Event: Drive for the Cure 250 (Round 29 of 33)
Date: Oct. 10, 2020
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval
Layout: 2.28-mile, 17-turn road course
Chase Briscoe Notes of Interest
• The Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval will always serve as a milestone venue for Chase Briscoe. It was Sept. 29, 2018 when in just his 14th career Xfinity Series start, Briscoe won the inaugural race at the Roval. Briscoe tapped into his dirt-track experience to wheel the No. 98 Ford Mustang to a strong 1.478-second margin of victory. “It drove like a dirt track instead of a road course, and it felt like I was in a sprint car,” said Briscoe after the race. “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 is a third-generation racer whose career began on dirt tracks in and around his home state of Indiana. Since he was 13, Briscoe has followed in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps, racing sprint cars on the rough and tumble bullrings of the Midwest. Briscoe’s first time behind the wheel of a racecar came in 2001. Driving a quarter midget, he won his first heat race and then won the feature event later that evening. Briscoe moved on to mini sprints and when he was 13, stepped into a 410 sprint car where, in his first race, he finished 10th in a 40-car field. In a rookie season that saw 37 starts, Briscoe racked up eight top-five and 17 top-10 finishes, including a win in the last race of the season, where he broke NASCAR Hall of Famer and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon’s record as being the youngest person to win a 410 sprint car race.
• Briscoe has become one of the stronger road-course competitors in the Xfinity Series since that first victory at the Roval in 2018. The 25-year-old racer from Mitchell, Indiana, fulfilled his childhood dream of kissing the bricks at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he won earlier this summer on the track’s road course to score his fifth win of the season and the seventh of his career.
• Briscoe has finished among the top-10 in all but two of the nine 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 Roval represents the final race in the Round of 12 with just the top-eight drivers after Charlotte moving on to the second round, which is comprised of Kansas Speedway on Oct. 17, Texas Motor Speedway on Oct. 24 and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Oct. 31. The top-four drivers after Martinsville compete in the Championship 4 at Phoenix, where the highest finishing driver is crowned the 2020 Xfinity Series champion.
• Briscoe leads the championship standings by 34 points over second-place Austin Cindric and punched his ticket to the second round of the playoffs with a win in the Round of 12’s first race two weeks ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Ford Performance Racing School/HighPoint.com driver looks to add to his total of 59 playoff points as they will all carry over into the penultimate playoff round that begins at Kansas.
• Briscoe is in the midst of his second straight playoff appearance. He finished fifth in the Xfinity Series standings last year, narrowly missing out on advancing to the Championship 4 and competing for the series title. He did, however, win the rookie-of-the-year award.
• Beyond leading the championship standings and having a series-best eight wins, other numbers bolster Briscoe’s championship charge:
• Briscoe has already led 775 laps this season, 578 more laps than he led all last season.
• Briscoe has already scored 15 top-fives, two more than he earned last year.
• Briscoe’s average starting position this season is 6.6, an improvement over his 8.8 average starting position last year.
• Briscoe’s average finishing position is 7.8, bettering his 8.2 average finishing position in 2019.
CHASE BRISCOE, Driver of the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School / HighPoint.com Mustang:
Do you prefer the traditional road course or the Roval layout featured at Charlotte?
“I think they all drive differently. The Roval and the Daytona road course, neither of those really run like an actual road course. The Roval is the perfect scenario. You have the infield portion where you have to be really smooth and finesse you’re way through – overdriving doesn’t make you go any faster. Then you go on the big track and enter that final chicane and it’s elbows up – who is the bravest guy? You just have those two totally different types of driving styles at one track, and that’s what I like about. It seems like these Roval layouts all kind of run that way, and I enjoy that part of it. I feel like a traditional road course doesn’t necessarily have that. They just drive differently. As weird as that sounds, you’d think they’d be the same, but I do feel like they race quite a bit differently, or at least drive differently.”
Can you relive your 2018 win at the Roval and the impact it had on your career?
“2018 was such a crazy year for me. It was probably the worst year in my career up until that point. I was part time in the series and was probably going to lose my ride the following year. We got to the Roval and I was probably three to four seconds off the pace in practice. I would just study as much video as I could between practices and come back and close the gap a little more each time. We qualified way better than I thought we would and, once the race started, I began working around other cars. I could see what they were doing and I was able to pick it up a lot quicker. I remember getting in the lead and thinking, ‘This isn’t going to last that long. All these road-course ringers are going to blow by me,’ but I just kept leading. No one was catching me. It was seven or eight laps to go and I just knew as long as a caution didn’t come out or I didn’t make a mistake, I was probably going to win the race. I just tried to stay on the racetrack and was able to somehow win. It still blows my mind. That was the race that changed everything. That win changed my career, and also changed my entire outlook on road-course racing. Every year going back, I feel so much more confident in our chances of winning.”
Fast forward to now – you’re leading the series with eight wins, you’ve outdueled the winningest driver in series history in Kyle Busch, and you’ve broken records that have stood for decades. Have you taken a moment to enjoy all of your success in 2020?
“Seasons like this don’t happen every year. The last time I had a season like this was in the ARCA Series, and when you haven’t had once since, it definitely makes you appreciate it more when you finally do. Just thinking through the last couple of years – not having the success that I would’ve liked to have had – it makes me appreciate every win and everything we’ve been able to do that much more. With everything that has gone on this year, it’s tough to put into perspective the season we’ve been having. I feel like a perfect example of remembering to enjoy it was receiving the Indianapolis ring last week. Stuff like that just reminds me of the kind of season that we’ve had, and how cool it is to get to drive these Ford Performance Racing School/HighPoint.com Mustangs week in and week out. I feel like I always try to keep a pretty good perspective of that, and that’s a lot of the reason why you don’t see me getting mad and wanting to go fight people. At the end of the day, even if I run 35th I’m still making a living driving racecars. I still remember when I dreamed of doing it. It could always be a lot worse. I’ve really enjoyed and not taken for granted the success that we’ve had this year. I’ve really tried to appreciate every moment of it and, hopefully, we’ll have more of that throughout the rest of the year.”