SHR takes advantage of rain to score top-three finishes at Loudon

A long rain delay was just what Stewart-Haas Racing needed to give its playoff hopes a boost in New Hampshire.

While he was a story off-track due to prospective future teammate Christopher Bell’s silly season spoiler, Chase Briscoe spent most of Sunday’s race struggling in the midfield. If the race had been called for rain, he’d have been a non-factor with a finish outside of the top 10.

But when the race resumed in the wet, Briscoe’s No. 14 Ford came to life. The Hoosier marched through the field and into the top five. When the leaders left the bottom lane open on the choose before each of the final two restarts, Briscoe was able to roll up to second and restart alongside Bell with a chance to win.


Neither restart worked out, but Briscoe was able to eke out a runner-up finish after a difficult day.

“The rain saved us for sure,” he admitted afterward. “We were terrible in the dry. We knew typically on the road courses, and even the ovals that we’ve ran in the rain, we’ve been pretty good, truthfully. … If you would have told me two hours ago that we would have ran second, I don’t think I would have believed you, but overall great day for us, and definitely needed one to turn the ship around. It’s been a real struggle.”

Briscoe wasn’t the only SHR driver with a shot at the win. Rookie Josh Berry had risen to second before the final two restarts in the No. 4 Ford. With the typical pace disparity between the two lanes, Berry elected to slot in behind Bell on the outside lane for the final restarts.

He made it clear that a win was on his mind.

“I won’t be able to sleep tonight if I don’t [win],” Berry radioed to his crew.

He didn’t get the restarts he needed to chase down Bell, though. It took the Tennessean too long to clear Briscoe on the first attempt. While he appeared to be closing on Bell, a second caution and overtime served as the knockout punch for his winning hopes.

Berry couldn’t get past Briscoe in overtime and settled for third. The teammates battling allowed Bell to march off to a comfortable win.

“We were debating back and forth on bottom or top [on the final restart],” Berry said. “I really wanted to take the front row, but it was just — it just seemed slick down there, and I just felt like I would be stuck racing probably Chase (Briscoe), who would have been on the outside. Kind of like we ended up…

“Honestly, I think I probably just — I really pushed Christopher out there really hard, and I think that kind of checked my momentum. Then I just got a little loose off of [Turn 2] and got Chase back to my left rear. He kind of drug me back, and we got stuck racing and had to drag race there to the line.”

While neither teammate got to victory lane, they did give their playoff pushes some positive momentum. Briscoe closed to within 25 points of Joey Logano on the playoff cutline, while Berry sits 73 points out with a distant chance if he can hit a solid summer run of form.

Story originally appeared on Racer