Event: Henry 180 (Round 18 of 33)
Date: Aug. 8, 2020
Location: Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Layout: 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course
Chase Briscoe Notes of Interest
• Briscoe enters the Henry 180 at Road America as the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ most recent road-course winner. The 25-year-old racer from Mitchell, Indiana, won July 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course to score his series-leading fifth win of the season and the seventh of his career. It was also Briscoe’s second road-course win, as his first career Xfinity Series victory came at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval in 2018.
• Briscoe’s No. 98 Ford Mustang carries the colors of Henry Repeating Arms in the Henry 180. Henry Repeating Arms is one of the leading rifle and shotgun manufacturers in the United States and a world leader in the lever-action category. The company’s motto is “Made in America, or not made at all,” and its firearms come with a lifetime guarantee backed by award-winning customer service. Henry Repeating Arms employs 535 people and has 250,000 square-feet of manufacturing space in its Rice Lake, Wisconsin, and Bayonne, New Jersey, facilities. The company is named in honor of Benjamin Tyler Henry, who invented and patented the Henry rifle in 1860 – the first repeating rifle, the lever-action rifle, which is America’s unique contribution to international firearms design and is one of the most legendary, respected and sought-after rifles in the history of firearms.
• Henry Repeating Arms has offered free general admission for the first 360 military veterans, frontline healthcare workers and first responders who pre-register with approved credentials through its website, www.henryusa.com/thankyou. The company is also inviting more than 100 employees from its manufacturing facilities, the largest of which is just a few hours west of Road America in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Road America encompasses 640 acres, allowing amazing viewing opportunities in a socially-distanced environment.
• The Henry 180 will mark Briscoe’s second career Xfinity Series start at Road America. His first visit to the iconic road course came in last year’s race when he started 10th and led two laps before finishing seventh.
• While the Xfinity Series was off last weekend, Briscoe was not. He took advantage of the down time in order to gear up for the Henry 180. Briscoe competed in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race last Saturday at Road America, partnering with series regular James Pesek in a Ford Mustang GT4 prepared by PF Racing. The duo finished 13th in the two-hour race.
• While the IMSA race was a good way for Briscoe to polish his road-racing skills, it’s Briscoe’s dirt-track background that has seemingly provided the most help. When Briscoe notched his first career win at the Charlotte Roval, he explained how he did it: “It drove like a dirt track instead of a road course, and it felt like I was in a sprint car. I just tried to make sure the rear tires never spun. I had to give up a little time coming off the corner, but I’d make it back up down the straightaway, and that’s why I was always better at the end of the run.”
• Briscoe has finished among the top-10 in all but one of the seven road-course races in which he has competed in the Xfinity Series. And in his lone NASCAR Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series start on a road course – 2017 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – Briscoe finished seventh in a Ford F-150.
• The No. 98 team eyes the Henry 180 as its opportunity to regain the top spot in the championships standings. Following a 14th-place finish two weeks ago at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Briscoe slipped to second in the standings, just four points behind follow Ford driver Austin Cindric. However, with just seven races remaining in the regular season, Briscoe leads the Xfinity Series in wins with five (next best has three wins) and playoff points with 28 (next best has 22).
Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 98 Henry Repeating Arms Ford Mustang
You spent your off-weekend running the IMSA race at Road America. Were you able to learn anything that you can apply to Saturday’s Henry 180?
“I feel like just seeing the track and getting laps last weekend will help me be up to speed on what I need to do to keep our Henry Repeating Arms Ford Mustang up front. There are a lot of differences between the IMSA cars and the Xfinity cars, so it was more about getting back to Road America and getting familiar with the track again. The Xfinity cars aren’t built for turning left and right quickly, or stopping quickly, and one of my biggest concerns is that there’s about a 300-foot difference in braking points. That’s really my biggest worry.”
What will the start of the Henry 180 look like with most of the field having made no laps at Road America prior to the green flag?
“Road America is going to be good practice for next week at Daytona. The majority of the field has laps at Road America, but I think only three or four guys have any laps at Daytona. It’s going to be a good warmup. Turn one will be relatively easy, but you go into turn three or turn five in these heavy braking zones when we’re up to speed – it’s going to be pretty chaotic, especially when you throw in the random draw for starting position. You can have two or three guys up front who have never seen the place before and you have guys with experience starting in eighth or ninth on back. That is the most difficult part – the random draw and how it can turn out and put guys that don’t even know the racetrack on the front row and the experienced guys in the back. Oval racing has been pretty exciting with no practice and seeing guys come and go throughout the field. When you do that at a road course, it’s going to be even more extreme. If you go back to the Indy race this year when we had practice, there were some guys who were four and five seconds off the pace in practice. Obviously, as the weekend goes on they get better and better, but now those first laps of practice are the first laps of the race, and if they’re four or five seconds off, it’s definitely going to be pretty crazy.”
What is your favorite part about Road America?
“First off, Road America – I can’t say it enough – it’s such a nice facility. It’s like you go to a state park and there’s a racetrack there. It’s just so beautiful. The fans are always awesome every time we go. From the racetrack standpoint, it’s really one of the best road courses in the country, just because it has so many different elements. It has the long straightaways, the heavy braking zones, it has 90-degree corners, it has sweeping corners. It’s fast, it’s slow, it has elevation. It really has everything that you look for in a road course, and then on top of that, it has a lot of tire fall-off, which makes for great racing. I would say my favorite corner there is probably the carousel – the really long sweeping right-hander, just because you’re kind of dirt-tracking it over there. You’re sideways. It’s just a fun corner. My least favorite – if your car is not handling well – is probably the kink, just because you’re so on edge through there. If your car isn’t very good, it can really make it a long day, and it’s pretty hairy going through there just in general, even if your car is good.”
The Xfinity Series championship battle has really started to take shape over the last month. Do you have any concerns leading up to the playoffs?
“I think the biggest thing for us is these last three weeks have not been super characteristic of our team. We just haven’t necessarily had the speed. A perfect example is the last race at Kansas. We were going to win the race there last year and got wrecked by a lapped car with 10 or 12 to go and then this year we have a hard time running in the top-10 with practically the same setup. We’ve just been off for whatever reason. We had about a 30-point lead in the regular-season championship and that all went away. Now we’re down four points. Trying to win the regular-season championship is a huge deal and now Cindric is in the lead and we’re going to all these road course where he’s probably the favorite, but I feel like we can still beat him. At Indy, I don’t think anybody expected us to win and we were able to go there and win. Road America is going to be a little bit different with how the pit stops are going to be, and I think the strategy is going to be a little different. Then we go to the Daytona road course the following week. Cindric has been really, really fast there in the IMSA car, so I expect he’s going to be hard to beat. I think we just have to get back to how we were at the beginning of the year as far as just having speed in the racecars.”