Story By: CHRIS KNIGHT / NASCAR – ROSSBURG, OH – Coming to the finish in Wednesday night’s Eldora Dirt Derby, you didn’t know who was going to win.
With dirt slinging, doors banging and the checkered flag waving, Chase Briscoe edged ThorSport Racing teammate Grant Enfinger to earn his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victory in the sixth annual race at the historic Eldora Speedway.
In a one-off race with ThorSport, Briscoe, on newer tires, took advantage of a Lap 145 restart to pass leader and Toyota Racing Development protégé Logan Seavey, but the event’s final caution within three laps of the finish set the tone for the exciting finish in NASCAR overtime.
For Briscoe, a Ford Performance development driver, it was his second straight win after earning his first career victory last November in the Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway with Brad Keselowski Racing.
“I know (Enfinger) is running for a championship and he’s our teammate,” said Briscoe. “I wasn’t going to wear him out. I wasn’t going to just wreck him for the win. We rubbed, and I definitely let it float on the way to the wall and I’m sorry for that, it’s not how I race.
“I’m so thankful that Ford allowed me to do this race. I was begging them about three weeks ago to let me do it and it came together at the last minute. It’s awesome to be in Victory Lane.”
Spending much of his childhood in the grandstands of Eldora watching his grandfather compete, Briscoe became emotional talking about the significance of winning in his second Eldora Truck Series start.
“It just means so much to win Eldora,” Briscoe said. “I was growing up as a dirt guy. My grandpa won here, and this is our Daytona for dirt guys. This win is for all the dirt guys out there who don’t get a shot. Tonight proves a dirt guy can do it at this level.”
After the race, Enfinger said if the roles were reversed, he would raced Briscoe the same way.
“I feel like we had a position on him, we were pretty good right there,” said Enfinger. “He used me up and I was going for it, he didn’t do anything dirty, it was just the last lap for a really, really big race.
“I really wish we could have gotten a win. I’m glad Duke and Ronda Thorson got a win, I really wish it could have been this No. 98 team. Man, that close. It’s a shame. A heartbreaker here, but I’m really proud of the effort here.”
Dirt stalwart Stewart Friesen recovered from a Lap 28 spin to finish third while defending Eldora winner Matt Crafton took fourth and three-time NCWTS winner this season Brett Moffitt rounded out the top-five.
Noah Gragson earning his spot into the field through the last-chance-qualifier finished sixth, John Hunter Nemechek claimed seventh, while Seavey who led 53 laps in his debut slipped to eighth on older tires.
“I’m not sure there was much I could’ve done there,” said Seavey. “Right at the beginning of that second stage, you could kind of feel the track was getting a little abrasive and maybe taking a little rubber off the tires. My truck gained a lot of grip there in the second stage and I just slowed down because I knew everybody was going to take tires and I had already taken mine.
“I assumed I had to try to take as much as I could, but at the end of the day, you know we had 50 more laps and I think just overheating the tires and got kind of eaten up there those last couple restarts.
“Overall, (the) experience was as good as I think it could’ve gone without those last couple cautions there at the end.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – Eldora Dirt Derby
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
1. (3) Chase Briscoe(i), Ford, 153.
2. (9) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 153.
3. (5) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 153.
4. (4) Matt Crafton, Ford, 153.
5. (12) Brett Moffitt, Toyota, 153.
6. (27) Noah Gragson, Toyota, 153.
7. (26) John Hunter Nemechek(i), Chevrolet, 153.
8. (7) Logan Seavey, Toyota, 153.
9. (19) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 153.
10. (14) Nick Hoffman, Chevrolet, 153.
11. (22) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 153.
12. (17) Max McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 153.
13. (13) Tyler Dippel, Toyota, 153.
14. (8) Chris Windom, Toyota, 153.
15. (6) Sheldon Creed, Chevrolet, 153.
16. (29) Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 153.
17. (25) Jeffrey Abbey, Chevrolet, 153.
18. (11) Austin Self, Chevrolet, 153.
19. (28) Tanner Thorson, Chevrolet, 153.
20. (15) Myatt Snider #, Ford, 153.
21. (21) Austin Hill, Chevrolet, 153.
22. (2) Todd Gilliland #, Toyota, 153.
23. (31) Wendell Chavous, Chevrolet, 153.
24. (20) JR Heffner, Chevrolet, 152.
25. (30) Justin Fontaine #, Chevrolet, 152.
26. (16) Justin Shipley, Ford, 151.
27. (32) Dalton Sargeant #, Chevrolet, 151.
28. (24) Cody Coughlin, Chevrolet, 150.
29. (1) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 150.
30. (10) Ryan Newman(i), Chevrolet, 149.
31. (23) Kyle Strickler, Chevrolet, Accident, 145.
32. (18) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, Accident, 144.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 46.131 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 39 Mins, 30 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.038 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 9 for 41 laps.
Lead Changes: 7 among 5 drivers.
Lap Leaders: B. Rhodes 1-26; S. Friesen 27; B. Rhodes 28-45; C. Briscoe(i) 46-91; L. Seavey 92-144; C. Briscoe(i) 145-151; G. Enfinger 152; C. Briscoe(i) 153;.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): C. Briscoe(i) 3 times for 54 laps; L. Seavey 1 time for 53 laps; B. Rhodes 2 times for 44 laps; S. Friesen 1 time for 1 lap; G. Enfinger 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 41,51,27,54,17,8,98,88,3,22
Stage #2 Top Ten: 27,98,51,22,54,4,88,13,02,52