Monday, Sep 25

Ford Performance - Chase Briscoe Transcript

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, spoke with members of the media this morning ahead of the NASCAR Cup Series stop at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Mitchell, Ind. native retraced his roots and discussed his expectations of the road course layout at “The Racing Capital Of The World.”


CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Ford Mustang – INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED RACERS FROM OTHER DRIVING DISCIPLINES ARE JOINING THE FIELD THIS WEEKEND. DO YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH ANY OF THEM? “I’d say the one I have the most experience with is probably Brodie Kostecki. He’s a guy that, growing up, there was this big, core group of guys that would play this rFactor video game. We’d usually race dirt midgets, late models and stuff all the time – me, Christopher Bell, Logan Seavey… a ton of just dirt guys. But, Brodie Kostecki was always on there as well and was always super fast – like always the guy to beat. We’d always joke because he was so fast, we’d always call him ‘Cheat-Stecki,’ because it was just unbelievable how fast he was all the time. So, I’ve known Brodie for probably 12 or 15 years now. I don’t know him well, but I definitely know him. So, he’s probably the one I’d say that I have the most experience with. I have very little experience with the other guys. [Shane] van Gisbergen: He actually came on rFactor as well and raced one night with us. He probably doesn’t remember it at all. I have a little bit of experience with those guys. Outside of those two, I don’t really have experience with any of them. But, definitely Kostecki. I know Kostecki fairly well, for sure.”


WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT PARTICIPATING IN THE OVAL TEST WITH THE CUP CAR? “It’s going to be cool, honestly. I think for me, just knowing I’ll be one of the first three guys to run on the oval with this new Next Gen car… it’ll be something that I’m proud of, and it’s cool to be able to do that. It’ll be nice to be able to stay in Indiana for a few more days. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be interesting. I do think that this current car seems to race really well on those styles of racetracks. It’ll be interesting. I’m a little nervous about what it’s going to drive like, truthfully, and if they try different packages and things, what’s that going to drive like. But, I’m excited for it. I do think that there’s a chance that this car can race really well there if we ever do go back to the oval. Honestly if we’re testing, I’m sure that’s down the road. Just looking forward to the opportunity. It’ll be cool. Any time there are cars on the racetrack at IMS, it’s a good day. I’m glad that I’m going to be one of the guys driving them.”


HOW DO YOU AVOID THE CHAOS ON THE ROAD COURSE LAYOUT? “It's hard. I mean, I feel like you’re never safe there, truthfully. You can be in the front row, you can be in the middle or the back row – I think I’ve wrecked in all three of those scenarios. So, you’re never safe there, especially on the restarts. That Turn 1 is just chaos every single time. I do think the new format, or the change of the start/finish line with the restart zone, could potentially (help). I think if we do that, it might help Turn 1 a little bit. But, you’re still going to have chaos because we’re going so fast. That’s probably the biggest delta I feel like, in Turn 1 versus straightaway speed, out of any road course we go to. I guess COTA (Circuit of The Americas) would be close, but COTA is not nearly as narrow as what Indy is. I just feel like you’re always open to chaos there and calamity every time you have restarts there, just with how narrow it is in that section of the racetrack. But yeah, I don’t know if there’s any strategy you could do necessarily to be safe from all that.”


WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR OUT OF THE TIRE TEST? “I don’t really know. I don’t know what it’s necessarily supposed to feel like there. I think, for me, I’m just looking for our team to try to get more understanding of what we need on the bigger tracks. On the short tracks, I feel that we can go compete for Top 10’s and top fives – not easily, but it’s a lot more doable. Where on the big tracks, it’s a struggle to run 20th. So, I think for us out of this test, we’re just trying to figure out what that feeling is, and even though Indy is such a unique racetrack compared to all the others, that’s probably the one thing I’d say that we’re looking for the most. From a feel standpoint, I just want it to drive comfortably. Obviously for Indy, we need to have durable tire. But I do think you need one that kind of wears out, that has a little bit of fall-off – as hard as that’s probably going to be at Indy, having a big fall-off delta. But I definitely think that we need a durable tire. You don’t want another race like we had that one year, when they were blowing tires all the time. I think if we’re going to go back to the oval, it needs to be a really good race – especially the first ones. Hopefully if we do that, we can find a tire at this test and put out a good product.”


