Thursday, Aug 18

Ford Performance NASCAR: Chase Briscoe Racing In Front of Hometown Fans This Weekend

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang -- WHAT’S IT LIKE COMING BACK HERE TO INDIANA?  MAYBE GET SOME REVENGE FROM LAST YEAR?  “Yeah, hopefully.  It’s nice to be home.  Every other weekend I feel like I’ve got to get my GPS out just to figure out where I’m going, but this place I obviously know where I’m going.  It’s nice to be home.  I’ve got a lot of family here and a lot of friends here this weekend, so it was definitely close last year.  Hopefully, we can seal the deal this year.  I’m just excited to be home.  I’m gonna stay up here throughout the week after and just drive up to Michigan.  I’m looking forward to being up here finally.  I’ve had this one circled on the calendar for a long time and I’m just glad it’s finally here.”

 

DO YOU FIND YOURSELF RACING ANY DIFFERENT WITH A WIN ALREADY THIS YEAR?  “I feel like I run the same.  I feel like our strategy has kind of changed a little bit.  Like last year here, for example, we had to win the race to try to get into the playoffs, so we just did whatever was best strategy-wise for that, where now with our points situation we’re still trying to win but our strategy may not put us in the best situation to win the race at the end.  I think that’s really the only thing that changes this time around versus last year and having that win now versus not having one.  Hopefully, we have a good weekend, but I don’t feel like I drive any different just because I have a win.  I feel like it’s kind of been the same the whole time.”

 

THE TRACK SAID CUP WILL STAY ON THE ROAD COURSE FOR THE NEAR FUTURE.  WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?  “I’ve always said the same thing every time.  I just want to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, whether it’s the oval, the road course, the dirt track over there.  I mean, even the quarter-midget kids in the parking lot, you drive through the same tunnel either way, so I just want to race at Indianapolis.  From of course a prestige standpoint and a history standpoint, yeah, I would love to win on the oval, but just because I won on the road course a couple years ago I still won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway so, for me, I don’t think it really changes a whole lot, but I do think the road course puts on a really good race, but I think with this new car maybe five years from now let’s run the oval one time just to see what the fan turnout is and how the race is.  For me, I just want to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, like I said, whether it’s the oval, the road course, the dirt track – whatever.  If they’re racing, I want to run it.  For me, I don’t have a preference one way or the other.  I just want to race here, but from a history standpoint I think, yeah, everybody will say the oval means a little bit more to win at, but you still won at Indianapolis one way or the other.”

 

HAVE YOU RE-WATCHED LAST YEAR’S RACE?  “I don’t have to watch it.  I know what happened.  Yeah, for me, I think there’s a lot of takeaways from last year.  I felt like that was the one race that kind of changed my confidence level, just knowing that I was capable of performing at this level – leading laps and battling for a win.  But, yeah, I haven’t watched the race back.  I’ve seen the highlight a couple times, but I haven’t watched the race back going into this weekend or anything like that.  I’ve tried to forget about it, truthfully, so I haven’t watched it back, but I definitely can remember a lot of that race, for sure.”

 

SO YOU DON’T LOOK AT THIS AS REDEMPTION?  “Not for that reason.  I feel like I come here differently every year.  I was talking to Tony about it one time.  It seems like whenever Indiana, if you’re from Indiana – at least for me, speaking and I feel like Tony was the same way – you just rise to this different occasion for whatever reason.  I wish I could harness that every other weekend of the year, but you just have so much pressure – not pressure like from anybody – it’s just like pressure on yourself.  You as an Indiana guy want to perform here and it seems like the fans really get behind having an Indiana guy at Indianapolis.  For me, I feel like I definitely put a little more emphasis on this race from just an internal pressure side, but I’m not coming here with revenge.  I will say that this whole week I’ve been determined.  I want to win every practice, every qualifying.  Between Xfinity and Cup just coming to Indy you want to do that as an Indiana guy.  I don’t know.  There’s no revenge from last year.  I just put a lot of pressure on myself every time I come here to perform.”

