Mahindra Tractors Racing: Chase Briscoe Las Vegas Advance

CHASE BRISCOE
Las Vegas Advance
No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

Event Overview

● Event: Las Vegas 400 (Round 3 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, March 3
● Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
● Layout: 1.5-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 267 laps/400.5 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 85 laps / Final Stage: 102 laps
● TV/Radio: FOX / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Notes of Interest

● After finishing 10th in the season-opening Daytona 500, Chase Briscoe had momentum rolling into the year’s second race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver was on the cusp of his second career NASCAR Cup Series win last Sunday at Atlanta, consistently running among the top-five, oftentimes running side-by-side for the lead. But Briscoe’s bid for victory came undone 21 laps short of the finish when a struggling racecar ahead of him bunched up the cars around Briscoe’s No. 14 Ford Mustang, sending Briscoe spinning into the outside retaining wall. After qualifying ninth and running strong throughout the race, Briscoe was left with just a 31st-place finish.

● The Las Vegas 400 this Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will mark Briscoe’s seventh career NASCAR Cup Series start at the 1.5-mile oval. His best finish is a fourth-place drive in October 2022, but the track has proven to be challenging otherwise with Briscoe scoring just one other top-15 result – 14th in September 2021.

● In the City of Lights, Briscoe was lights out at Las Vegas when it came to the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In five career Xfinity Series starts at Las Vegas, Briscoe won twice and had two other finishes of 11th or better. In fact, Briscoe left Las Vegas in the best way possible. In his final two Xfinity Series starts at the track, he won both times by sweeping the slate of races in 2020, leading 253 of the 400 laps available (63.3 percent).

● In his lone NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at Las Vegas in September 2017, Briscoe was strong and consistent, qualifying third, leading 40 laps, and then finishing third.

● Mahindra Ag North America is in its third year as the anchor sponsor for Briscoe and the No. 14 team after extending its partnership with Stewart-Haas during the offseason. The multiyear agreement with the NASCAR team co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart and industrialist Gene Haas continues to feature Mahindra Tractors, a brand of Mahindra Ag North America, on Briscoe’s No. 14 Ford Mustang for the majority of the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The red-and-black No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang made its debut in the 2022 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum and then won in just its fifth race as a primary sponsor when Briscoe drove to victory on March 13, 2022 at Phoenix Raceway. The win secured Mahindra Tractors’ place in the NASCAR Playoffs and earned Briscoe the honor of being the 200th Cup Series winner in NASCAR history. Houston-based Mahindra Ag North America is part of Mahindra Group’s Automotive and Farm Sector, the No. 1 selling farm tractor company in the world, based on volumes across all company brands. Mahindra offers a range of tractor models from 20-75 horsepower, implements, and the ROXOR heavy-duty UTV. Mahindra farm equipment is engineered to be easy to operate by first-time tractor or side-by-side owners and heavy duty to tackle the tough jobs of rural living, farming and ranching. Steel-framed Mahindra Tractors and side-by-sides are ideal for customers who demand performance, reliability and comfort. Mahindra dealers are independent, family-owned businesses located throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang

Will Las Vegas be the first true test as to where teams stack up in relation to one another?

“For sure. Vegas is going to be where you finally figure out, not only as a manufacturer but certainly as a race team, where you’re going to stack up for the next couple of months and where you’ve got to get better. I would say Vegas is certainly the racetrack where 90 percent of the garage has circled as the one they’re most looking forward to in order to see if what they did in the offseason will come to fruition.”

Do teams already have an idea of where they are in relation to one another, or is it truly an unknown since each of the races we’ve run so far this year have been anomalies – the shortest of short tracks via the Busch Light Clash and two superspeedway races at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway?

“I think this is definitely going to be the first true test to see where you stack up. Daytona, Atlanta and the Clash – they’re such niche racetracks and not really what we do week in and week out. There might be a few small correlations over to Vegas, just how it does down the straightaway in the draft, but 99 percent of what we do at Vegas will come down to how the manufacturer did behind the scenes during the offseason, coming up with the new body and how the teams did applying the new offsets and deltas. I would say Vegas is the one I had circled the whole offseason. I’m just excited for what we have, what we think we have. You never know until you get there, so it’s going to be entertaining, for sure.”

You talk about what you think you have. Is it safe to say you spent a lot of time in the simulator to prepare for Las Vegas?

“Yeah, we spent a ton of time in the simulator. Literally, all the way back in November I was already running the sim stuff for what we have for Vegas. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on Vegas – Vegas and Phoenix, truthfully – just trying to hit the ground running. From the simulator and even from what it says on paper, or when we look at the computer screen when we look at the sim stuff, this Ford Mustang Dark Horse body should be dramatically better than what we had last year. But, like I’ve said, until you go and do the real thing, you don’t know where you’re going to stack up or where the other manufacturers are, either. Hopefully, we can go there and be the best Ford, and hopefully the Fords will be the best among all the manufacturers.”

Have you been able to detect any subtleties in the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse compared to what you actually felt in the car last year at Las Vegas?

