● Event: Ruoff Mortgage 500k (Round 4 of 36) ● Time/Date: 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 6 ● Location: Phoenix Raceway ● Layout: 1-mile oval ● Laps/Miles: 312 laps/312 miles ● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 60 laps / Stage 2: 125 laps / Final Stage: 127 laps ● TV/Radio: FOX / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Notes of Interest
● Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), makes his third Phoenix start in the NASCAR Cup Series during Sunday’s Ruoff Mortgage 500. In the previous two, Briscoe has a best finish of 22nd earned last March. An accident on lap 153 in the season finale last November brought an early end to the rookie’s day and relegated the No. 14 team to a 35th-place finish. ● The 2021 Cup Series Rookie of the Year has one top-five so far this year, a series-best finish earned in the season-opening Daytona 500. Just last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Briscoe earned his best Cup Series qualifying effort after placing the No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford fourth on the grid for Sunday’s race. He ran as high as third and scored three bonus points with his eighth-place finish in the first stage before a series of incidents caused damage that brought his day to an early end. ● Through the first three races of 2022, Briscoe has an average starting position of 12.3 and average finish of 18, compared to an average start of 26th and finish of 23rd in as many races last season. In 2021, he led a total of 18 laps, which he has already bested with a total of 20 laps led following last weekend’s race at Las Vegas. Briscoe sits 14th in the driver standings, 39 points behind the leader. ● The 27-year-old driver from Mitchell, Indiana, has four career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the Phoenix mile oval and each resulted in top-10 finishes. His best is sixth, scored twice – March 2019 and 2020. He also made one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start there in November 2017, when he started eighth and finished fourth in his Ford F-150, securing his 13th career top-10. ● Mahindra Tractors, a brand of Houston-based Mahindra Ag North America, continues its journey west with the No. 14 Ford Mustang team. Part of Mahindra Group’s Automotive and Farm Sector, Mahindra Ag North America is the No. 1-selling farm tractor company in the world, based on volumes across all company brands. Mahindra farm equipment is engineered to be easy to operate by first-time tractor or side-by-side owners, and heavy duty to tackle the tough jobs of rural living, farming and ranching. Steel-framed Mahindra tractors and side-by-sides are ideal for customers who demand performance, reliability and comfort at a great value. Mahindra dealers are independent, family-owned businesses located throughout the U.S. and Canada. ● The longer the workday – or the race day – the more important comfort becomes. Mahindra Tractors offers many comfort features for its operators, including air suspension seats with extra cushioning. At the racetrack this season, guests of SHR will be able to experience that comfort for themselves as the No. 14 pitbox has been retrofitted with the Mahindra comfort seat.
Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Are you more comfortable with the NextGen heading into Phoenix since this was one of the tracks where you tested? “I think so. You just have a little more knowledge of what to expect. I still think there is plenty to learn. A race situation is a lot different than a testing or practice situation, but we’re starting off in a different place than we were the last two weeks at Fontana and Las Vegas. There’s a little bit of a notebook, but we’re still so early in the schedule we’re going to keep adding to it every race.” Despite the result at Las Vegas, the No. 14 team has had a strong start to the season. As a second-year driver, how does that help you overcome the tough days? “Our Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustangs have been so fast. Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) and the guys have done a great job putting together something strong before the weekend starts and we haven’t been far off when we get on track. There are still things we’ll figure out about the cars and what they can handle, but we’ve been up front consistently in these first few races and that helps a lot. I can look back and think about all the things that were going well before something happens and maybe last year I didn’t always have that. We weren’t running in the top-five before something happened or leading laps, and now I can look back and say, ‘OK, we were competitive before things started to take a turn. It’ll all come together.’ You’re seeing this with guys who don’t typically have those days, so I’m not concerned. There’s still a lot of racing left to do and I believe even more now that we have a team fully capable of making it to victory lane.”