 

KURT IS MISSING HIS SECOND STRAIGHT RACE.  AS A DRIVER, HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ANY DATA OR ANYTHING THAT COMES OUT OF CRASHES LIKE THAT?  “First off, I just hope Kurt gets back to the racetrack.  Obviously, we miss him.  He’s an awesome competitor.  For me, I don’t know.  Do I really want to know?  I think there’s times I would like to know, but at the same time it’s probably better off not knowing, either.  I think you do need to think about that a little bit, especially since I hopefully have a lot of years left.  The safer the car is the better and I think NASCAR has done a great job of trying to get it better.  I don’t think they’d put out a product that was worse.  I think this car is gonna take time to figure out when it hits in certain situations and there’s gonna be times where we’re gonna constantly evolve.  I mean, we’ve changed quite a bit on this car already and as we get more data points we can take away from those and hopefully make it better every time, but, truthfully, until we crash it hard a couple times it’s gonna take a set of data points to find out what we need to do different.  It’s unfortunate that we have to do that, but that’s the truth of it, I feel like.  For me, I don’t really care to see them.  If I crash big, OK, yeah I’d like to know how many g-forces it was or whatever, but, to be honest with you, the numbers I don’t really know what I’m looking at anyway, so it’s not like it’s gonna make a huge difference for me.”

 

WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR YOU LIKE IN MITCHELL, INDIANA?  “The truth is I don’t get home often, other than Christmas.   I will say it’s cool to see, like ever since I started to run ARCA, it was mind-blowing how many people were into it just because I was from there.  I think that’s one reason why I put a lot of pressure on myself whenever I come here.  There’s a lot of people that honestly probably aren’t even race fans, but they want to come and support me because it’s an hour away and I want to make them enjoy it.  I do think that it’s pretty special coming from a small town.  You just have that support.  If I was from Indianapolis, for example, there are just so many people that a lot of people wouldn’t even care probably, but being from Mitchell and I think it’s a population of 3000 maybe, it’s a lot cooler for the small town side.  We had Gus Grissom, who was an astronaut.  Terry Cole, who was a football player.  Hopefully, I can maybe be one of those names up there with them because in Mitchell that was a huge name.  So, yeah, I definitely think it’s humbling for sure, just the support not only from Mitchell truthfully, but just the whole county of Lawrence County has really gotten behind me and I’m definitely appreciative of it.”

 

DID YOU GO TO BLOOMINGTON SPEEDWAY MUCH?  “I lived at Bloomington.  I flagged right there on the frontstretch, front row.  It seemed like that was my dad’s best track.  I felt like I was always taking a picture on the front straightaway.  I mean, I pretty much lived at Bloomington Speedway every Friday night.  I remember, it came up on my Facebook Memories just this week, the Indiana Sprint Week is going on this week and they’re at Bloomington tonight and I put,  it was like 12 years ago,  the Indiana Sprint Week show at Bloomington tonight is my version of the Indy 500 or the Daytona 500.  That’s how much Bloomington meant to me, so, yeah, I was trying to go down there tonight to make it, but, yeah, I went to Bloomington Speedway all the time.  That was really where I grew up.”

 

WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU CAME HERE AS A KID?  “The first time I came here was, actually it was across the street from the tunnel – that Speedway Shop right there.  Jim Bob Luger owned it and that’s where I got my first race uniform when I was seven years old.  I remember going over there, getting my uniform and then we came in here and drove around and saw it.  And then my first race I came to I think I was probably about 10, but, yeah, I got my first-ever race uniform literally right there across the street.  We just sold it a couple months ago, so it’s kind of reminiscent.  When I was pulling in here I was telling my mom and my wife.  My mom remembered going.  She’s like, ‘I remember how excited you were and how special that day was,’ so we definitely got a lot of connections to this place.  I’ve probably been here for twenty-something races as a spectator.”

 

WAS YOUR FIRST RACE AN INDY 500 OR BRICKYARD 400?  “My first race was an Indy 500 and then I came to the Brickyard the next probably six years in a row.  I know I came from the 94th to the 99th running of the 500 and then I missed the 100th and I’m still mad I did it.  I’ve never seen this place 100 percent sold out and I know that 100th was and then now I can’t get up here, obviously, for the month of May, so hopefully maybe one day I can get up here.”