WHERE WOULD YOU RANK WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL, IN TERMS OF COMFORT AND CONFIDENCE, IN COMPARISON TO THE OTHER ROAD COURSES ON THE SCHEDULE? “I’d say it’s kind of middle of the road. It’s definitely not the worst one confidence-wise that we go to. I’d say it has Sonoma by a lot. But, it’s definitely not at the top of the list either. I’d say it’s somewhere kind of in the middle. I feel like if it rains, then I feel really good about it. Last year in the rain there, we were able to win Stage 1 and be really good in the wet there. If it was going to be wet, I’d feel really good about it. In the dry, I don’t feel as good there. I’ve always been good there, but never fast enough to really lead or be up-front. I’m always kind of 10th-12th there. I definitely need a little bit more there, but for whatever reason, I just can’t seem to find it. I’d say I’m confident going there. It’s one that I look forward to, especially when we’re getting to three races left to lock into the playoffs. I feel like those are two good opportunities. The road courses have always been statistically good for us. Hopefully, we can have a good run this weekend and a good run next weekend. But, I’d say the confidence level is somewhere in the middle when we go to Watkins Glen.”


IN THE TWO YEARS THAT YOU’VE COMPETED IN THE CUT-OFF RACE AT DAYTONA, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN MINDSET BETWEEN BATTLING FOR A FINAL SPOT AND ALREADY ADVANCING? “I don’t know. I feel like in my rookie year, I didn’t do a very good job in general on the superspeedways. Even now, I still have a lot to learn. I feel like honestly, the mindset: There’s a lot to say in the sense of just trying to get to the end. The year we needed to get a win, my rookie year, you obviously can’t win the race if you’re on the hook or in the garages. You’re just trying to survive to the end, and we ended up getting in a crash. The second race, last year, it was kind of the same mentality, truthfully – just get to the end because we didn’t have to win, but if you could, it was more playoff points. We got to where the rain was coming and I started getting aggressive, and I think I actually crashed leading the race or running second. I think you have to get to the end. I mean, we saw that last year with Austin [Dillon] – there were only 10 or 12 cars on the racetrack. If you can miss the big wreck at the end, because the desperation is going to be so high, you can kind of sneak away with one. Truthfully, I think this year is going to be the most chaotic. For one, because you have so many good cars that are going to be in desperation. You look at the No. 48, the No. 99, the No. 9… there are just a ton of really good cars that are going to have to win probably to get in. So, it’s going to be one of the most exciting cut-off races I think we’ve ever had in the history of the sport. Hopefully, all of us come out of that race safely, because I feel like there’s going to be a lot of really aggressive moves. Guys are going to be on the rev-limiter because of the aggressive nature.”


HOW DO YOU FEEL GETTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO RUN SRX AT ELDORA? “I’m super excited. I’ve never had a race against Tony [Stewart], and everybody here knows that he is my absolute hero. So for me, that was the biggest draw to run SRX. I wanted to be able to say that I raced with Tony at some point in my career. Obviously knowing that the time was dwindling down, because he’s probably never going to come run a NASCAR race. So, the opportunity, truthfully, came very last minute. Last Thursday, I think at like three o’clock, [Don] Hawk called me and was like, ‘Hey, we have an opening. Would you be interested in coming to run SRX? We’re going to try to announce it at seven or eight o’clock, whenever the TV window is tonight.’ So, it was super last-minute. Like I said, I literally found out Thursday afternoon. I’m looking forward to it. High Point, my Cup sponsor, is going to be on it too, which is very cool. It’s at Eldora, which is super special to me in general, and racing against my boss. Hopefully, we can beat him at his own racetrack.”


WHERE DOES YOUR 2018 TRUCK WIN AT ELDORA RANK IN YOUR CAREER? “I’d say honestly, it’s like third or fourth. I’d put the Indy Xfinity race over it, my first Cup win would be there, and honestly the Darlington race would be there. Outside of that, I would put the Eldora Truck win right there with the Cup race just from a personal standpoint. For me, growing up a dirt guy, Eldora was my Daytona. If you got a race at Eldora, it meant something. I feel like all my heroes were always able to win at Eldora and go onto that stage on the front straightaway. For me, Eldora is super special for that reason. It’s a privilege every time I get a race there, and hopefully I can pull into victory lane there again.”


HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SEASON SO FAR? “It’s definitely been an interesting season, to say the least. I feel like I’ve never had a season where it’s been just a really, really good day or really, really bad day. We either run top five, Top 10, or we run 30th or worse. There’s no in-between. So, that part has just been extremely head-scratching. It’s been hard, even with the loss… when we lost points, at the time we were in the playoffs or right there on the bubble, and now even with those points, we wouldn’t be close I don’t think. So, for us right now, we’re just trying to truthfully build for next year with the new crew chief. I think we’re five weeks in now. We know that this season, especially if we don’t win over these next three weeks, we’re not really racing for anything as far as playoffs and points go. But, we can still make ourselves way better, and we have 13 weeks to make ourselves better for the 2024 season. Really find a foundation is what we need to do as a team. I think that’s our main focus, is trying to get better. As much as we’d like to throw a Hail Mary and try to win one of these next couple races and even the ones the last couple of weeks, truthfully, we haven’t had the speed to do that. I think the first priority is finding the speed we need to be able to throw a Hail Mary, and then trying to build our team to be the best it can be going into 2024.”


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