Wednesday, Mar 29

Ford Performance NASCAR: Chase Briscoe Extension Media Transcript

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang – HOW IS IT KNOWING YOU HAVE A LONG TERM DEAL AND WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEXT GEN ENHANCEMENTS?  “It’s really nice to have stability, especially being a young father now.  I think that’s the biggest thing for my family.  That’s the nicest thing is just having that comfortability, knowing that for the next few years I’m gonna have a job.  That’s really important, especially when you’re raising a little one.  I think that’s the biggest thing for me.  That’s most important about the whole thing is how it affects my family versus how it affects me, so that’s really nice.  I’ve never had that my entire career, so that’s gonna be something new for me to navigate, but I’m looking forward to showing my worth, hopefully, to the organization.  Outside of that, I’m really excited for the Ford Mustang.  I haven’t honestly seen it yet.  I know there’s not a ton of huge changes, but I feel like last year we were pretty good, but you could always be better and I know that whenever we came out with something new it’s gonna be better than what we had before.  I’m excited to finally get it on the racetrack.  I know testing is one thing, but when you go and finally race against the other competitors, you see where you stack up and we should be in a really good spot.  It’s just a matter of getting out there and see where we finally stack up to everybody and go from there.”


DID YOU PUSH TO GET THIS EXTENSION DONE OR DO YOU FEEL SHR, KNOWING THERE COULD BE SOME DRIVER MOVEMENT, DIDN’T WANT YOU TO START LOOKING?  “I felt like it was definitely Stewart-Haas took the initiative.  I mean, we mutually wanted to do something, for sure, but I think Stewart-Haas took a little bit more of the initiative, just knowing the situation I was gonna be in coming up and then the situation with Kevin, obviously, and Aric, not knowing when he’s gonna be gone.  It felt like we all obviously wanted to get something done.  I’ve said it for a really long time that I’ve wanted to be at Stewart-Haas, the personal tie for me to the 14 is important, so I felt like we were both kind of pushing to get something done, but at the same time it was probably a little bit more them than me.  At the same time, it was definitely me wanting to get it done, too.  I would say all-around it was 50-50.”


WHAT DID YOU TAKE AWAY FROM TESTING AT PHOENIX WITH THE MUFFLERS AND SMALLER SPOILER?  “I think every race car driver would agree that we always want more power and less downforce.  I feel like that’s always our answer because we’d feel like it puts more of the control in our hands versus the car, the team or things like that, and I feel like it just makes the racing better a lot of the time as far as being able to pass other guys.  I felt like that was kind of the same thing I heard from one of the other drivers when they took downforce away.  It seemed like it got better.  I think they went from, I don’t know what the normal spoiler is, but they went to 2-½ and it didn’t really change a lot, and then they went to 2 and changed some underbody stuff, and it sounded like that changed a lot of things as far as for the better, so I don’t know where they’re gonna go with it.  Testing is just kind of one thing and then applying it to everybody is another.  I think anytime you can get less downforce, especially on the short tracks, it typically makes it better, and I feel like this car everywhere we went when it’s 60 laps into a run and the tires are finally starting to get worn out and we’re slipping and sliding around a little bit more, at least on the short tracks, we race a lot better and I feel like less downforce and more power – just even less downforce – is gonna make it easier to get to that point.  Instead of 60 laps into a run, maybe 30 laps into a run, so I think less downforce is definitely the answer for the short tracks and road courses.  I don’t think we need to change anything on the mile-and-a-halves, but it sounded like all the drivers were in agreement on that from who I’ve read texts from.”


WHEN DOES A DRIVER START TO FOCUS ON THE CLASH?  “I think it all depends on how you ended the season.  For us, I felt like we were on such a run of momentum and just strong runs that I was instantly thinking of The Clash and wanting to go there next week, but I think you definitely take a couple of weeks off.  This offseason, I probably had two or three weeks where I didn’t have anything I really had to do.  Outside of that, it was a pretty busy offseason, but I would say, for me, when I got back from Chili Bowl – a week or two weeks ago – I started thinking about The Clash.  I went and sat inside the car yesterday, so you start thinking about it pretty quickly – kind of mid-January that you’re gonna be going racing in two or three weeks.  I think, for me, leading up to next week I’ve got a busy week-and-a-half.  I’ve got to go to Ohio this weekend for an appearance.  I’ve got to go to Raleigh next week.  I’ve got some stuff at the shop I’ve got to do still.  Outside of that, I’ll just try to spend as much time as I can with my family, just trying to spend that quality time before we kind of get busy and on the road.”