 

DO YOU GET BUTTERFLIES EVERY TIME YOU PULL IN HERE?  “Yeah, for sure.  I mean, even like all week I’ve just been excited to get back to Indy.  Even when I got off the plane I felt like I was back home.  Literally, as soon as my foot hit the ground I was like, ‘All right, it’s go time.  We’re here.’  I’ve been waiting for this week all year long, so I think for sure there are butterflies every time you come here, but I tell everybody all the time if you grew up racing or in motorsports, you dream of getting to come to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and to have the privilege for that to be your hometown track and come here as a kid watching races, to me, it just makes it even more special.  I think every driver in the field this weekend will tell you it’s special to be able to be here, but when you grow up literally an hour away and came here all the time as a kid it just makes it even more special.  I got to see my heroes run around this place and dreamed of being on the other side of the catch fence and now I’m the guy on the racetrack that people are here watching, so it’s definitely special.”  

 

IF IT COMES TO A LATE-RACE RESTART DOES THAT INSIDE-OUTSIDE LANE REALLY TAKE OVER YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS?  “If I’m the leader, I’m for sure taking the inside just because if you’re the guy on the outside I feel like you’re at a huge disadvantage.  Even last year when that happened I was rolling around under caution and I told myself ‘you’re probably gonna get run off and as soon as you do just go wide-open through the grass and get it back.’  That’s why I think when it happened I had already had that plan because I knew it was probably coming anyways.  I think, for me, if I was in the lead at the end I’m for sure gonna take the inside just because I think you can control it better, but, yeah, it’s definitely a tight corner down there – how it comes up and especially at the end of the race everybody is driving in there farther than they have all day trying to get something, so I think hopefully we’re in that situation on the front row again at the end of the race.  But if I have the choice, I’m definitely gonna take the inside.”

 

HOW WOULD YOU GRADE THE NEXT GEN CAR ON ROAD COURSES THIS YEAR?  “It’s hard because I have a different perspective.  I’m just driving the 14 car.  I’m not watching the whole race.  Like, for us, I thought the first race was awesome because we had really good speed and the last two we’ve kind of struggled, but I do think this car definitely does a lot of things different.  It does a lot of things better.  This week I think I’ll get probably the truest perspective I’ve had just running both cars.  The Xfinity car is pretty similar to what we had in Cup before and just seeing truthfully how much worse it does everything than the Next Gen car, I think, will be a little bit eye-opening.  On Thursday, I went to the simulator for the Xfinity car and I couldn’t believe how bad it was, like out of control and didn’t want to stop.  You get kind of spoiled in the Next Gen car because it does do a lot of things really, really well.  I think this place will be unique because it is totally different.  The tires wear out a little different than other places we go, so hopefully we’ll be slipping and sliding a little bit more in the Next Gen car, but it definitely is gonna be different.  I think you’re gonna have to learn a whole new racetrack, even though we’ve been here, just because every time we go to Next Gen it’s so opposite that it’s hard to really take anything away from it.”

 

WHAT IS YOUR EVALUATION OF HOW THE NEXT GEN CAR PERFORMS?  “I think, for me, I would say the car has honestly done way better than I expect.  I think when we all did that open test at Charlotte in October it was pretty scary.  Like, we couldn’t get within 40 car lengths of each other and NASCAR did an incredible job of going to work and honestly listening to the drivers of kind of giving them ideas to go try.  I think the mile-and-a-half racing has probably been the best it has ever been.  We can get really close to each other.  We can just move around a whole lot more.  The short track side has been the side that I feel like has struggled a little bit and I think that’s surprising to all of us and we’re trying to do what we can to make it better.  I think this car has out-performed my expectations.  I still think there are things it could do better, but I was terrified hearing stories leading into that first test of just how hard they are to drive and how different it’s gonna be.  Honestly, it’s still a race car.  It’s still got gas, brake, steering wheel.  It still does a lot of the same things the old car did, it just does them a little bit different and you have to figure it out.  For me, I’d give it a B-plus.  I think it could be better obviously on some race tracks, but it does a lot of things a lot better than I thought it was going to and I think the racing has been a lot better than I thought it was gonna be.”

