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Richmond Advance



Event Overview

 

●  Event:  Richmond 400 (Round 7 of 36)

●  Time/Date:  7 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 31

●  Location:  Richmond (Va.) Raceway

●  Layout:  .75-mile oval

●  Laps/Miles:  400 laps/300 miles

●  Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 70 laps / Stage 2: 160 laps / Final Stage: 170 laps

●  TV/Radio:  FOX / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

    

Notes of Interest

 

●  Chase Briscoe comes into Richmond (Va.) Raceway on a streak of quiet consistency that emulates his overall history at the .75-mile oval. The driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Stewart-Haas Racing has had three straight finishes of 13th or better. He finished a season-best ninth March 10 at Phoenix Raceway and 13th March 17 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway before earning another 13th-place drive last Sunday at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. The runs have placed Briscoe a respectable 17th in the championship standings, just three points and one position away from the top-16 – the cutoff spot for the 10-race championship, which is still 20 races away. In the marathon that is the NASCAR Cup Series, consistency is key, and just as Briscoe has shown top-15 reliability in the early races of 2024, he’s been similarly reliable at Richmond across both the Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

 

●  Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond will mark Briscoe’s seventh career Cup Series start at the track. He has three finishes of 12th or better, including a pair of 11th-place drives, the most recent of which came last July in the series’ prior visit to Richmond.

 

●  In five career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Richmond between 2018 and 2020, Briscoe finished outside the top-16 only once, with three results of 11th or better. His best run came in September 2019, when he started fifth and finished fifth in his No. 98 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas.

 

●  The story of how HighPoint.com came together with Briscoe and Stewart-Haas is one that could’ve been scripted in Hollywood. In November of 2019, while walking to dinner after attending the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Kevin Briscoe was stopped by a stranger who noticed his No. 98 Stewart-Haas hat. The man was Mike Mendiburu, founder and CEO of HighPoint.com, and he said he was a big fan of Chase Briscoe, then a young NASCAR Xfinity Series driver from Mitchell, Indiana. Kevin informed Mendiburu that Chase was his son and the two carried on a conversation like they were old friends. The two walked away with Kevin accepting Mendiburu’s business card, just in case the Briscoes ever needed anything. Months passed and Chase Briscoe was told that he may not have a ride in the No. 98 for the 2020 season if funding couldn’t be found. So, Stewart-Haas was given Mendiburu’s information and an agreement was reached for HighPoint.com to sponsor Briscoe. That chance encounter in Las Vegas led to a nine-win season in 2020. In October of that year, midway through the playoffs, Briscoe arrived at Tony Stewart’s house in Indiana for what he thought was a discussion with his team owner about whether HighPoint.com would be returning as his sponsor for the next season. The group sat down for dinner and Briscoe, joined by his parents, was informed a decision had already been made – he would be leaving the No. 98 Xfinity Series program to become the next driver of the team’s No. 14 Cup Series entry, the car first driven by Stewart himself. “I wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for Mike and everyone at HighPoint.com,” Briscoe said. “Going into 2020, I was going to be done. They literally came in fourth quarter with 30 seconds left and kept things going. Without them, I think my career would’ve been over.”

 

●  Riding along with Briscoe this weekend at Richmond is HighPoint.com, a leading provider of technology infrastructure solutions. HighPoint has been a partner of Briscoe and Stewart-Haas since 2020 when the company supported Briscoe’s NASCAR Xfinity Series campaign, a collaboration that netted a season-best nine victories and earned Briscoe a promotion to the NASCAR Cup Series. HighPoint has climbed the NASCAR ladder with Briscoe and has helped Stewart-Haas maximize its IT investments. Said Briscoe about the partnership: “Even though we race stock cars, there’s nothing stock about what we do. The science of our cars is impressive, but the technology that goes into building our Ford Mustangs and then making them perform is even more advanced. Our IT needs are pretty complex, and we demand a lot from our technology every day, whether it’s at the shop or at the track. HighPoint provides efficiency and security. They’re more than just a sponsor – HighPoint is a partner that helps us perform.” As an IT Solutions Integrator focused on all things that connect, HighPoint helps its customers with the selection and supply of network infrastructure, mobility, collaboration, data center, security solutions and the risk-mitigated implementation and management of their technology. The company, founded in 1996, is a minority-owned business headquartered in Sparta, New Jersey. HighPoint serves markets in its nearby tri-state region (New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware) and the southeastern United States via its presence in Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as globally with offices in Amsterdam and London. To learn more about HighPoint’s solutions, please visit HighPoint.com.

