TOLEDO, Ohio (Oct. 6, 2016) - It's no secret but it's worth crowing about just the same. Chase Briscoe, long ago, clinched the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell, and with it, the $10,000 top prize that comes at the year-end championship awards banquet at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis December 10.
Briscoe, driver of the No. 77 Big Tine Cunningham Motorsports Ford, has already earned six poles on the season, including his most recent at Kentucky Speedway where the Mitchell, Indiana rookie smashed the old record by nearly a second.
"That's probably the most memorable moment as far as the poles go," said Briscoe, "especially after all we went through."
Briscoe was referring to his crash in testing at Kentucky, one that required a complete overhaul on the car in short order to get it ready for the race later that same week.
"We still had issues with the car when we got there for the race, but we still went out and broke the track record. That pole award was a big victory for the whole team. That one felt really good."
But for Briscoe, they all feel good considering he's never considered qualifying his forte.
"To be honest, I have no idea where the qualifying comes from. When I raced sprint cars I was always one of the worst in qualifying. I'd start panicking behind the wheel before I went out. I would literally shake...I was a nervous wreck. How I got fairly good at it in a stock car I'm not completely sure.
"If anything, I'd say I don't feel like I'm on the edge in a stock car like you do in a sprint car. Honestly, I think racing sprint cars is what made me such a good qualifier. You're always on the edge, on the brink of turning over in every corner. I think the feel of being on the free side made me qualify so well on the stock car side."
At any rate, it didn't take Briscoe long to figure out he was a pretty good qualifier inside a stock car. In the second race of the season at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, he earned his career-first Menards Pole by Ansell with a new track record in his first Nashville attempt. Briscoe was back on pole at Salem Speedway next time out. Same thing at Toledo Speedway in May and Madison Int'l Speedway in mid-June.
"Madison was another one that really stood out to me. We struggled all day in practice...just couldn't figure it out, then we go and win the pole. That one's still a mystery. Unfortunately, we struggled in the race...I'm not sure how we got the pole there, but it was cool."
Briscoe also won the pole at Winchester Speedway where he earned his career-first ARCA Racing Series victory, holding off fellow SCOTT Rookie Dalton Sargeant in a late-race thriller. Winchester opened the gates for a string of consecutive wins that included Iowa, Lucas Oil, Pocono and Chicagoland. While Briscoe was stacking up victories in his win column, he took a breather on the pole awards before he came back at Kentucky with the new one-lap track record.
Briscoe will get one more opportunity for what would be his seventh pole award of the year in the season finale at Kansas Speedway coming Friday, October 14.
In addition to the $10,000 year-end prize, the Menards Pole presented by Ansell also provides a $1,000 per-event cash award to each pole winner.
Don Radebaugh firstname.lastname@example.org