 

ANY SPECIFIC CHANGE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE?  “I don’t think you can change the aero side.  It’s just weird because the mile-and-a-halves, where the air is normally the biggest is where we have the least issues, but then you go to a short track and even a road course, the aero plays in and it seems like the slower speeds we go, the worse the aero is and you’re never gonna get rid of aero.  It’s always gonna be there, so I think as we change things with this car and figure out what works for it, I think it’ll be better.  But I would say that would be the biggest thing is just figuring out how to make the short tracks better because that is an area where we always have great TV numbers.  The races are always awesome and I don’t want to lose that.”

 

THERE ARE FIVE RACES TO GO AND WITH KURT MISSING HIS SECOND RACE YOU PROBABLY HAVE MORE WIGGLE ROOM AT THE BOTTOM.  DO YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOUR PLAYOFF POSITION AT THIS POINT?  “Unfortunately, because of Kurt, it definitely makes it a little bit better for us.  I don’t want to be in that situation because Kurt has run better than us.  He deserves it if it comes down to it to be in, but I think, for us, it’s getting a little easier if we can get through these next couple weeks.  There’s just a lot of unknowns and there’s really only four guys that winning would hurt us.  Everybody else is so far below us in points, we’d probably be OK, but two of them are my teammates and then Blaney and Truex, if those four guys win, that’s where we get in trouble, so I don’t know.  I just need to get through the next three weeks without a new winner and then I’ll feel a lot better about it, and then if we can just maximize these next couple weeks, and I think there are two guys within 15 points of us, so then Kurt missing makes it a little bit easier as well.  The stress level is still there, for sure, but it’s not as bad now.  If one of those guys wins this weekend, it’ll be a lot worse, but so far I feel good about it and, truthfully, if we win this weekend it doesn’t matter so that’s what we’re gonna try to do.”

 

ARE YOU RUNNING THE MIDGET RACE?  “Absolutely, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”


WHAT’S THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS LOOK LIKE?  “It’s definitely gonna be a busy week.  We’re running the Xfinity race tomorrow, practice today.  I’m gonna go to IRP tonight, just to support that place and then run the Cup race Sunday.  I’ll go to Cummins on Monday and then on Tuesday go to Ohio for a Huffy appearance, and then Wednesday and Thursday race at the dirt track and Friday morning drive up to Michigan, so try to see some family in between all that.  And then on Saturday night I’m gonna go over to my cousin’s house.  The whole family is coming over, doing dinner, so it’ll be a busy couple days, but it’s all worth being back home and just being back in a place that’s familiar, being with people that are really close to me and I’m definitely looking forward to the dirt race over there.  That’s one of my favorite races of the year and the racing is unbelievable and then just in honor of Bryan Clauson, who, in my opinion, was one of the greatest of all-time.  To have that race in honor of him at the place that he loved more than anywhere else is just special.”

 

IS THERE ANYTHING WITH THIS CAR THAT CAN BE DONE WITH THE CONSTRUCTION TO LIMIT THE IMPACT ON A DRIVER TO WHERE YOU’RE NOT FEELING IT AS MUCH?  “That’s hard for me to say because I’m not an engineer.  I’m not any of that, but I do think that this car in that rare one to three percent wreck that’s just massive, that honestly in the old car probably would have been fatal, I think this car is way, way, way better.  But I do think your common hits, the ones that we have a lot of the time, might be a touch worse.  I can’t honestly speak to it because I haven’t really wrecked this year, so I haven’t really had any issues.  I wrecked at Talladega and felt like it was gonna be huge and I was fine, so I think it’s just all about how you hit.  I think this car definitely it takes a bigger impact to have stuff give and it’s just those impacts that normally wouldn’t even be an issue, like nothing gives, so it makes it a lot harder.  So, I think anything we can do to maybe fix that, but I’m not the guy.  I have no idea how to even start to fix that and, like I said, I’ve been very fortunate not to crash really this year, so I haven’t really had a real test to see how it hurts, but I definitely think anything we can do safety-wise is gonna be better, but I do think this car in those big impacts that would have been really bad are definitely gonna be better in this car, for sure.”

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