Event: NASCAR Xfinity Series Doubleheader (Rounds 14-15 of 33)
Date: July 9-10, 2020
Location: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta
Layout: 1.5-mile oval
Chase Briscoe Notes of Interest
• This week’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta marks the series’ second doubleheader of the season. Two Xfinity Series races will be held on back-to-back nights at the 1.5-mile oval, beginning with the Shady Rays 200 on Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT. The series will take to the track again at 8 p.m. EDT on Friday for the Alsco 300. Both events will be broadcast live on FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
• Briscoe’s No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang has proven to be a verifiable thoroughbred in 2020. At the reins of his trusty steed, Briscoe hasscored a series-leading five wins this season andholds a 21-point lead in the championship standings. Now Briscoe brings his blue-and-white Ford Mustang to the Bluegrass State intent on grabbing his sixth victory and his third straight, as the Stewart-Haas Racingdriver enters Kentucky fresh off of back-to-back wins at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
• Briscoe’s recent Indy triumph didn’t come easy. He started 12th in the 38-car field and took the lead for the first time on lap 24, eventually leading five times for a race-high 30 laps. But leading the final two laps took considerable effort, as Briscoe had to battle road-course ace A.J. Allmendinger in the final seven tours around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. Allmendinger took the lead from Briscoe on lap 59 and jettisoned him to third after the Stewart-Haas Racing pilot overdrove a corner. But Briscoe buckled down and set his sights on regaining the lead, reasserting his position at the front of the field with a powerful drive past second-place Austin Cindric and leader Allmendinger on the penultimate lap. Briscoe deftly wheeled his No. 98 Ford Mustang around the serpentine layout inside the hallowed grounds of the Brickyard, pulling out a 1.717-second margin of victory over runner-up Justin Haley.
• With the win at Indy, Briscoe became only the second driver in Xfinity Series history to earn five or more wins in the first 13 races of the season. The first driver to do so was Sam Ard in 1984 as part of an eight-win season that earned Ard his second straight Xfinity Series title.
• While Briscoe is an Indiana native, he claims Kentucky as his second home track. The 1.5-mile oval in Sparta us just 100 miles east of the 25-year-old’s hometown of Mitchell, Indiana.
• Briscoe has only one Xfinity Series appearance at Kentucky. It came last year when he started ninth and led three times for 14 laps before finishing fifth. But outside of the Xfinity Series, Briscoe has two additional starts at Kentucky – one in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series (2017) and one in the ARCA Racing Series (2016).
CHASE BRISCOE, Driver of the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang:
Five wins in 13 races is an incredible accomplishment, and you’ve been adamant since the beginning of the year that the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School team is capable of even more. What do you see in this team that gives you that confidence?
“Every single racetrack we’ve gone to we’ve been in the hunt. It’s pretty unbelievable to think we’ve gone to 13 races and have had a chance to win every single one of them. I know it sounds so cliché to say it, but it’s a testament to the guys on this Ford Performance Racing School team. It really is. At Indianapolis we had practice, but every other week we don’t, and to show up and be that good week in and week out without that extra track time just shows how good they are at their jobs and really shows the strength and depth of Stewart-Haas Racing. On pavement especially, you’re only as good as the racecar you’re in. You can’t make up for a big gap like you can on dirt. I feel like I’m blessed to be the guy that gets to race with this team and be in that position.”
You’ve overcome a lot of adversity to finish up front in a lot of races this year. What do you feel you need to improve on as we approach the second half of the season?
“It’s doing the little things right, like maximizing pit road speed, but not speeding. I’ve been caught speeding three or four times this year. I want to get better as a racecar driver in general and minimize mistakes. I feel like I’ve been doing a better job of that, but I still make mistakes. A lot of times these races are won by the guy who makes the least mistakes. Then, just cleaning up the whole race. I could be a lot better at the beginning of these races. I ride around but feel my car out, especially with no practice, and I don’t rush my way to the front. I kind of pick my way in and out of cars and feel my way. It’s been working for us because we’ve been able to be there at the end of these races, but I also need to capitalize on stage points. For as many wins as we have, we don’t necessarily have that many stage points because I haven’t been 110 percent aggressive from Stage 1. So, just fine-tuning the little details and being better at describing what I need in my racecar. Coming from the dirt world, it was a fresh start, and I’ve learned a ton in the last year-and-a-half about setup, but I feel I could be a lot better.”
You put a lot of pressure on yourself to do well this season. Is that how you keep yourself focused?
“It’s weird to say but I feel like I’ve always thrived under pressure. I set a goal for myself and the team has stuck behind me, but it’s kind of like Babe Ruth calling his shot. I knew if I did that, I had to back it up. I’ve always fed on the pressure. You go back to the Roval and I won it. A lot of people don’t realize I didn’t have a ride if I didn’t win that race. Sleeping on couches, volunteering in race shops, and only having one race to prove myself, I had to do the best I could. So, I put a number out there. I want to win more races and prove my worth. I felt like that was an attainable goal and that if I put the pressure on myself it would give me something to shoot for.”