“Just in the simulator, it does everything better this year. It gets through the corner better, gets down the straightaway better, and just handles better overall. I know that we started in November with running what we had just ran during the season at Vegas, and when we put the new body on the car, it was nearly two- to three-tenths faster. So it should be way better, but ‘should’ is always the big question mark. Hopefully, everything our tools are telling us will be accurate, and if it is, I think it’s going to be a good season for us.”

You enjoyed a fourth-place run at Las Vegas in October of 2022, but it’s been tough sledding there since. What does it take to have a good day at Las Vegas?

“That’s been a place where, in the Xfinity Series, I was able to have pretty good success. And then in the Cup car in 2022 I was able to run pretty good there. So I feel like I know what I need to get around that racetrack and it’s always been a racetrack that I’ve really enjoyed going to and just feel comfortable at. It was definitely a tough road last year. We just couldn’t ever seem to get the balance of the car quite right. Hopefully, this year we can get back to the winning ways we had in Xfinity and the up-front running we had there in 2022, and if we do that, we’ll obviously be in the mix. So, that’s what we’ve got to go there and do. It’s just a matter of putting all of those things together and, hopefully, all of our tools and everything will lead us down the right direction and we can unload really quick and just put our whole weekend together.”

When your car isn’t right, what do you do behind the wheel to get the best finish possible?

“At Vegas you at least have some options if your car isn’t running good. There are some tracks you go to where it’s really hard to do anything, it’s so one-lane, or one groove is really more dominant than the other. At Vegas, depending on the weather, you can definitely move around and try different things, more so in turns one and two than three and four. In three and four, it seems like the bottom has become the place to be. Vegas is very rough compared to a lot of the tracks we go to, so how you hit the bumps and things like that, you can kind of manipulate your car and manhandle it in certain ways to get it to do what you want it to do, to a certain extent.”

You were lights-out at Las Vegas in the Xfinity Series, winning two races there – swept them in 2020 – and two other finishes of 11th or better. What made those Xfinity Series races so good and productive at Las Vegas?

“Our car was just really good there. I think you’ll continue to see that with Stewart-Haas on the Xfinity side. They’ve always had a really good package at Vegas. Look at Riley (Herbst) getting his first win there last year. Our cars always drove really well there, so it always made my job really easy. It was really good for us to be really good at Vegas, truthfully, in the Xfinity stuff. It always started your season. It was one of the first races, so to be able to go there and win early was always good. And, obviously, it was always in the playoffs where you could set yourself up for a Championship 4 run. For us in 2020, it was important to be good there, just to get ourselves into the playoffs early, but then also to be able to try to go to the Championship 4. It’s the same this year. It has the same amount of significance in the Cup Series. You go there early in the year trying to set the groundwork for the summer, and also you go there in the playoffs to try to set yourself up for a Championship 4 run.”

Talk about the difference between the Xfinity Series and the Cup Series, both in terms of the cars but also in terms of the caliber of talent through the field.

“The cars are definitely different, more so now than ever with the NextGen car. But for sure the biggest thing when it comes to Cup racing and how it differs from Xfinity is the competitive side of things. If you’re driving for one of the top teams in the Xfinity Series, you can have a bad day on pit road or even make mistakes on the racetrack and you’re still going to be able to recover for a top-10 day, or right around there. The number of cars that can win is a lot smaller, where on the Cup side, there are 30 cars that can go win and 20 of those cars are typically pretty close on speed, so you can’t afford to have a little mistake. You’re not going to be able to go to the back of the field and drive back through the field. When you look at the Cup Series, every team is incredibly strong, and then every racecar driver in the field has won at every level that they’ve been at. On the Xfinity side, you don’t have that many guys who are incredible racecar drivers capable of winning any weekend in any series that they go run. I think that’s the one thing that stands out most about the Cup Series – it’s probably the most competitive racing series in the world when it comes to not only the number of teams that can win, but the number of drivers who can win.”

No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Team Roster

Primary Team Members

Driver: Chase Briscoe

Hometown: Mitchell, Indiana

Crew Chief: Richard Boswell

Hometown: Friendship, Maryland

Car Chief: J.D. Frey

Hometown: Ferndale, California

Engineer: Mike Cook

Hometown: Annapolis, Maryland

Spotter: Joey Campbell

Hometown: Berlin, Connecticut

Over-The-Wall Members

Front Tire Changer: Shayne Pipala

Hometown: Frankfort Square, Illinois

Rear Tire Changer: Dakota Ratcliff

Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee

Tire Carrier: Jon Bernal

Hometown: Holland, Michigan

Jack Man: Dylan Moser

Hometown: Monroe, North Carolina

Fuel Man: Corey Coppola

Hometown: Bluefield, West Virginia

Road Crew Members

Underneath Mechanic: Stephen Gonzalez

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Interior Mechanic: Trevor Adams

Hometown: Plymouth, Wisconsin

Tire Specialist: Keith Eads

Hometown: Arlington, Virginia

Shock Specialist: Brian Holshouser

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Engine Tuner: Jon Phillips

Hometown: Jefferson City, Missouri

Transporter Co-Driver: Todd Cable

Hometown: Shelby, North Carolina

Transporter Co-Driver: Dale Lackey

Hometown: Taylorsville, North Carolina

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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