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Ford Performance NASCAR: Chase Briscoe Homestead Media Availability

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
NASCAR Cup Series
Homestead Media Availability | Friday, February 26, 2021

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang — YOU WON AT HOMESTEAD LAST YEAR IN NXS.  WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT RACING THERE?  “To me, Homestead is just the perfect racetrack.  There’s a lot of tire falloff.  There are multiple grooves.  You obviously run on the fence.  You can run the dead bottom.  You can run the middle.  It has a lot of options.  It also changes a lot.  It reminds me a lot of dirt racing because I feel like every 5-10 laps it’s constantly changing — what groove is a little bit better.  If your car is a little too tight or a little too loose you as a driver can do a lot at Homestead to change the balance.  You can try different lines and do different things with the car.  It’s just a really, really well-built racetrack.  I wish we went there more than one time.  It’s a great facility.  Like I said, it’s a great racetrack.  It’s really the perfect racetrack, in my opinion.”

WHAT HAVE THESE FIRST TWO WEEKS BEEN LIKE FOR YOU?  “I think, for me, the biggest thing is just how many guys are competitive.  The Truck Series and the XFINITY Series it seems like there are almost three or four different races within the race, just on the equipment side of things.  In the Cup Series, it’s just very eye-opening how good everybody is and just from a driver’s standpoint everybody that’s there, I would say 90 percent of the field has all won their entire career.  They’re just good race car drivers, so that’s been the biggest thing is just how hard you race for 20th versus racing for the win in past series and things like that.  I got a little bit of experience in the Cup Series.  This past week getting to start up on the front row and kind of running up near the top five on those last couple restarts and, honestly, it felt like it was easier to race up there than it was for 20th or 25th.  So I think that’s been the biggest thing is just how many guys are just really, really good.  How many cars are really good and everybody that’s there is there for a reason and that’s been pretty eye-opening to me is just how tough it is to gain track position.  The XFINITY stuff you could start in the back and you were gonna be able to be up front fairly quickly.  The Cup Series there’s still guys that can do that, but it’s a lot tougher, so that’s been the biggest thing I would say has been most eye-opening to me.”

WHAT HAS JOHNNY TRIED TO DO TO KEEP YOUR SPIRITS UP?  “I think the 500 to finish 19th wasn’t obviously what we were wanting, but for the day that we had I think we were lucky to get out of there with a 19th with how our day went.  And then the road course, truthfully, for how much damage we had I felt like at the end if I didn’t get into the back of Denny I could have probably ran seventh or eighth, so I know from a speed standpoint we’ve been really strong.  The road course is really the only time we’ve been able to even kind of see where we stack up, but I felt like we were able to drive from the back to the front a couple times or at least the tail end of the top 10.  I feel like Johnny has still been super pumped up.  He’s been kind of keeping me in the game as far as telling me — for the amount of damage we had we were still really, really good last week.  We were still up in the mix there at the end and I felt like last week was really our first attempt for me and Johnny to work together and actually make adjustments and do all these things.  I felt like he did a really, really good job of making our car better throughout the race even with the damage we had.  I felt like it drove really, really good and I think we’re both excited for this week.  We’re just trying to stay focused on continuing to try and learn as much as we can about each other and build that notebook.  This is gonna be our first real test all year long of what we’re gonna do for the majority of the year, so I think Johnny has done a good job of keeping me motivated and just telling me that it’s gonna be hard at the beginning and we understand there’s gonna be challenges at the beginning and just learning curves to get over.  I think not only Johnny but my entire team has done a really good job of understanding that it’s gonna take a little bit of time to be consistently running up front and it’s gonna take time of probably tearing up race cars and just making mistakes to learn not to do those anymore and that’s been the big thing for me in the Cup Series just in these first two weeks is learning that you really have to take care of your race car because with this body that’s something I haven’t had the last two years.  With the XFINITY car we’d kind of beat it around a little bit and still be OK, where on the Cup side it really kills you and this week is gonna be another example of that.  I think we’ll be good this week.  We’re starting 30th, so we need to just run the race in segments, that’s what Johnny and the engineers told me all week leading up to this is, ‘We’re starting 30th, let’s try to be by lap 20 in the top 20.’  Every pit stop, every restart we just need to try and gain two or three spots and by the end of the race we’re gonna be up in the front hopefully.   That’s what we kind of have in our gameplan going into this week.  It’s just a matter of executing it.”

KEVIN HARVICK HAS BEEN A MENTOR WHILE YOU WERE IN XFINITY.  HAS THAT CONTINUED?  “I feel like Kevin has still been nothing but great to me and all of the SHR teammates, whether it’s Cole, Kevin or Aric have all been great.  At Daytona I was using all of them quite a bit.  Last week, I didn’t use them as much just because I felt like that it was gonna be pretty similar to the XFINITY car.  I still talked to Cole a little bit, but Kevin has always been absolutely great to me.  Anytime I have a question or a concern or just anything he’s been a wide-open door and a wide-open book for me to be able to use.  It’s been great to be able to have a resource like that and I feel bad, I kind of wait until the race weekend to even go talk to him just because I’m sure he’s really busy in the week.  I don’t want to bother him.  That’s a big thing for me is I don’t want to wear him out, so I’ve been kind of waiting until the racetrack, which is pretty late to go get answers, but he’s just such a busy guy and I don’t want to wear him out during the middle of the week.  But he’s been great so far through these first two weeks and I’m sure as the year goes on he’s gonna continue to be.”

