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Chase Briscoe headed to familiar turf on Springfield Mile Dirt?

TOLEDO, Ohio (August 10, 2016) - Championship leader Chase Briscoe has never raced a stock car on dirt before. However, save the stock car part and he's a pro. Briscoe cut his teeth on dirt, racing sprint cars across Indiana before he got his start with Cunningham Motorsports.

But, since all the ARCA tracks are new to the Mitchell, Indiana rookie, whether they're paved or packed with dirt, he's not exactly sure if he'll have an edge at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile dirt Sunday, August 21 in the 54th running of the Central Illinois 100 presented by Jive.

"I think if we could run up top, that'd be to my advantage, but I don't think Springfield races that way," said Briscoe.

"Springfield, based on what I've seen, runs more like pavement. Really excited for DuQuoin...running at night. If we can run up top, that'll be to my advantage.

"Springfield's going to rubber-up on the bottom so there's no use searching the race track, But DuQuoin, at night, depending on weather and how much water's in the track...that would be our opportunity to search out something that works better."

But first things first. Before we go under the lights at DuQuoin, Briscoe and his No. 77 Big Tine-Cunningham Motorsports team will have to figure out the Springfield Mile Dirt in the late summer afternoon heat.

"If I have a disadvantage it would be that I have a preconceived notion as to how the car should drive. All my dirt experience is in sprint cars where you really hang it out. I'm aware you can't do that in a 3,330-lb. ARCA car. You're talking about a 1,300-lb sprint car with 12 inches of (tire) stagger. I'm not sure there's a lot to compare...but if I have an advantage it's that I feel comfortable hanging it out on dirt. I feel like I may also have a better handle on recognizing certain track conditions...whether the track's rubbering-up or if it's greasy.

"We went last year and studied up. At Springfield, the fast guys were driving it in straight and kicking it out a little to make the straightaway longer...don't get too tight. The trick at DuQuoin is to drive it down on the bottom, float it to the top and make the straightaway as long as you can coming off."

Briscoe, whose dad Kevin Briscoe raced sprint cars across the Midwest, grew up watching his heroes run the Springfield and DuQuoin mile dirts.

"I don't know as much on the ARCA side...I know there are a lot of big name winners...but I know on the Silver Crown side about all the great winners. Way back when, Springfield and DuQuoin were where drivers got discovered. To be able to add my name to the list of winners would be cool beyond a doubt.

"Growing up a sprint car driver, winning on the mile dirts was as big as it gets. Never dreamed that my opportunity to run the mile dirts would be in a stock car, but either way, just being able to run the mile dirts is a privilege and an honor."

The last time that Cunningham Motorsports won at Springfield was back in 2009 when Parker Kligerman swept both mile dirts - Springfield and DuQuoin - in the 77 car.

Briscoe, who drives the 77 car, is a four-time winner in 2016 with victories at Winchester, Iowa, Lucas Oil and Pocono. He has a 450 championship points lead over Josh Williams headed to Springfield.

The 54th running of the 100, one of the capital city’s largest sporting events, takes center stage on the world’s fastest mile dirt track Sunday afternoon August 21 alongside the 164th annual Illinois State Fair, ongoing since 1853.

Some of the championship stock car winners at Springfield include Curtis Turner (’63), Don White (’66, ’67, ’72), Al Unser (’72), Jack Bowsher (’73), Roger McCluskey (’74), Ramo Stott (’76, ’77, ’80), AJ Foyt (’79), Joe Ruttman (’80), Dean Roper (’81, ’82, ’83, ’83, ’85, ’86), Bob Keselowski (’87, ’88, ’89, ’93), Bobby Bowsher (’91, ’92), Tim Steele (‘96, ’97), Ken Schrader (’98), Bill Baird (’99, ’04), Justin Allgaier (’06), Parker Kligerman (’09), Kimmel (’00, ’01, ’02. ’03, ’05, ’07, ’08, ‘12), and Kevin Swindell ('14). 100 Schedule

Practice for the 100 is scheduled from 9:00-10:00 a.m. with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 11:15. The 54th annual Central Illinois 100 starts at 1:30 p.m. All times are local.

Live on American Sports Network

The 100 will be live on the American Sports Network and will also stream live at will feature live timing and scoring and live chat of all on-track activity and a live chat box throughout the afternoon.

Don Radebaugh

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