TOLEDO, Ohio (May 3, 2016) – Last year, Chase Briscoe was volunteering in the race shop at Cunningham Motorsports. Less than one year later, the Mitchell, Indiana rookie is leading the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship standings headed to the next event on tour – the Menards 200 at Toledo Speedway coming May 21-22.
“It’s humbling…I’m truly blessed to be in this position,” Briscoe said. “Last year, I was going to the shop at Cunningham’s…volunteering…trying to get my foot in the door. Now I’m leading the points. I never thought I’d be here.”
To add to Briscoe’s amazing story, he’s only raced on pavement six times – two ARCA races last year and four so far this year. Briscoe cut his teeth in the rough and tumble world of sprint car racing on dirt tracks across Indiana, a far cry from the ARCA stock car world.
Despite his lack of experience, Briscoe, in the No. 77 Cunningham car, opened this season with a fourth-place finish at Daytona and a brand new track record at Nashville. On the Menards Pole again at Salem, he then finished a career-best third at Talladega Superspeedway last Friday.
“Talladega was an amazing experience. I’ve never been more nervous for a race…starting way back and come out with a third-place finish. We came from the back twice and put it in the trailer with no damage on the car.”
Briscoe admits he’s still pinching himself regarding his opportunities with Cunningham Motorsports, a joint ownership group between Briggs Cunningham and Kerry Scherer.
“To be honest with you, I still don’t know how it happened. I got a call from Kerry Scherer to see if I’d be interested in going down to do a test. Went down to the shop…I told Paul (Andrews/Team Manager/Crew Chief) that if he ever needed any help, I’d be happy to volunteer my time. I told him that, ‘I don’t know anything about stock cars but I’m willing to help.’
“They tested me at Nashville…then I got the call to run Indy (Lucas Oil Raceway) and Salem after that. Next thing you know, I got offered the full deal. It’s unbelievable. Me and Briggs have become really good friends…we talk every day.”
Briscoe will get a jump on Toledo as he’ll be testing at the half-mile track this Friday, May 6.
“Never been there (Toledo). I’ve watched a lot of the USAC (sprint car) races online. I know it’s the hometown of ARCA…a little bullring. Hopefully, I’ll adapt quickly and keep our streak of good runs.
“I mean, I didn’t think I’d set a track record at Nashville. I think we had the best car at Salem. The more this team gets used to me, and the more I learn, I think we’re going to get faster. So far, so good…we’ll just keep working hard at it.”
Briscoe’s point lead is a slim 15 points over Series veteran Josh Williams, the winner at Nashville, and just 35 points over Daytona winner John Wes Townley.
ARCA’s national tour returns to its hometown roots for the annual 200-lap race at Toledo Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22. As always, there’s a good bit of buzz that goes with a home game…and even more this year considering the Menards 200 will be the 75th ARCA race at Toledo since the tour debuted on the half-mile oval on Benore Road on April 21, 1963 – Iggy Katona the winner.
ARCA Racing Series on-track activities begin Saturday, May 21 with two practice sessions from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:00 to 1:45 p.m. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell follows at 3:30. Saturday’s action will conclude with feature race events for the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA-sanctioned Sportsman division. Raceday Sunday gets underway with an on-track driver autograph session from 12 noon to 1:00. Pre-race ceremonies and driver introductions follow. The Menards 200 is scheduled to start at 2:00.
All ARCA Racing Series on-track activities will be featured in live timing and scoring and live chat at arcaracing.com. The Menards 200 is also live on the American Sports Network.
Don Radebaugh email@example.com