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story.lead_photo.caption Chase Briscoe (98) crosses the finish line ahead of Kyle Busch (54) to win the NASCAR Xfinity series auto race Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Darlington, S.C. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Chase Briscoe was grateful to bring a moment or two of happiness to wife Marissa in the worst week of their lives.

It was Tuesday, during a 12-week exam, that they learned that their expected child -- they only learned Monday that it was a girl -- had no fetal heartbeat.

Two days later, Briscoe won the Xfinity Series' return to action when he held off Kyle Busch at Darlington Raceway.

"This has been the hardest week I've ever had to deal with and God is so good," Briscoe said. "Even when I took the lead with 50 to go, I was crying inside the race car."

Briscoe joined his wife's appointment on a video call from the infield at Darlington, awaiting the rain-delayed race's orginal start time. He and Marissa shared their news on Instagram on Wednesday, hoping it might help others cope with similar tragedies.

His story will reach so many more after the victory Thursday.

"This is more than a race win," he said. "This is the biggest day of my life after the toughest day in my life, and to be able to best the best there is is so satisfying."

Briscoe said he never seriously considered pulling out of the competition, that racing might be "therapuetic" in the series' first event since March 7 in Phoenix due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Briscoe used two strong restarts and a quick pit stop to finish on top. He got the lead out of the pits during the final caution, then pulled away from Busch and Justin Allgaier on the subsequent restart with seven laps to go for his fourth career win and second this season.

"Honestly, winning the Daytona 500 couldn't even top the feeling of just, like I was saying earlier, the ups and downs," Briscoe said. "This is what my family needed and what my wife needed."

Busch seemed to have the race in hand as he took the second stage in a dominant showing. But he was called for speeding in the pits and ordered to the back of the 39-car field.

But Busch was there to challenge Briscoe at the end, the cars touching off the final turn before Briscoe crossed the finish line in front by 0.08 seconds.

Allgaier was third, Austin Cindric fourth and Noah Gragson, the pole sitter who won the first stage, was fifth.

Sports on 05/22/2020

Print Headline: Briscoe earns tough victory

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