Thursday, Feb 02

Ford Performance NASCAR: Chase Briscoe Making All-Star Debut This Weekend

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang – HOW WAS YOUR OUTING WITH THE F1 HAAS DRIVERS THE OTHER DAY?  “Yeah, it was super cool.  We had a deal over at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where we had a two-seater from an old Cup car, I guess the Old Gen, and then the Ford Racing School had a lot of their vehicles out there and had the two Haas guys – Schumacher and Magnussen – and I drove them around in the two-seater for two or three laps each, and then they actually got in and drove each other around.  The rest of the day we just drove around Haas employees and the Ford Performance Racing School cars and had a lot of fun.  It was super cool for me to meet those guys.  I got to meet Mick last year.  He came to the Texas race and got to hang out with him for a couple minutes, and then to see how good they were – you think of Formula 1 guys, they’re some of the best race car drivers in the world, obviously, and to see how quickly they adapted to the stock car blew me away.  I hope that they come and try to do a race.  It was funny.  They were asking all kinds of questions and just how different both racing series are, and the differences and how they officiate them and the racetracks and things like that was pretty crazy to hear their side of it.  They were both really good.  They were only like two or three seconds off what I ran, so they were really good right out of the box.  It would be cool to see them run a race some day.”


WHAT DO YOU EXPECT ON SUNDAY IN THE ALL-STAR RACE?  “I would agree that the mile-and-a-halves have been really good this year.  Texas is kind of its own unique animal.  The other mile-and-a-halves we’ve ran they all have multiple grooves where you can run all over the place.  You can run up by the wall.  You can run the middle.  You can run on the bottom, where Texas is definitely a lot more one-lane dominant, so it’ll be a little bit of a different race just from that standpoint because there’s not as many options to go and get in clean air.  I think the draft will be a little more relevant here just because of the speeds and everything else.  I don’t think you’ll see guys really searching around for lanes as much just because I do think it’s gonna be a lot harder with this car in general at Texas, but also just how the racetrack is.  It’ll be interesting.  It’s two totally different ends.  You have the one end that’s really slow and kind of flat on entry and then you have the other end that’s extremely fast in one lane and pretty close to wide-open, so just how the car handles in both of those corners is totally different and it’ll be interesting to see how this Next Gen car reacts to that.”


DID YOU EVER WISH TO RUN THE INDY 500?  “Truthfully, I never had Indy car necessarily on my to-do list, I guess.  I always watched the Indy 500 every single year since I was a little kid, but outside of the 500 I normally didn’t watch a lot.  I was always more NASCAR, so that was kind of always what I wanted to do, but I will say the Indy 500 I always tell people when they ask this question is I just want to be a start-and-park guy.  I want to do the pre-race.  I want to do the walk out.  I want to do the pace lap.  I want to take the green flag and then I want to pull it down pit road.  I don’t know, truthfully, if I’m as brave as those guys are and willing to risk what they risk.  It’s funny, I became pretty good buddies with a couple of them.  Connor Daly is one of them and he acts like it’s nothing.  He thinks I’m crazy for getting in a sprint car, but I think the opposite.  Hitting the wall at 230 is just something that I could not imagine, so, yeah, I would love to start-and-park one day.  This would be the perfect year.  There are only 32 cars entered, so I could just show up on race day, do the pre-race and take the green and go home, but, outside of that, as of right now, I don’t have any desire to race the race, but I’m a huge fan and Indy is special for a lot of reasons and I know on Sunday next week I’ll definitely be watching as long as I can.”


IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT THIS NEW CAR THAT YOU’VE HAD TO RE-WIRE HOW YOU DRIVE A CAR AND HAS CHALLENGED YOU IN THAT WAY?  “I haven’t felt like it’s a ton different, to be honest with you.  I feel like it’s still a race car.  It still does a lot of the same things.  On the road courses I felt like maybe when I got decent on the road courses is when I started maximizing the brake zones in the old car and this car you can just do that a lot better, so I guess just how you drive with the brake pedal on the road courses would be the biggest thing that I kind of have to retrain myself, but truthfully, with the IMSA stuff I’ve done, it’s kind of similar to that and that feel, so I wouldn’t say that I’ve had as much muscle memory to re-learn or forget about the past.  It’s funny, when we did that deal with the F1 guys that was an H-pattern and I was kind of nervous before I got in and then as soon as I got in it was like normal.  The following Sunday running the sequential and never had any issues either, where I know Harvick said he missed a shift this past weekend, so, for me, I haven’t had any issues – knock on wood – where it’s kind of like that, but it is different, I think, for the guys that have done it for a long time and trying to retrain themselves with a lot of those things, but, for me, it’s been relatively the same.”


