AVONDALE, AZ – Two of the most consistent drivers in the NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs were eliminated from championship contention Saturday at the ISM Raceway in Phoenix. See, Chase Briscoe led 14 laps and would bring his No. 98 Ford home eighth in Saturday’s Round of 8 cutoff race. It was his 14th top 10 finish in his last 16 starts on the season, one of which being an 11th place effort. In fact, he had five top nine finishes in six playoff races run.
His eighth place finish on the Arizona oval was his third top 10 in as many tries. He was fourth in his lone Truck starts and sixth back in the spring race in NXS competition. Despite that, Briscoe calls Phoenix one of his worst tracks.
But, he would get eliminated by 44 points and see his championship hopes dashed despite 25 top 10’s in 32 races this season.
Same for Austin Cindric. He finished sixth in his No. 22 ford for his fifth top six in the playoffs. Four of those were top three finishes. He had 23 top 10’s on the year. He failed to advance by 61 points.
On the flipside, Christopher Bell had just two top 10 finishes all playoffs, both wins. He had eight wins on the season and those playoff points and playoff wins advances him on. That’s why he’s still championship eligible and these two not.
That’s why both had to take a risk and go fuel only with 82 to go and restart up front. It failed. The guys that took four tires steadily moved up and they fell to outside the top five in the end.
It just goes to show you how difficult it is to win a championship these days.