HOW MUCH COULD YOU SEEN WHEN THE HOOD CAME UP ONTO YOUR WINDSHIELD?  “I actually had that similar experience before.  In 2018, the XFINITY race at Bristol, my dash came up — the flat panel above where our dash lays, but the flat part flew up and I drove around Bristol for probably 20-25 laps just by looking at the catchfence.  That’s all I could see, so I had a little bit of experience with it.  But the hood deal, it was hard.  It was easier than the dash, I felt like, but it was hard because all of the power-steering fluid, when I hit Denny, sprayed up on the windshield, so that was the hardest part of the whole thing was I just couldn’t see through the windshield itself, and then with the hood flying up, plus no power-steering, it was kind of chaotic.  Once the hood flew up I knew our day was pretty much over.  I ran one lap trying to see kind of where I could stack up and then it got to where it was almost impossible to see and then just the steering was getting so stiff that it was hard for me to do anything, but it was tough.  I was just trying to look out the left side and the right side.  The biggest thing is I was ducking my head so I could see below the hood a little bit, so definitely wasn’t easy and it wasn’t ideal, but it was still doable.  I think if I would have had power-steering I felt like I could have hung on quite a bit better, but that was the biggest thing is just no power-steering.  It was really hard for me to do all those chicanes and what-not.”

YOUR ODDS ARE 80:1 TO WIN THIS RACE.  DOES THAT GIVE YOU EXTRA MOTIVATION?  “I don’t know.  I think no matter what the odds are, if they were 3:1 or 100:1 I’m trying just as hard to win the race, but I do feel like Homestead is a great racetrack for me.  Statistically, it’s my best racetrack, so I’m hoping this week we can go and have a good run.  I think winning the race is gonna be tough, obviously, still being pretty early in this deal, but I do feel like this is a place where out of any racetrack on the schedule I feel like this is the one place I really know what to look for in the car.  I feel like no matter what I have I can make up for a little bit, and I feel like Homestead is one of those places where it seems like the guys that run good there typically always run good there.  You look at Reddick, he was always really good there and then in the Cup Series it was no different — Kyle Larson and all those guys.  I’m confident going into this week just because I do feel like I understand how to get around the racetrack well.  It would be a nice look for somebody if I did end up winning at 80:1, but it doesn’t matter what the odds are I’m gonna try to win and do my best no matter what.”

ARE THERE CERTAIN CONCEPTS IN THESE CUP CARS YOU’RE STILL TRYING TO GRASP?  “I think the biggest thing is, like I was saying earlier, the XFINITY car — a perfect example this weekend at Homestead.  You could hit the fence a couple times and there’s gonna be no issues.  The body just bounces right back.  The Cup Series it seems like if you just literally scrape the thing you’re gonna have a tire going down and it just kills your aero platform and everything else.  So, for me, looking back at Daytona last weekend I felt like in the XFINITY car I would have early in the race dove in under Bubba like that and once I realized he was not gonna give me the room, if I would have spun out it would have been no problem.  It wouldn’t have even really torn up the car, but then with this body it just kills you and I think just knowing that risk vs. reward early in the race is something to definitely keep in mind and something that in the past I haven’t really worried about.  And it’s gonna be the exact same this weekend.  Going back and watching video from the last couple Homestead races, the wall is gonna be faster, but none of the Cup guys really run the wall until the last 30-40 laps just because it’s not worth it up until that point.  Reddick was able to run up front for a large majority of the race because he was willing to risk that.  You see guys in the past, they’ll be the fastest car all day long and then they get in the wall one time and their day is kind of over.  I think that’s the biggest thing that’s been a challenge for me is just learning that risk vs. reward and not that you can ride around, it’s just knowing when to try to push a little bit harder and maybe run closer to the wall or dive in under somebody with a chance of potentially damaging your car.  That’s been something that’s been hard for me because in the past if there’s a hole, go for it, where in the Cup Series you kind of have to keep in mind you need your car for the end of the race.  Every little dent or ding on it is really gonna affect you from a balance standpoint and a speed standpoint.”

IS PANDA EXPRESS SPONSORING YOU YET?  “No, not that I’m aware of.  They haven’t reached out to do a gift card or anything, so I think my Panda days might be over for a little while.  Nothing yet, and, truthfully, the last two weeks I’ve gone to Panda I’ve had terrible luck in the race, so I better take a break for a little while.”

HOW WAS THAT EXPERIENCE GETTING BACK IN THE CAR AFTER EATING THAT?  “I was all good on that side.  I just feel like my luck has been terrible.  Both times I went I’ve crashed out of the race, so better take a break from Panda for a while.”


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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