By: Mitchell Breuer
It did not take long for Chase Briscoe to lock himself into the Championship 4, winning the opening race of the Round of 8 at Kansas Speedway Saturday.
To call it a dominant day almost seems like an understatement, as the No. 98 led 159 of 200 laps. However, it was not as nice of a day for several of his fellow playoff contenders.
Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson’s days were essentially over before they started, as the two made contact on Lap 15 causing major damage to both cars. Gragson did not return to the track afterwards, while Cindric did but was not competitive and settled for gaining any spots by possible attrition. As it turns out, there would be a lot of it as the race went on.
First, an accident between Ross Chastain and Harrison Burton, cost Chastain track position. The driver of the No. 10 did not suffer as bad as the No. 22 or the No. 9, but only recovered to an 11th place finish. Then came the scariest accident of the night, as Justin Allgaier made contact with Anthony Alfredo sending him up the track into Riley Herbst and eventually flipping back down, coming to a rest upside down. Fortunately, Alfredo was ok and would eventually get out of the car on his own.
As the night ended, Cindric, despite riding around several laps down all race, did manage to work his way up to 28th and, ended his night still above the playoff cutline with a two-point cushion.
Aside from Briscoe, there was another playoff driver that had a good night and that was Ryan Sieg. During the final round of green flag pit stops, crew chief Cowboy Starland elected to stay out longer than the rest of his competitors and, it worked, as a caution flew, allowing the No. 39 to pit under yellow. Another yellow flag waved and suddenly, Sieg went from the back to the front, as the leaders pitted while he did not. However, he could not hang off the No. 98, who pitted.
This was not the end of Sieg’s hopes, as another caution came outand while the rest of the leaders stayed out, he pitted and tackled the challenge of trying to work his way up from ninth with four laps to go. He got up to third but could not catch Briscoe or Daniel Hemric.
It was also impressive night for NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series regulars, Austin Hill and Brett Moffitt, who drove inside the top-15 all night. The two ended the race inside the top-10 with Moffitt finishing seventh and, Hill capturing his first NASCAR Xfinity Series top-five in fifth.