TOLEDO, Ohio (May 6, 2016) – After carefully studying what’s been going on with Chase Briscoe over at Cunningham Motorsports, rookie Myatt Snider hopes to follow in his fast tracks – straight to the race shop in Concord, North Carolina – after a pit stop in Toledo.
“I’m taking my tool box to Cunningham’s Monday and starting work,” Snider said. “I used to work at Joe Gibbs Racing two or three years…got a lot of great experience over there, so I have some tools at my disposal. They needed a good home anyway.”
As it turned out, the Cunningham race shop has certainly become a nice home away from home for Briscoe, the current ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards points leader after four events in 2016.
Both Briscoe and Snider spent the day testing at Toledo Speedway Friday in preparation for the 75th running of Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care coming May 21-22 at the national tour’s home track.
Both are taking their first laps today around the historic, half-mile short track off Benore Road in Toledo.
“The power band is a lot different on these cars…they’re a lot heavier…doesn’t want to take the corners too fast,” Snider said. “They’re just a different feel all the way around.”
One of Snider’s claims to fames so far is winning the Myrtle Beach 400 in November of 2015, one of the biggest late model events in the area. However, going from a much lighter, straight-rail late model to the heavier, composite bodied ARCA cars is an adjustment to say the least.
“I’m just trying to learn this whole thing…I’m still learning. There are certain parts of this place (Toledo Speedway) that reminds me of other tracks I’ve been on, but no one speedway in particular. This place has a character all to itself. It’s pretty fast…suits my driving style.”
Snider is the son of longtime NASCAR broadcaster Marty Snider.
“My dad and I have been texting back and forth…he’s one hundred percent behind what I’m trying to accomplish over here. He wants to know what’s going on.”
About that time, Briscoe’s phone rang with Cunningham team owner Briggs Cunningham on the other end.
“Briggs and I talk all the time,” Briscoe said. “He was asking me questions about the track and what I thought. We usually talk every day. We’ve become really good friends.”
Briscoe, like Snider, was taking his first laps around Toledo today.
“I didn’t realize it was this fast,” Briscoe continued. “Especially for a track where it seems like you’re turning all the time. I think it’s going to be hard to pass…track position is going to really important.
“We’ve already made three runs. This place is really fast. Getting the car to the bottom seems to be the deal here…getting it to turn in the corner. Seems like it tightens up in the center…the apexes are weird. It’s like one big, fast circle…constantly turning. I didn’t think it was going to be this fast. I think it’s more physically demanding than Salem.”
After a weekend at home in Mitchell, Indiana – Briscoe is headed to a high school chum’s wedding Saturday night in New Albany, Indiana – the 21-year-old SCOTT Rookie Challenge leader is headed to the Bondurant Racing School in Chandler, Arizona next week in an effort to familiarize himself with the art of road course racing.
“I’ll be home all weekend…then I’m going to road course school mid-week…the Bondurant thing in Arizona.”
That would be in preparation for the ARCA 150 presented by Unique Pretzel on the 2.25-mile New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) road course coming Memorial Day weekend, on the heels of Toledo’s Menards 200.
“Little nervous about the road course. Something new, but it’s just another race track in theory. Main thing is learning the track (NJMP). Me and (Tom) Hessert have been messing around on iRacing…trying to figure out New Jersey. I’d say he’s got it down, but I’m still learning the course.”
Actually, it’s all “just another race track” for Briscoe, whose only return visit so far on the ARCA tour has been to Salem Speedway. But outside of two trips to Salem, each track on ARCA’s tour has been a brand new experience. And, remember, Briscoe has only raced on pavement six times, yet he leads the championship standings, finishing a career-best third last time out at Talladega after setting back-to-back Menards Pole Awards at Nashville and Salem.
“I’m not surprised,” said Briscoe’s dad Kevin Briscoe. “The first time I put him in a seat at 13, he went out and ran second.”
Both father and son are sprint car drivers from Indiana. While Briscoe 'the father' retired from driving duties for good in 2008, Briscoe 'the son' has been racing as much as possible on dirt bullrings across Indiana, but not as much as one might think.
“I bet Chase doesn’t have more than 120 races total under him. He’s always been in insufficient equipment until now. So to finally seem him in the best equipment, and to see him run so well, I’m not surprised. He’s always been smooth and fast…a natural.”
Briscoe’s crew chief, two-time Cometic Crew Chief of the Year Chad Bryant, was also on site assisting with Briscoe’s learning curve, as was Cunningham Motorsports team manager Paul Andrews. Andrews is crew-chiefing Snider in the 22.
“Today is all about two new drivers,” Andrews said. “Myatt’s only been in an ARCA car once…two days ago at Motor Mile (Speedway). He needs to learn how to save tires…how much he can abuse tires. Both cars unloaded good…both drivers are right there where they need to be. We’re just tuning on our drivers today.”
Bryant had a similar mindset.
“It’s more about the drivers today,” Bryant said. “We’re running a very similar package to what we did here last year…we’ll stick to what we know. We committed to the composite cars from Mobile on last year, and that’s paying off now…although the other teams are catching up now. Both these drivers are doing a really nice job here today.”
Snider had already been out for several runs by the time arcaracing.com circled back around.
“Car turned a little better that time,” Snider said. “We changed some stuff in the front-end. Hope we can do some long runs this afternoon. I’ve never had a long run in one of these cars.”
Beyond Toledo, Snider will set his sights on ARCA’s superspeedway world, with tests planned at both Pocono Raceway and Michigan Int’l Speedway in preparation for his ARCA superspeedway debut at Pocono in the General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 June 3.
“The main thing for me is getting acclimated to the intermediate tracks. We’ve got seven intermediates and two short tracks on our schedule.”
So serious is Snider regarding his ARCA program/opportunities with Cunningham Motorsports, the Charlotte, North Carolina driver is laying off of his 2016 late model program completely.
“My crew chief Jeff Caudill is coming with me this year to see if he can help out. We’re serious about our ARCA program. We’re all in.”
Snider’s father Marty Snider was not at the speedway Friday, but, according to Myatt, plans to be at the Menards 200 for his son’s debut at Toledo.
Expect more ARCA Racing Series teams to venture to Toledo in the coming week to test.
Don Radebaugh firstname.lastname@example.org