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HighPoint.com Racing: Chase Briscoe Pocono Advance

CHASE BRISCOE
Pocono Advance
No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse

Event Overview

● Event: The Great American Getaway 400 presented by VisitPA.com (Round 21 of 36)
● Time/Date: 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 14
● Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway
● Layout: 2.5-mile triangle
● Laps/Miles: 160 laps/400 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 30 laps / Stage 2: 65 laps / Final Stage: 65 laps
● TV/Radio: USA / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Notes of Interest

● Pocono (Pa.) Raceway is known as the “Tricky Triangle” for its three distinct corners connected by three straightaways, including an enormously long 3,740-foot frontstretch. It is the only triangle-shaped track on the NASCAR Cup Series calendar, and its layout was designed by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rodger Ward, who modeled each of its three turns after a different track. Turn one, which is banked at 14 degrees, is from the legendary Trenton (N.J.) Speedway. Turn two, banked at 8 degrees, is a nod to the turns at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And turn three, banked at 6 degrees, is based on the corners at The Milwaukee Mile. The first race on the 2.5-mile triangle occurred in 1971, but it wasn’t until Aug. 4, 1974 that NASCAR visited, with the inaugural race won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty.

● The Great American Getaway 400 will serve as Chase Briscoe’s fifth career NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono. The driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Stewart-Haas Racing has found that there is indeed truth in advertising when it comes to Pocono’s tricky nature. His best Cup Series result at Pocono is 15th, earned in 2021. His other three finishes have all been in the 20s. However, Briscoe can claim a 100 percent lap-completion rate, for he has finished on the lead lap in all four of his Cup Series races at Pocono, a tally that currently stands at 590 laps (1,475 miles).

● Briscoe’s time at Pocono hasn’t always been a challenge. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the Mitchell, Indiana native made three starts at Pocono, and while his first race ended in a crash just past the halfway mark, he rebounded in his next two Xfinity Series starts at the track. Briscoe finished third in 2019 and then performed the equivalent of a mic drop in 2020, winning in his last Xfinity Series race at Pocono. He qualified third and led twice for 24 laps, including the final nine, to take the victory by 1.015 seconds over runner-up Ross Chastain.

● Before Briscoe came to Pocono in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, he made one start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. In 2017, Briscoe qualified fifth and then drove his Ford F-150 to a solid ninth-place finish.

● Briscoe’s first taste of Pocono came in the ARCA Menards Series. He made two starts in this developmental division, both of which came in 2016. In June of that year, Briscoe drove to a respectable 10th-place finish. When he came back to the track in July, Briscoe upped his game significantly, qualifying second and leading 51 of the race’s 60 laps, winning by a whopping 4.651 seconds over runner-up John Wes Townley.

● Before Briscoe arrives at Pocono, he will make a trip north of the border to Ohsweken Speedway, a 3/8-mile dirt track in Ontario Canada, where he will compete in his first NASCAR Canada Series race. Briscoe will drive for Jacombs Racing, which is a multiple championship-winning team in the series whose crew chief, Don Thomson, Jr., is a five-time NASCAR Canada Series champion. Briscoe’s NASCAR Cup Series team owner, Tony Stewart, is very familiar with Ohsweken. Stewart won his first career World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature at the track on July 27, 2011. Stewart won another World of Outlaws A-Feature at Ohsweken on July 31, 2012, his third in the series.

● Back with Briscoe this weekend at Pocono is HighPoint.com, a leading provider of technology infrastructure solutions that is headquartered just 60 miles east of Pocono in Sparta, New Jersey. HighPoint has been a partner of Briscoe and Stewart-Haas since 2020, when the company supported Briscoe’s NASCAR Xfinity Series campaign, a collaboration that netted a season-best nine victories and earned Briscoe a promotion to the NASCAR Cup Series. HighPoint has climbed the NASCAR ladder with Briscoe and has helped Stewart-Haas maximize its IT investments. Said Briscoe about the partnership: “Even though we race stock cars, there’s nothing stock about what we do. The science of our cars is impressive, but the technology that goes into building our Ford Mustangs and then making them perform is even more advanced. Our IT needs are pretty complex, and we demand a lot from our technology every day, whether it’s at the shop or at the track. HighPoint provides efficiency and security. They’re more than just a sponsor – HighPoint is a partner that helps us perform.” As an IT Solutions Integrator focused on all things that connect, HighPoint helps its customers with the selection and supply of network infrastructure, mobility, collaboration, data center, security solutions and the risk-mitigated implementation and management of their technology. The company, founded in 1996, is a minority-owned business that serves markets in its nearby Tri-State Region (New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware) and the southeastern United States via its presence in Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as globally with offices in Amsterdam and London. To learn more about HighPoint’s solutions, please visit HighPoint.com.

