Date: Feb. 21, 2021
Event: O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 (Round 2 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (14-turn, 3.61-mile road course)
Format: 70 laps, broken into three stages (16 laps/18 laps/36 laps)
Start/Finish: 18th / 32nd (Running, completed 70 of 70 laps)
Point Standing: 27th (23 points, 81 out of first)
Race Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-16):
● Chase Briscoe started 18th and finished 32nd.
● Briscoe battled within the top-15 before jumping the turtle in the backstretch chicane, sending the Ford Performance Racing School Mustang for a spin.
● The driver of the No. 14 Ford Mustang dropped to 39th but worked his way back to 31st before reporting to the team that he had lost power steering.
● Briscoe pitted under caution on lap 12 for four tires and fuel, and the Ford Performance Racing School team repaired damage from the earlier spin. He restarted 39th on lap 13 and held his position until the end of the stage.
● The No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School team elected to pit at the end of Stage 1 to repair the power steering issue. Briscoe made a second stop under yellow for four tires and a track bar adjustment to help with his turn.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 17-34):
● Briscoe started 37th and finished 25th.
● The Ford Performance Racing School Mustang driver powered through the field to the 28th position.
● When the yellow flag was displayed on lap 28, Briscoe pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. An uncontrolled tire penalty on the stop forced Briscoe to restart 35th on lap 29.
● Briscoe advanced 10 positions in the final five laps of the second stage to finish 25th.
● At the end of Stage 2, Briscoe pitted for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment to help with forward drive. The Ford Performance Racing School team gained three spots on pit road to line up 22nd for the final stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 35-70):
● Briscoe started 22nd and finished 32nd.
● On lap 40, the No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang reentered the top-20 for the first time following Briscoe’s lap-five spin.
● Briscoe was running 12th when green-flag pit stops began on lap 51. He pitted from the seventh position for four tires, fuel and adjustments and was 16th after the field cycled through stops.
● The leaders pitted on lap 60 under the seventh caution of the race, and Briscoe stayed on track to restart second. He ran in the top-10 until lap 66, when contact with the No. 11 caused the Ford Performance Racing School Mustang to once again lose power steering.
● Briscoe dropped back to 17th position before being forced to pit road under green-flag conditions to remove the hood, which had become unsecured on lap 67.
● Briscoe returned to the track for the final three laps and finished 32nd.
● Christopher Bell won the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 to score his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory. His margin over second-place Joey Logano was 2.199 seconds.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 12 laps.
● Thirty-two of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Denny Hamlin leaves Daytona as the championship leader with a 12-point advantage over second-place Logano.
Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I made too many mistakes at the beginning and it put us behind the rest of the day. One thing is for sure – Cup Series racing is no joke and racing with no power steering makes it that much harder. We had a chance toward the end for a good finish, but when we all got stacked up the additional damage took us out of contention. I’m learning a lot each week and the guys have done a great job of giving me what I need to be able to run all of the laps. On to Homestead and another chance at improvement for our Ford Performance Racing School team.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Dixie Vodka 400 on Sunday, Feb. 28 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race begins at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!