Hampton, Ga. (Feb. 24, 2018) – Roush Fenway Racing driver Chase Briscoe began his NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) career with a solid 15th place run. The rookie driver started the race from the 18th position after working throughout the weekend to acclimate himself to the difference in handling between his No. 60 Ford Performance Mustang and his previous asphalt experience.
“Overall, it was a really good learning experience,” said Briscoe. “You obviously want to win every race you get in, but you have to be realistic when you come to this level. It’s probably not gonna happen the first time you get in the thing, and this was probably the toughest track that I’ll get to run this year as far as tires and the way you’re slipping and sliding around – physically too. I feel like this was a really good thing for me to come and run this race and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. I’ve got to get better and we’ll find some more speed in the cars as we go along and start to learn each other, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Briscoe and crew chief Mike Kelley worked all weekend on the handling of the Mustang, with the race marking Briscoe’s first appearance in an NXS car and just his 49th race on an asphalt surface ever. He would advance to the second round of qualifying Saturday morning in Atlanta, ultimately qualifying 18th.
The start of the 163-lap event saw Briscoe continue to adapt to the new body style after spending the previous season in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series. He would lose several positions on the initial start before getting a feel for the track and settling into the 20th position. A caution on lap 35, just before the conclusion of Stage 1, saw teams take a variety of strategies. Briscoe stayed on the race track but his old tires succumbed to the field and he finished the first Stage of the race in the 22nd position.
Briscoe restarted for the second Stage 25th, and as his on-track experience accumulated lap by lap he began to push forward through the field. The Indiana native finished the second stage 14th, and held his ground there until the closing laps of the race when his Ford Mustang began to get looser and looser. Briscoe finished the race in the 15th position.
The No. 60 will return to action next week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Austin Cindric will return to the car. Briscoe makes his next start in the 60 April 7 at Texas Motor Speedway.