 

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang 

 

The tire wear we saw in the last short-track race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway – did you like it or dislike it?

“I don’t really know how I feel about it, to be honest. I thought that it was definitely unique. I did like the fact that there was a little more strategy involved. And I even felt like, on the driver’s side, it put a little more in your hands instead of whoever had the best car was going to be really good. We probably don’t need it as drastic to where they just blow out, but I do think a good mix of that would be really cool to have, especially for the short-track races, for sure.”

 

It seemed like a return to old-school racing where tire management was the key to success. In all the racing that you’ve done in your career, was there a track or style of car where you had to manage your tires that you ended up relying on for that Bristol race?

“I’d never done any of that type of racing at any time in my career where you had to save tires. Everything I grew up doing was the complete opposite of that. But last year, I was able to run two Late Model Stock races, one at North Wilkesboro and one at Florence, South Carolina, and the Florence race, specifically, at the beginning of the race I remember we rode around quarter throttle just saving tires and it felt very similar to that. I texted the guy I drove for, Chad Bryant, after the Cup race and I was like, ‘Man, I was so glad I got to run those races because I would’ve been so lost without them.’ Definitely felt like it was a lot like that and I feel like you saw all those guys with Late Model experience run so well.”

 

How do you save your tires? You have to continue to race, but what is that balance between racing for the position you have now and the position you want to have later?

“It’s just a risk-versus-reward thing. You know you have to get to X-amount of laps. Tony (Stewart) actually told it to me that your tire is like a battery. You only have 100-percent battery at the beginning and every time you push it or use more energy or use more of that tire, you’re never getting that percentage back. You have to just understand what that risk versus reward is and if you feel like you can get a couple of spots and only use maybe eight percent of your tire wear, then maybe that’s worth it.”

 

Would you like to see that kind of tire fall-off at Richmond?

“For sure. Richmond, just naturally, has that fall-off and you definitely see a little bit more of that, in general. I wouldn’t mind it being a little bit more extreme, but you will just naturally see it at Richmond just because of how the racetrack is versus how a place like Bristol is, typically.”

 

If you had tire fall-off where the track still rubbered up, would you need 1,000 horsepower, or are you in the camp that wants both tire fall-off and more horsepower?

“If we can have both, might as well take it. If you have more horsepower, it’s just going to make things harder for the drivers. I think if the tire is where it normally is, then 1,000 horsepower only helps. But if we have a tire that lasts only 30 laps, then you might only use 600 horsepower, so you don’t really even need 1,000. It just depends on how the tire is and how the race is playing out. It’s different every week, so I’d say it’s what you have versus what you need.”

 

You had a good race at Phoenix and scored your best finish of the season, so far (ninth). Even though the Richmond oval is shorter, it embodies some of the same characteristics of Phoenix. Does that give you confidence and an idea of what to expect when you unload at Richmond?

“Just because you’re good at Phoenix doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at Richmond, and that’s because the track is so different. But I do think we’ve had a good short-track package the last year or two. Richmond’s been a place where we’ve been OK. We haven’t been great, but we definitely haven’t been terrible. I think we’ll be in the mix. If we can get our car a little bit better, then we’ll be right where we need to be. We’ve been able to run in the top-five up there, just haven’t been able to get that little bit extra that we need, so hopefully this time we’ll be able to do that.”

 

HighPoint is back on your car at Richmond, and it’s a good reminder that if it weren’t for HighPoint and its founder and CEO, Mike Mendiburu, your racing career may have ended in the Xfinity Series. How crucial was that support, and what’s your advice to someone who’s been grinding away and just needs a break to get to the next level?

“Without Mike and HighPoint, I’m definitely not in the Cup Series and my career probably would’ve been over in 2020. That was the year when I leaped up into the Cup Series. It’s always special for me to have the HighPoint colors on my car, just because of what that family’s done for me and what that company’s done for me. It’s just special every single time. My advice for someone grinding away trying to make it all work would be to just keep your eye on what you want to achieve because you never know when that opportunity’s going to come. There have been multiple times when I thought my career was over, and then another door opens. You just have to trust the process. It’s not always going to be open doors because there are going to be a lot of closed doors, but it just takes those few open doors that you get and being able to capitalize on them. Fortunately, I’ve been very blessed to be able to do that.”


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