WITH THE NEW CAR, HOW DOES THAT CHANGE WHAT A DRIVER NOW DOES ON A RESTART?  “It’s definitely a little bit different.  I feel like this car doesn’t create as big of a hole on restarts from an aero standpoint.  The old car with that 500 package, it would just create such a huge hole that you’d get such big runs on restarts and you could gain six, seven spots on a straightaway.  It was just different how it responded down the straightaway, where this car doesn’t necessarily seem to have that as much, so this car, I feel like the old car you would maybe sometimes gain two or three rows on lane choice even on some of these mile-and-a-halves because guys didn’t want to be on the bottom on the straightaway.  With this new car it seems like everybody takes inside out, it’s back and forth and you don’t really get that huge row gain like you used to be able to with the old car.  So, I feel like you have to be a little more aggressive in this car just because it seems like obviously restarts is the easiest time to get the positions and then after that it gets pretty aero sensitive, so, for me, I feel like you just have to be a little more aggressive and kind of have things go your way on these restarts to gain four, five, six spots.”


HOW MUCH DAMAGE DID YOU GET GOING THROUGH THE GRASS AT KANSAS AND WOULD IT HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT IN THE PREVIOUS CAR?  “I was blown away truthfully with whenever I knew I was spinning out to the infield, obviously, it had rained a ton that day and that night I figured it was gonna cave the nose in right away and just ruin our day, and there was some damage.  I think the diffuser, they said, a little part of it was bent over and then the biggest thing is it lifted the whole front of the car up a couple hundred-thousandths and we were pretty tight the rest of the day, so it definitely affected us because I was loose before that.  When I spun out and then after that the whole day we were extremely tight, so it definitely seems like with this car, for us at least, is just so extremely aero sensitive.  Literally, a quarter turn to a half turn can completely change how the car drivers and with the damage that we had just raising the nose a little bit really just changed how the car drove all day long.”


HOW BIG OF A DEAL IS IT FOR YOU TO BE LOCKED INTO THE ALL-STAR RACE FOR THE FIRST TIME?  “It’s a big deal.  Obviously, the stipulations getting into that race as far as not having to run the Open means you’re a playoff guy or you won a race, so just to be able to say that you’re one of those guys, I think there are 20 of us in it right now – that’s half the field, so to be able to say you’re one of those guys is a big deal.  It’s definitely a who’s who of guys that are in that race.  It’s all the bigger names in the sport, so to be a part of that is definitely special and humbling and just to not have the stress of going through the Open is nice.  Last year was kind of a thing where you’ve got to go for it and if you didn’t make it you were going home early, so not having that stress will be nice and just being a part of the festivities that come along with it.”


GATEWAY IS COMING UP FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH THE CUP CARS.  YOU FINISHED SECOND THERE IN THE TRUCK SERIES, SO WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THAT TRACK AND DOES IT GIVE YOU EXTRA CONFIDENCE?  “Yeah, I do think that track will race a little bit like Phoenix, just from what the car does.  You’re gonna be downshifting a lot.  When I ran there it was before they repaved it for the Indy car guys, so it was honestly rough and pretty abrasive and now it’ll probably race totally different, but I’m excited to go there.  It was a lot of fun when I ran there in the trucks.  It’s just a really unique racetrack from how opposite that both ends drive.  Your car is never gonna drive good in one of the corners, so you’ve got to figure it out and adapt and I’ve always enjoyed places like that for that reason, so I’m looking forward to it.  I remember going there in the Truck Series and having a huge crowd.  I’m sure it’ll be sold out for the Cup car and it’ll be a really fun weekend.  They’ve got a lot of cool stuff going on with some concerts and things, and on top of that all of the dirt racing they’re gonna have it should be an awesome weekend.  It’s probably the second-closest race to my hometown, so I’m looking forward to it for sure.”


SO YOU ARE RUNNING THE DIRT RACE LEADING INTO GATEWAY?  “Yeah.  My plan is to run the Flo Night race in the late model on Wednesday and then I’m gonna run the sprint car, I think it’s World of Outlaw late models Friday.  I’m gonna run both of those, but I didn’t realize until this past weekend that I guess we practice until 6 o’clock at night on Friday, so I’ve got to figure out how I’m gonna get there.”


