(TOLEDO, Ohio – January 20, 2016) – Cunningham Motorsports rookie Chase Briscoe turned his first laps at Daytona Int’l Speedway over the weekend during the annual ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards open test. With veteran crew chiefs Paul Andrews and Chad Bryant to pull information from, Briscoe went to work on the historic 2.5-mile track.
“What a cool experience,” Briscoe said. “Growing up, every racecar driver dreams about running Daytona…to be able to finally turn laps there is beyond cool.”
Once Briscoe wore the jitters away, the Mitchell, Indiana open-wheel veteran driver took in what he could. “After the anxiousness wore off, I felt comfortable the whole time. Once you get there, and begin to relax…that’s when you can start processing all the information and start the learning curve.
“The biggest thing for me was learning the side draft…figuring out where the front-end is and where the corners and fenders of the car are. I’ve never raced with mirrors in the sprints and midgets so that takes some time to get used to. Learning the perimeters of the car with the mirrors…that was the biggest challenge for me.”
Learning the draft is key at Daytona, but Briscoe knows the race will be completely different.
“Taking my first laps in the draft is an experience I’ll never forget, and I feel like I learned a lot, but we were never with more than four or five cars or so. Getting in a full field in the race is going to be a lot different.”
Briscoe ended up 15th fastest overall among the 64 drivers who posted time and speed. He circled the speedway with a best speed of 188.222 mph.
“Fortunately, I have a lot of great people around me to learn from and ask questions. I talked to Justin Allgaier at a Midget race last year, and that was very helpful. Talked to Christopher Bell and Will Kimmel…and I’m good friends with Tom Hessert and got some great advice from him. And having Paul Andrews and Chad Bryant around is obviously huge. I feel blessed to be with Cunningham Motorsports and have these opportunities.
“It was pretty wild…I had never been on anything that size or anything with that much banking…the force you feel in the corners is pretty intense. “Cunningham has prepared a great car and I’m really excited to get back there (Daytona) and start on this championship.”
Briscoe, who won his first sprint car race at Paragon (Ind.) Speedway at age 13, made his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut with Cunningham Motorsports in 2015 at Lucas Oil Raceway, finishing 10th. The 21-year-old third-generation racer followed that up with an even better fifth-place finish at Salem Speedway last September.
Don Radebaugh, email@example.com