duked it out in the closing laps in Phoenix with one emerging from the dust as the victor. Chase Briscoe, in his second full time season in the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford took the checkered flag after two late-race restarts by a scarce 0.77 seconds over Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick – both winless in their Cup careers.
Briscoe made history tonight with his win becoming the 200th different driver to win at the Cup Level since the inception of NASCAR in the 1950’s, cementing himself in the history books.
Said Briscoe after his emotional win:
‘I was crying the whole last lap. This is definitely a team win, but I’ve got to thank everybody that’s got me to this point. Just seven years ago I was sleeping on couches, volunteering at race shops and was literally driving home to give up.’
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) March 13, 2022
As stated, it was a team win as the #14 pit crew knocked out fast stop after fast stop, putting their driver in position to win late in the 3rd stage and keeping him there. Briscoe led 101 laps in route to his win, only being surpassed by forth place finisher Ryan Blaney with a high of 144 laps, and was not a winner of either Stage 1 or 2 during the race. Stage 1 went to Hendrick Motorsports William Byron, and Blaney took Stage 2 by less than 3 car lengths over Chase Elliott.
Kurt Busch brought home his #45 23XI Toyota in fifth place over Briscoe’s SHR teammate Kevin Harvick. Not one to be left out, Harvick also put himself into the record books by tying Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. for the record of most consecutive top-10 finishes at any NASCAR track. Harvick’s 18 top-10 finishes at Phoenix equals both the seven-time champions records at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
It wasn’t all sunshine for teams today as Hendrick Motorsports had a race to forget. Kyle Larson, the last winner at Phoenix, had his first DNF of the season when he retired due to a broken valve spring with 74 laps remaining, leaving him with two sub-30th place finishes on the season. Chase Elliott spun late in the race and finished 11th, while Alex Bowman and William Byron finished 14th and 18th respectively. Martin Truex Jr, the last Phoenix Spring-winner finished the worst of the Toyota’s in 35th place when a flat right-front tired sent him hard into the turn 2 wall during the final stage, ending his day early.
Related Link: Truex Jr. cuts a tire
NASCAR heads east for the next race at the newly repaved Atlanta Motor Speedway. Long known as one of the fastest, and roughest tracks on the Cup circuit, Atlanta was repaved this off season after 16 years, leaving every team with questions on how the new cars will perform. Additionally, this will see 4-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion, and former FOX Sports presenter, Jeff Gordon return to the broadcasting booth, taking over for Danica Patrick. Gordon was the runner up in one of the most emotional finishes at Atlanta in 2001, when Kevin Harvick beat him to the checkers by 0.006 seconds driving the Goodwrench Chevrolet in the wake of Dale Earnhardt Sr’s death in Daytona just 3 weeks earlier.
New cars, new pavement, and a new winner…NASCAR is looking spicy on their way into Hot-lanta. Catch the action on Sunday, March 20th at 3:00pm ET on FOX Sports.