WHAT ATTRIBUTES OF THE SHR TEAM DO YOU BELIEVE HAVE ALLOWED YOU TO FIND SUCCESS IN NASCAR?  “I haven’t been with a ton of teams.  I think I’ve been at three or four organizations my entire career, but Stewart-Haas has definitely been the one that I’ve been at the longest.  I think the biggest thing is just the amount of resources you have from just an experience level.  Everybody at Stewart-Haas and the marketing team and everybody always talks about how we’re just a bunch of racers and it’s the truth.  Everybody there from literally the top guy to the bottom guy they all have just raced their whole life.  They race on their off weekend.  They go racing in the middle of the week at Millbridge and places like that, where other organizations you have groups of those guys, but not the whole organization.  For me, being a relatively young guy in the sport and inexperienced, I had so many different guys I could go to, whether it was Tony Stewart or Zippy or Kevin Harvick and all these guys for perspective.  They’ve seen the same scenario, but they all have a different outlook on it or a viewpoint on it, so, for me, to be able to go and ask questions, whether it’s on or off the racetrack stuff, and just get different opinions on it, different perspectives on it was one of the biggest things that made Stewart-Haas feel so much like home.  We just all have the same kind of background and things like that, and I feel like that just makes a huge difference.”


WILL THIS EXTENSION CHANGE YOUR APPROACH TO THE SEASON?  “I don’t think so.  I feel like I always race with this mentality of every lap is making a difference, even if you’re 10 laps down because you have a mechanical issue.  I always feel like I’m running 100 percent just to try to show my team that I’m not giving up.  I don’t think my mentality changes now that I’m secured for years to come, so I don’t think it really changes anything for me.  It maybe makes you a little less stressed at home, but, outside of that, I feel like you’re going to the racetrack every weekend to win and try to set the fastest lap every single lap, every single session and things like that.  I don’t think it will really change my outlook on anything as far as that goes.”


YOU WERE COUCH SURFING NOT THAT LONG AGO AND NOW YOU’RE WITH ONE OF THE TOP TEAM IN NASCAR FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.  WHAT DOES THAT FEEL LIKE?  “For sure.  In 2013, 2014, 2015 and part of 2016, part of 2016, but those  three years prior I was sleeping on a couch and volunteering at different places.  Now, to be where I’m at is pretty crazy.  One of my buddies, we had this group chat of all of our friends and we race online together.  We’ve had it for 10 years and I remember when I was going through that couch to couch thing and they were giving me a hard time telling me how I was wasting my time and things like that.  One of my buddies texted me today and said, ‘I’m glad you didn’t listen to me.’  It was six or seven years ago.  It’s pretty crazy to see what it’s turned into, so it’s crazy to look back on and think about it.  I still, honestly, every day find myself just thinking how crazy it is and how it’s all worked out, how not only to make it to the Cup Series but then to make it to the Cup Series and drive the car that you dreamed of driving.  That was your favorite car growing up.  Things like that.  It’s crazy the amount of doors that have opened up for me.  I’ve definitely been extremely blessed to be able to be in the spot I’m in, so I definitely find myself every day questioning how I got here because it was not that long ago where I was ready to give up.  It’s crazy to be sitting here today talking about a contract extension and driving for this company that I feel like is a powerhouse company in the sport.  It’s pretty unbelievable, for sure.”