ARE YOU GOING TO RUN THE EXTREME DIRT SERIES AT MILLBRIDGE LEADING UP TO THE COKE 600?  “Yeah, I’ll be there Monday and Tuesday.  It looks like we’re not gonna get stuck in Texas for rain or anything, so I plan to be there Monday and Tuesday in the midget.  If any of you guys are in the Charlotte area, definitely come out to Millbridge.  There will be 40-50 midgets – the same cars we run at the Chili Bowl with a lot of the big names, so it should be an awesome show over there.  I’m definitely looking forward to getting back in the midget and running over there.”


DO YOU THINK THEY COULD HAVE A THURSDAY NIGHT THUNDER TYPE OF PROGRAM AT MILLBRIDGE WITH THEIR DIRTVISION CONNECTION?  “Yeah, I mean I think what they’ve done with the mini-sprint class is pretty unbelievable.  I want to say they started two years ago and they were getting maybe seven or eight cars and now they’re getting 40-45 every week.  I actually mentioned to Jeremy and Ashley that I would love for them to start a special midget race once a month because there is already realistically 9 to 10 midgets in the area.  I think Larson, Bell, myself, we would all go run over there, especially if it was in a midget every chance we could.  I would love to see them maybe do it once a month or once every other month.  I know from a purse standpoint it costs a lot more to run the midget guys, but it would be cool.  The micro deal has really taken off and to give these micro kids more opportunities to run bigger cars and just get bigger cars in the area, I think, would be really special.”


WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON FORD’S PERFORMANCE ON MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS THIS YEAR?  “I don’t know if the other manufacturers have just caught up and found a lot of speed or what, but Fontana – it’s not a mile-and-a-half, but it races a lot like one.  We led 60-some laps and felt like I could have been in the hunt to win the race and made a mistake.  Then we go to Vegas and qualified fourth and ran up front.  We had a tire go down and I felt really, really good about our mile-and-a-half stuff, but then Kansas was a real struggle for us.  I don’t know why that is.  It wasn’t just a struggle for us, it was obviously a struggle for all the Ford teams, so I don’t know.  I wish I did because it’s definitely something that we’re all kind of scratching our heads and truthfully the Fords have not been off, but we just haven’t been as fast as we were at the beginning of the year the last two, three, four weeks, so I think we’re all trying to figure out what happened and where to find that speed again.  That’ll be interesting to see if this week at Texas if we can find anything that honestly leading into the Coke 600.  That’s definitely a race you don’t want to be off because it’s a long night if you are.”


DOES IT MATTER IF THEY PUT RESIN ON THE TRACK OR NOT?  DO YOU NEED TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME?  “Yeah, I think it’s nice to know, just so you can kind of get an idea of what to expect.  I was on the simulator this morning and we were running where there wasn’t any, so that’s kind of what we are anticipating.  I think I heard they were gonna maybe test the track today as far as testing grip levels and seeing what they thought, but I think it’s nice to know going in, but I think at the same time Michigan last year we didn’ spray and there was still some left over and it was fine.  You could still run up in it.  I think Texas will probably be the same.”


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNGER CHASE BRISCOE ABOUT LIFE IN RACING?  “I would say never in a million years thought I would get to this point in the first place, but just to enjoy the moment and not to get so caught up in the stress of it all.  I think that it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and the results, but, at the same time, just to stay appreciative and stay humble to where you’re at.  It’s so easy, like I said, to get worried about the points and things like that, but, at the end of the day, just enjoying where you’re at.”


WHAT IS IT LIKE DRIVING TONY’S CAR?  “It’s awesome.  It’s nerve-wracking at times to have him as a boss.  Just to be around your hero to say that you get to have him as a friend, but, yeah, there’s definitely a lot of pressure – for me at least there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that 14 car because I was a fan of it, the success that it had on the track that I watched growing up and I want to carry that legacy on of dirt guys running in it and still going and racing other things, but, yeah, it’s cool.  If I could have picked any car in the Cup Series to drive, that would have been the one and to be able to say I get to drive that car for my hero, it’s super special, super humbling and it’s cool that we got it in victory lane this year, but hopefully we can do it a lot more.”

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