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June 28, 2020

Ross Chastain short of Pocono glory but pockets second straight Dash 4 Cash prize

Ross Chastain has assembled a modest streak in the NASCAR Xfinity Series that has been part consistency, part bittersweet and part lucrative. Sunday at Pocono Raceway, he came up short by a hair to race winner Chase Briscoe but claimed the Dash 4 Cash bonus in the Pocono Green 225.

RELATED: Race results | Recap of 2020 Dash 4 Cash program

Chastain carried away a $100,000 consolation prize for the second straight week in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, landing his second consecutive runner-up finish. He was the highest finisher among the four eligible drivers, avoiding the trouble that entangled the other three: Austin Cindric, Justin Haley and Alex Labbe.

The payday meant Kaulig Racing collected three of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses in this year’s program. But Chastain was still left to sit with leading the most laps (31 of 91) then relinquishing the top spot to a charging Briscoe on the next-to-last lap. Chastain even apologized after his post-race news conference for a “doom and gloom” mood.

“It’s tough to be upset with second, but I am,” Chastain told FOX Sports. “I’m so proud of Kaulig Racing, RCR and everybody that brings these race cars, and we’re unloading and we are in the top two or three every week. I know how lucky I am, but man, it’s the memories we take with us, not the money.”

Chastain’s competitors for the Dash 4 Cash bonus were well down the finishing order after the wreck-filled event. Labbe was the next-highest finisher, recovering from a spin and a tap of the inside retaining wall at the end of Stage 1 to take 17th place.

Haley, Chastain’s teammate, was knocked from contention after a mid-race penalty for a run-in with Riley Herbst. The two had brushed together exiting Turn 3 before Haley swerved left to send Herbst’s No. 18 Toyota spinning on the frontstraight, prompting a caution period on Lap 50.

MORE: Haley penalized for Pocono push

NASCAR officials held Haley’s No. 11 Chevrolet for two laps for rough driving. He never made up the deficit, finishing two laps down in 23rd.

Cindric led 11 laps and won Stage 1, but he exited just three laps after the Haley-Herbst incident. His No. 22 Team Penske Ford funneled into a six-car stack-up on the Long Pond straight, and Cindric wound up 29th.