● Event: Food City Dirt Race (Round 7 of 36) ● Time/Date: 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 28 ● Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway ● Layout: .533-mile dirt oval ● Laps/Miles: 250 laps / 125 miles ● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 75 laps / Stage 2: 75 laps / Final Stage: 100 laps ● TV/Radio: FOX / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Notes of Interest
● Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang, can often be found at the Millbridge Speedway dirt track in Salisbury, North Carolina on Wednesday nights with his mini sprint team. Sometimes he even climbs behind the wheel himself to prepare for one of the few dirt races he allows himself to compete in as he builds his NASCAR resume. But this weekend, Briscoe’s racing worlds come together as the NASCAR Cup Series returns to dirt at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for the Food City Dirt Race. ● Briscoe cut his teeth racing on the dirt tracks of Southern Indiana, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. The third-generation racer’s first time behind the wheel of a racecar came in 2001 driving a quarter midget. He won his first heat race and then won the feature event later that evening. Briscoe moved on to mini sprints and, when he was 13, stepped into a 410 sprint car. In his first race, he finished 10th in a 40-car field. ● That was 2008, his rookie 410 sprint car season in which he made 37 starts. Briscoe racked up eight top-five finishes and 17 top-10s, including a win in the last race of the season at Paragon Speedway, where he broke four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon’s record as being the youngest person to win a 410 sprint car race. Upon besting the NASCAR Hall of Famer’s record at the age of 13, Briscoe said, “It was pretty special to me to realize what I’d done, but I know I have to keep working. I don’t think about it a whole lot. I just go out every time like it’s just another race to try and win.” ● Briscoe made the transition to stock car racing at the age of 19, but he stuck to his roots by competing in a handful of dirt racing events each year, and he consistently added to the win column. In 2016, Briscoe competed in the Tulsa Shootout for Andy and Scott Bradley in the winged and non-winged mini sprint divisions. He won both features, picking up two of the event’s Golden Driller trophies to kick off a year that would see Briscoe earn six ARCA Racing Series wins en route to the series championship and Rookie of the Year honors. He also entered the Chili Bowl Nationals that same year driving a Haas Automation-branded car owned by his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Cole Custer. ● Each year since 2015, Briscoe has competed in the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In his most recent outing this past January, he advanced to the B-Feature during the final night of racing and finished eighth after starting 17th. ● Chase’s grandfather, Richard Briscoe, is a legendary sprint car team owner, crew chief and car builder who over time has fielded entries for 37 different drivers, including such renowned wheelmen as Chuck Amati, Dave Blaney, Dick Gaines, Jack Hewitt, Steve Kinser and Rich Vogler. Chase’s father, Kevin Briscoe, raced sprint cars for more than 20 years and won more than 150 feature events. He claimed track championships at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana, and Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway five times, including one streak of three in a row. ● This weekend will also mark Briscoe’s return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. For the first time since 2019, he will compete in Saturday’s Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt in the No. 04 Huffy Bicycles/Tex-A-Con Cut Stone Ford F-150 for Roper Racing. Briscoe made three Truck Series starts on the dirt track at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. He finished no worse than seventh in each and earned the win in the 2018 event, starting from third and leading a total of 54 laps en route to capturing the event’s Golden Shovel trophy in his only Truck Series start of the season in the No. 27 Ford. ● Six races into his first fulltime NASCAR Cup Series season, Briscoe leads the Rookie of the Year standings by 30 points over Anthony Alfredo. With Rookie of the Year honors in the Truck Series (2017) and Xfinity Series (2019), Briscoe is looking to join Erik Jones and William Byron as only the third driver in history to claim the title in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series.
Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You are the rookie Cup Series driver for SHR and have been going through quite the learning process, but now you get to race on dirt, something that is more in your comfort zone. Is this a dirt guy’s race to win? “It’s going to be a unique race. The dirt guys, to some extent, will have a little bit of an advantage but, once the track goes away, once it starts to rubber up, it’s going to be more like a pavement race. I think the only advantage a dirt guy really has is they’re able to read the dirt and kind of know which lanes are starting to change and where we need to be running at certain times of the race. But all of the guys in the Cup Series are really good drivers. Guys like Kevin Harvick, they’re going to figure it out and they’re going to be fast. We might be a little better early in the day when it’s elbows up and you really have to pitch the car around, but I wouldn’t consider myself a favorite. I’d like to be in the hunt by the end of it.” You have a history of winning the first event on tracks like the Roval and the Indianapolis road course. Do you believe you can add to that list this weekend and add another stock car win on dirt to your resume? “It would be great to be able to do that. I don’t know what it is about new tracks. I guess it’s because it’s more of a level playing field and we’re all just trying to figure it out. Our cars don’t drive like dirt cars at all, but being able to figure it out and win the Eldora Truck Series race certainly helps my cause. The truck on dirt is more similar to what we’re going to be doing compared to running a sprint car or midget to prepare. I by no means expect to be the best guy out there – there are so many strong competitors in the Cup Series – but it is a great opportunity to go out, run well and potentially lock into the playoffs. I know my team is putting a lot of emphasis on that race because of my dirt background. Hopefully I can use that to my advantage and be around at the end of it.” We know you had aspirations of making it to NASCAR, but did you ever dream you would get to run a Cup car on dirt? “When the Eldora Truck Series race started, I felt like it was a possibility that the Cup Series would potentially get a dirt race, but I’d be the first one to tell you that I didn’t think it would happen at Bristol. I figured we would just go to a dirt track that we already had. For them to do it at Bristol, I can’t imagine how hard that is from a facility standpoint of bringing all that dirt in and all of these things for three weekends of racing, but I’m super excited. I think the Cup Series has needed the dirt race for a really long time. All the drivers have a way to kind of tie back into our grassroots and dirt guys never really had that. We have a short track, we have a road course, we have an intermediate, we have a superspeedway, but we never had a dirt track and, at least as a fan, I’ve always wanted to see the Cup Series drivers challenged in every single discipline. We finally have that now with the dirt race, so I can’t wait to be a part of it. I’m just excited as a fan to see it, as well.” You’ve had plenty of career moments in your relatively short stock car career – ARCA champion, Rookie of the Year in ARCA, the Truck Series and Xfinity Series, nine Xfinity Series wins in a single season. You’ve also got a few notable stats as a dirt racer, the earliest of which was in 2008, your first full season racing 410 sprint cars. At 13 years old, you broke Jeff Gordon’s record as the youngest driver to win in a 410 sprint car. Did you realize then what an accomplishment that was? “At the time, I think I knew it was an accomplishment but it wasn’t something I thought about constantly. I had more work to do. I had watched my grandpa win all these races with guys like Jack Hewitt and Steve Kinser, and my dad had won a ton. I just wanted to do what they were doing. Getting that win meant that I was following in their footsteps and adding to the family’s racing history. That’s what we did. Now when I look back, yeah, it’s a special thing. The further I get in my NASCAR career, the more I realize the significance in those little moments. I don’t take any of them for granted. I’m blessed to have an opportunity to race, and I know each time one of those moments happens that it could be the last. I want to advance my career and race for years to come, and of course things like that help, but it’s just a moment.”