TOLEDO, Ohio (Oct. 8, 2016) - No driver has spent more time up front in 2016 than Chase Briscoe, times four, plus 29.
Briscoe, in Briggs Cunningham's No. 77 Big Tine Ford, has dominated the Valvoline Lap Leader board with a whopping 881 laps-led overall. That's more than four times as much as the guy next in line on the lap leader chart, that being Josh Williams with 213.
No doubt Briscoe feels good about leading all those laps, yet frustrated he couldn't close the door more in the win column, albeit he's won five races with one more opportunity to add another in the Kansas finale coming next Friday.
"It's definitely surprising to lead that many laps," Briscoe said, "but it's kind of frustrating when you see how many laps we led. We didn't always get the finishes we deserved...it just shows you how versatile this Cunningham Motorsports team is and how good of race cars we bring."
Despite not winning some races he often dominated, Briscoe was completely at home out front.
"Honestly, it's a comfort zone when you're leading. You can take care of the car more. When you're not (leading) you end up trying too hard to get there. Leading the race is a comfort, if anything. And, when you're leading, you're also in position to win. No place I'd rather be."
Briscoe, who comes from a dirt track background in sprint cars, wanted the win on the Springfield Mile Dirt as much as, or more than anywhere. And, it looked like he was well on his way after leading 62 laps of the 100 scheduled.
"I'd say Springfield stands out more than any one race. I made one small mistake that cost our team the win...that one still bothers me. I mean, I know as much as anyone that those tracks rubber-up, and if you get out of the rubber, you're going to have an issue, and that's how they got under us.
"Toledo got away from us too. We just got out-strategized on pit road."
Briscoe indeed led 157 of 200 laps at Toledo yet finished fifth in the race.
Despite the Springfield's and Toledo's, once Briscoe set sail out front, it often meant his next move would be toward victory lane, like his first win at Winchester where he paced the field for 142 of 200 laps.
Briscoe also led more laps than anyone at Iowa, his career-second win. Same thing for his win at Pocono where he led all but nine laps. His win at Lucas Oil was another example of his domination, leading 131 of 200 laps.
In fact, looking down through the 2016 results sheets, it was more rare when he didn't lead laps than when he did. Out of character at Kentucky last time out, Briscoe never made it into the lead before he and John Wes Townley crashed out together 25 laps shy of the finish. Fortunately, the car, which had just received a front clip after a crash in testing, did not need another clip prior to the upcoming season finale at Kansas. Briscoe has been in the Cunningham shop all week helping nurse the car back to normal.
"We're taking the same car to Kansas. It didn't need a front clip...just put a new body on it. We just broke a couple welds, so we think it should be good, unless we find some other issue with it. We'll just tune on it a little more and take it to Kansas."
Briscoe will turn his first laps at Kansas race day morning, Friday, October 14. Practice for the Kansas 150 is from 9:30 to 10:25 a.m., with final practice following from 10:35 to 11:30. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is slotted in for 2:30 p.m. The 16th Kansas 150 is scheduled to start at 7:30, with live coverage on FS1. ARCAracing.com will also feature Live Timing and Scoring and Live Chat of all on-track activities.
Don Radebaugh firstname.lastname@example.org