INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, July 4, 2020 – It was Hoosier Heaven at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after a wild finish to the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard.
Indiana native Chase Briscoe earned a long-sought victory on his home track, holding off fellow Hoosier native Justin Haley by 1.717 seconds in the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday. It was the first NASCAR race on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course at the Racing Capital of the World, capping a doubleheader that featured Scott Dixon winning the GMR Grand Prix for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to start the day.
Briscoe, a native of Mitchell, Indiana, became the first Hoosier to win an Xfinity Series race at IMS and just the third Indiana native to win a NASCAR race at the Brickyard, joining Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records winners Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman. Briscoe drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, co-owned by Stewart.
The finish also marked the first time Indiana natives finished 1-2 in a NASCAR race at IMS.
“My hero in racing is Tony Stewart and to get to drive for him and watch him win the Brickyard, that was always his signature thing,” Briscoe said. “I just wanted to do it. It’s not the same prestige as winning on the oval, but you still won at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It doesn’t matter if you’re racing on the oval, the road course, the dirt track or even the parking lot, it’s special when you win here.
“Growing up and coming here all the time, it’s unbelievable to think I just won here.”
Briscoe led 30 of 62 laps in the No. 98 Highpoint.com Ford after starting 12th, but the race for the victory was anyone’s guess over a crazy seven-lap dash to the checkered after the final caution period of the race.
On a restart on Lap 56, Briscoe drove down the middle lane of the front straightaway while cars around him darted left and right, going nearly seven-wide into Turn 1. Briscoe used that open lane to climb from seventh to the lead, with AJ Allmendinger second and Noah Gragson third.
Briscoe was holding off a closing Allmendinger on Lap 59 when he went wide in Turn 10, and Allmendinger and Austin Cindric squirting past him to take first and second, respectively. Briscoe recovered on Lap 60, and he, Allmendinger and Cindric were three-wide, fighting for the lead when they crossed the Yard of Bricks start-finish line to start Lap 61.
As the trio charged into Turn 1, Briscoe dove to the inside for a lead he would keep until the checkered flag. Any final challenge Allmendinger could muster in the No. 16 Digital Ally Body Cameras Ford evaporated when he went off track in the infield on Lap 61, with Winamac, Indiana, native Haley jumping to second in his No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet.
Noah Gragson then passed Allmendinger and Cindric for third in the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet for third. Allmendinger ended up fourth, with Cindric fifth in the No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford.
Cindric, son of Team Penske President Tim Cindric, looked to be the driver to beat in the first half of the race. He led 21 of the first 30 laps before he received a drive-thru penalty for jumping a restart on Lap 29. That dropped Cindric to 27th, 38 seconds behind leader Briscoe.
But Cindric charged through the field to become part of the four-way scrap for the win in the closing laps. His spirited drive was matched by Allmendinger, who started 30th.
The NASCAR Cup Series steps into the spotlight Sunday, as the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records starts at 4 p.m. (ET). The 160-lap race on the IMS oval will be televised live on NBC.