IT MUST BE SOMEWHAT LIBERATING AND RELIEVING TO KNOW YOU HAVE A STAFF THAT WORKS ON SPONSORSHIP FOR YOU AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ON YOUR OWN LIKE YEARS AGO?  “I remember when I was couch to couch I would sit at least an hour almost every single day and would type in CEO, COO, anything I could think of and type it on LinkedIn and every name I could find I would send an email.  I mean, I bet I got who knows how many thousands of no’s, but even to this day – I don’t get on LinkedIn – but I’m still trying to sell myself to new people and things like that, but I think the biggest thing for me is I’ve always tried to be my true self.  I don’t put on an act for anybody.  What you see is kind of what you get and I was trying to treat everybody with respect and I feel like that goes such a long way.  I try to make sure that all of my partners always feel appreciated, even if it’s a new partner or whether it’s somebody that has no chance of ever sponsoring me ever, I still try to treat them with respect and treat them how I feel they should be treated.  I feel that has gone a really long way with all of my partners and even ones that have seen me from afar doing that goes a long way for them.  It’s always kind of been who I am and if it’s enough, it’s enough.  If it’s not enough, it’s not enough, but I feel like it’s worked to this point and hopefully it will continue to.”


CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW YOUR VOICE HAS DEVELOPED WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION?  “I feel like, for me, I look back, especially on my rookie year, we’d go into our competition meeting on Tuesday and, truthfully, I wouldn’t really talk much.  I mean, I would say kind of what we thought for the weekend, but outside of that I would just kind of sit there and listen.  Then this past year, I definitely talked a lot more and I’d bring up ideas and kind of say things I wanted to get off my chest, where in the past I wouldn’t have done that.  So, I feel like as I’ve gotten more confident in myself and my position I’ve gotten to the point where I speak my mind a little bit more and I guess be a little bit more of a leader.  But where we’re at as a company, for me still, Kevin Harvick is the guy.  He’s who steers our ship.  He’s the guy that when he talks people listen and, for me, I’ve just tried to watch as much as I can knowing the Kevin’s not gonna be there one day and especially with Aric leaving in the next few years or whenever he does, I’m gonna be the guy that’s been there the longest, so, naturally, the leadership kind of falls on you to a certain extent, so I think how Kevin gets his points across and how I get my points across is probably two different ways, but you can still learn things from Kevin in just how he approaches certain situations.  He’s seen so many different scenarios, but I feel like I talk to Kevin a lot about it and even just watching how he handles certain things and how he always can circle back around to get his point proven is something I’ve definitely been taking notes on, just knowing that one day that potentially could be me that has to have more of a leadership role.  Yeah, it’s a role that is crazy, truthfully, to think about because that could be me in the next year or two, being I wouldn’t say that flagship guy, but being a leader as far as the drivers go in an organization, but, truthfully, I feel like that’s something I want to be.  I’ve always enjoyed that kind of leader, team building type of stuff, so, yeah, if that role is kind of placed on me naturally, then that’s one that I would love to have and try to do it to the best of my ability, but I feel like that’s a role that you don’t choose, it kind of chooses you.  We have to see how we run and things like that, and let the cards fall where they fall.  In a couple of years, we might be in a totally different situation.  We don’t know, but I’ll definitely try and take as many notes as I possibly can and just watch and learn as much as I can to kind of how to be that leader in our company.”


CAN YOU ALSO EXPLAIN WHAT IT’S LIKE GOING INTO THE CLASH THIS YEAR VERSUS LAST YEAR?  “Truthfully, I would say I’ve been really motivated about The Clash and wanting redemption.  Last year, I felt like that was a race that if I wasn’t gonna win, I was for sure gonna run second.  I felt like me and Reddick were the two best cars.  I went from eighth or ninth to third or fourth in a matter of like 20 laps and I just felt like my car was really, really good, and then we had the mechanical issue, so that’s one that I feel like kind of got away from us and one that I definitely want to go and try to win.  I’m excited from that side of things.  My outlook on the race is definitely different because last year it was such an unknown.  Nobody knew what to expect.  Nobody knew what the car was gonna drive like, what it was gonna race like.  I feel like this year it’s gonna be way more competitive.  Everybody is gonna have an understanding of what they need to do to their cars – the teams are and the drivers.  Last year, I was probably the only guy in the field that was shifting every single lap, every single corner and this year probably everybody is gonna do it just because they’re way more comfortable with it, where last year nobody even really knew that was a possibility.  All of those things have me a little bit, not nervous but it’s a big question mark as far as what it’s gonna look like this year.  The field is gonna be way tighter, so it’ll be a lot harder to separate yourself from the pack, but hopefully we can go there and have a good car and do that.”

HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE THE CONTRACT EXTENSION WHEN TEAMS DON’T KNOW WHAT THE TV MONEY IS GOING TO BE STARTING IN 2025?  ARE THERE A LOT OF PROVISIONS INCLUDED?  “I should probably know what I’m allowed to say and what I’m not allowed to say so if I get myself in trouble that’s probably not good for me.  I remember when the contract first started getting talked about, I talked to all of my teammates.  I leaned on Kevin a lot and even Aric a lot and they both were adamant, don’t sign anything past ‘24 and things like that, but with the opportunity that was there, we just had to put a lot of provisions in it if it gets re-structured.  It’s not fair to the team and it’s not fair to me, obviously, either if the whole structure of the money going into the sport changes.  We just had to have a lot of wording in there to where if it does get changed and when it gets figured out we’ll obviously come back and sit down and try to figure out what’s fair for both of us.”


WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR OBJECTIVES FOR THIS SEASON?  “There are for sure a lot of unknowns and to your first question, I would say the biggest thing for me is I just want to be way more consistent.  It’s no secret that last year we started the season strong and over the course of the summer was non-existent with the exception of two or three races, and then the playoffs was right back to where we were at the beginning of the year.  So, I feel like 99.9 percent of that was me and just not putting good races together.  If I had a 15th-place car that given day, I was trying to win the race with a 15th-place car and at this level you’re not gonna do that.  In the playoffs, if I had a 15th-place car, I just tried to run 10th or 11th with it and just try to be a couple spots better than what my car was, and when I did that I felt like you’d find yourself in that 10th or 11th spot.  You’d have a restart at the end of the race, well now you’re up to seventh.  You have another restart or on pit road you might pick up one or two spots and you’d find yourself in the top five at the end of the day.  I feel like it’s kind of similar to Kevin.  I tried to mirror him as much as I could, where he just doesn’t eliminate himself from races.  A lot of the time at the beginning of the race he might not be the best car, but at the end he’s always up there and he gives himself an opportunity and a chance if a restart comes out.  I felt like in the playoffs when I let the race just come to me, instead of forcing stuff, I became way more consistent.  The top 10s became way easier to get and if I can take that same mentality and approach and just keep reminding myself of what I did different in the playoffs versus the rest of the season, then hopefully our consistency will be a lot better throughout the season.  And then going to your second question, there are definitely a lot of unknowns still.  The car is still changed.  Things have happened where there’s new racetracks, there’s just new structures.  The teams are constantly trying to find things on the car to make it better, so the setups that you ran last year probably won’t work this year, but you just have to go to the racetrack and react and just do the best you can.  Like I was just saying, do the best you can on that given weekend and if it’s enough, it’s enough.  If not, just try to make the most of it and I feel like if we can do that, then the unknowns will be what they are, but you’ve got to adapt and you’ve got to adapt quickly, obviously, but you still have to adapt and just figure it out.  Whoever figures it out the best that weekend will probably win those races at the places that are new for us.”


DOES THE 14 FEEL LIKE YOUR CAR NOW?  HAVE YOU PUT YOUR STAMP ON IT?  “Yeah, for sure.  I tweeted about it a little bit ago.  The first two years I definitely felt like I was always getting in Clint’s car or getting in Tony’s car and it was just kind of my name on it, but I was just filling in.  Like that wasn’t me.  I wasn’t the long-term guy for it, where now I feel like it is mine to a certain extent.  It’s still Tony’s, obviously, but I feel like it’s my car now.  When people think of the 14, I want them to think about me because that’s how I feel, where before I was thinking it was Clint’s car or Tony’s car.  So, yeah, I definitely want to add a lot of history to the 14.  It’s known for being this car that is always battling for championships and battling for wins and the driver is just this down-to-earth, just normal dirt racer and I feel like I want to add my history to the 14.  So, I definitely feel like it’s mine now, which is nice.  It definitely feels a lot better going into it, my third year, and even if I didn’t have the contract extension I would say it probably would feel a little bit more like mine, but now it definitely does just knowing it’s gonna have my name on it for years to come now.  I’m looking forward to that side of it, for sure.”

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