Brad Keselowski Racing Post-Race Report: Homestead-Miami Speedway
No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150
Austin Cindric capped off a solid rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with a third-place finish in the Championship 4 and fifth-place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 200.
Cindric started third in the 134-lap race and wrestled a loose-handling Ford F-150 during the opening stage of the event. He finished the first segment in sixth and pitted on lap 43 for four tires and adjustments. Excellent pit work by the No. 19 team put him third in line when the green flag waved on lap 48.
He moved up to second place on lap 50, then a few laps later, he waged an intense battle with championship rival Christopher Bell for second. Try as a he might, Cindric couldn’t hold off Bell, who slipped by on lap 61. As the laps ticked off, the loose-handling condition returned. He did an admirable job holding on and was running sixth at the conclusion of Stage 2 on lap 82.
Three laps later, Cindric once again pitted, with crew chief Doug Randolph making a major chassis adjustment, along with providing him with four fresh tires. Speedy service on pit lane put Cindric fourth in line when the race went green on lap 88, with the Draw-Tite Ford F-150 on the rear bumper of leading Championship 4 driver Bell.
Cindric once again went wheel to wheel with Bell in a battle for the third position as the race roared past the 90-lap mark, but he couldn’t find a way past. A few laps later, the loose-handling condition returned, and on lap 96, Johnny Sauter passed Cindric for fifth place.
By lap 116, Cindric was locked in a tight battle with Matt Crafton for fifth place, the third position in the championship standings. Cindric caught Crafton on the final lap of the race, diving under his competitor between Turns 3 and 4 and completing the pass off the final corner – with a big wiggle for good measure.
Cindric finished the 2017 season with eight top-five and 16 top-10 finishes – including seven consecutive. His third-place finish in the championship standings is the best finish by a Brad Keselowski Racing driver since 2015.
Austin Cindric: “We had better short-run speed in our Draw-Tite Ford F-150 than anybody else. If we would have had one more restart there, it would have been a lot of fun. We wish we could have brought home a championship on Ford Championship Weekend. I drove my heart out to try and get by the No. 4 of Bell. I had to start trying some things. I tried the top there and was able to get around Crafton on the last lap with a slide job for third in the championship. I’m really pumped about that. I love these guys. I’m so excited for the future. I hope we get to work with some of these guys moving forward and I know that I’m blessed to be where I am.”
Starting Position: 3rd
Finishing Position: 5th
Stage Wins: 0
Laps Led: 0
Championship 4 Finish: 3rd
No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150
Chase Briscoe gave Brad Keselowski Racing a storybook ending to its decade of success in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the 2017 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After earning his fourth-career Keystone Light pole award of the year in his 23rd NCWTS race, the driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150 went on to lead a race-high 81 laps en route to his first-career victory, securing Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in BKR’s 305th and final start.
After a qualifying lap of 32.239 seconds (167.499 mph) earned him the point position for the start of the Ford EcoBoost 200, Briscoe led the field for the opening 33 laps before dropping back to the second spot, which is where he was scored when Stage 1 concluded. Briscoe reported to crew chief Buddy Sisco that his No. 29 machine was lacking rear drive and needed more rear grip. Sisco called his driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment, and an impressive stop by the crew allowed Briscoe to win the race off pit road.
When green-flag racing resumed on lap 48, Briscoe’s truck was still a little too free, which caused him to drop back to the fourth position. After stalking his competitors, Briscoe was able to recover one spot before the end of Stage 2. With one final chance to adjust on their machine, the BKR crew provided Briscoe with four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment, and fast work on pit road earned him one spot, putting him second when green-flag racing resumed on lap 88.
Briscoe traded the first position with Ben Rhodes within the first eight laps, but after making the pass for the lead on lap 96, the 22-year-old Indiana native never looked back. With more than a second between him and his closest competitor, Briscoe dominated the final 39 laps before taking the checkered flag, earning his first-career NASCAR win. The victory also clinched the Rookie of the Year title. Briscoe closed out the season with 10 top fives, 14 top 10s, one win and 288 laps led, contributing to the team’s tally of 11 wins, 107 top fives, 174 top 10s and 18 poles.
Chase Briscoe: “This is a long time coming, and I am so proud of all these guys. First off, we had a really good truck, and I can’t thank Brad and everyone at BKR enough. For us to be shutting down and still bringing trucks that can win races and sit on poles, especially with me being out of the Playoffs, is a testament to how these BKR guys are; They continued to keep fighting for us. Our pit crew was absolutely on it tonight and allowed us to gain spots and get out in front. Once we got to the lead, I felt confident that we had the speed to hold everyone off until the end, but I thought we were going to have a caution, because that seems to be how our luck has been all year long. There wasn’t one, and we were fortunate enough to go on and win. I didn’t think it would take this long, but I’m so glad we’re here. Thank you so much to Ford for believing in me this year as well. Two years ago I was sleeping on couches and now I’m a NASCAR winner.”
Buddy Sisco: “I have a lot of trust in Chase. From the time I met him down here in Homestead last year, I said ‘That’s what we need in a racecar driver.’ He has unbelievable car control, and you can run a different setup with him than you can with a lot of guys. You can turn him loose, pump him up, crack the whip a little bit and he can get it done. I’m so proud that we were able to get a win before the end of the season. He and these guys really deserve it.”
Brad Keselowski:It’s difficult anytime a team is shutting down, and it’s a real test of character to see how a team finishes it. Chase, Buddy and all our guys really stepped up and deserve a lot of credit for that. It’s easy to coast as you start to wind down, but they didn’t do that. They found a little bit extra and got into Victory Lane. I’m really proud of that; I know how much of a mental challenge that is for anyone and they overcame that. We also had a chance at the championship with Austin and he ran a really strong race as well, so I’m proud of that. It’s a special night, in some ways bittersweet, but I’m really happy for everybody. We have a great group that I feel fortunate to be a part of.”
Starting Position: 1st
Finishing Position: 1st
Stage Wins: 0
Laps Led: 81
Points Position: 6th