● The story of how HighPoint.com came together with Briscoe and Stewart-Haas is one that could’ve been scripted in Hollywood. In November 2019, while walking to dinner after attending the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Kevin Briscoe was stopped by a stranger who noticed his No. 98 Stewart-Haas hat. The man was Mike Mendiburu, founder and CEO of HighPoint.com, and he said he was a big fan of Chase Briscoe, then a young NASCAR Xfinity Series driver from Mitchell, Indiana, who was driving the No. 98 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas. Kevin informed Mendiburu that Chase was his son and the two carried on a conversation like they were old friends. The two walked away with Kevin accepting Mendiburu’s business card, just in case the Briscoes ever needed anything. Months passed and Chase Briscoe was told that he may not have a ride in the No. 98 for the 2020 season if funding couldn’t be found. So, Stewart-Haas was given Mendiburu’s information and an agreement was reached for HighPoint.com to sponsor Briscoe. That chance encounter in Las Vegas led to a nine-win season in 2020. In October of that year, midway through the playoffs, Briscoe arrived at Tony Stewart’s house in Indiana for what he thought was a discussion with his team owner about whether HighPoint.com would be returning as his sponsor for the next season. The group sat down for dinner and Briscoe, joined by his parents, was informed a decision had already been made – he would be leaving the No. 98 Xfinity Series program to become the next driver of the team’s No. 14 Cup Series entry, the car Stewart himself wheeled during his driving tenure at Stewart-Haas. “I wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for Mike and everyone at HighPoint.com,” Briscoe said. “Going into 2020, I was going to be done. They literally came in the fourth quarter with 30 seconds left on the clock and kept things going. Without them, I think my career would’ve been over.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang

What makes a lap at Pocono so challenging?

“I think the challenging thing about Pocono is just the fact there are three different corners, so your car’s not going to drive good in one of them or maybe even two of them. So you just know that going in and hope that your car’s somewhat balanced in all three, but know there’s a good possibility your car’s probably not going to drive good in one of them. That’s the kind of fun part, but challenging part, of running at Pocono.”

What makes the Tunnel Turn so difficult?

“I think the Tunnel Turn is probably the most difficult corner just due to the fact that it feels super flat, it’s extremely high-speed, it’s the tightest-feeling corner, and it’s by far the roughest corner. You go over the tunnel and the asphalt is kind of moving all over the place, so it’s got a lot of content to it, and that makes it a real challenge to go through there.”

How big of a deal is aero at Pocono, specifically, battling through dirty air when you’re in traffic?

“Everywhere we go, dirty air is certainly a struggle, but at Pocono, it’s one of the worst ones just because of the speed you’re going. And then also due to the fact that your car’s not going to handle very good in a couple of the corners, just from a setup standpoint, and the dirty air just makes it that much worse. You’re drafting down the straightaways and it’s just hard to get away from people there because the draft is so big and there aren’t a ton of lane options. So you’re just kind of limited in where you can go to get clean air, which makes Pocono a challenge.”

Pocono seems to have a road-course element to it – some flat, fast corners, some bumps, plenty of shifting. Does that make it a track that puts more of the race in your hands?

“A little bit. It’s a place where there’s always a lot out of your control, in general, just with the strategy and how much is going on, kind of the bigger picture of the race outside of what I’m doing inside the car. The pit crew and the crew chief play a huge role in your day at Pocono in just trying to play the strategy right and catching cautions and things like that. I feel like winning at Pocono is one of the harder things to do because it takes an entire day from start to finish. You can’t really be off from a setup standpoint, from a strategy standpoint, really from any standpoint, if you’re going to have a good day at Pocono.”

You won at Pocono in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In fact, you did it in your third and final Xfinity Series start there. Was that win a result of your experience at Pocono, because you knew what you needed in your racecar, or was it just a matter of taking a really good car and delivering with it?

“Our car was definitely really, really good that day. Some things also went our way that day, as well. It’s the hard thing about Pocono – you can be the best car there and one untimely caution during a green-flag cycle can really set you behind. So it just goes back to having everything go your way, because it’s so hard to be fast and so hard to get through the field. But having a fast racecar makes it way easier at Pocono.”

What, if anything, is applicable from your time in the Xfinity Series at Pocono to your time there now in the NASCAR Cup Series?

“I feel like Pocono is one of those tracks where, no matter what car you’re in, there are tricks to that racetrack, and what makes each car go fast around there is kind of the same thing. I definitely think there’s stuff you can take away more from there in other series than there is anywhere else we go. Plus, you don’t get a whole lot of laps at Pocono, in general. It’s a 50-something-second lap, so in practice you don’t get a lot of laps in, and even in the race, it’s not like it’s a super-long race. Just getting more laps at Pocono is always something that’s beneficial, and I also feel like it’s one of those places where you just have to have an open mindset going into it and really embrace what it is.”

Pocono is the home track for your primary partner, HighPoint.com. You want to win everywhere you go, but is there added incentive to win in HighPoint.com’s backyard?

“Yeah, for sure. Any time you go to one of your sponsor’s home races, you always want to go and perform in front of their home crowd. HighPoint always has a ton of employees and guests out there, so it’s important to run well. It’s always fun to go up to Pocono and be in HighPoint’s backyard.”

Before you race at Pocono, you’re going to make your first career start in the NASCAR Canada Series on Thursday night at Ohsweken Speedway, a 3/8-mile dirt track in Ontario, Canada. What are your thoughts going into that race?

“I have absolutely no idea what I’m getting myself into. I don’t know the team and I’ve never been to the racetrack. I’ve watched videos of the racetrack before with the World of Outlaws and stuff like that, but I have no idea what the car is like, what it has for a motor, what it drives like, anything. All I know is it’s a dirt race and I’ve always enjoyed running the Truck Series and the Cup Series on dirt. They reached out and asked if I had any interest in doing the Canada Seriesrace up there and I’ve always enjoyed going to Canada, so I said, ‘Why not?’ The few times I’ve been up there to race in IMSA and the Truck Series, the fan base has always been incredible. I’m excited to go up there, but I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. It’ll be fun, I’m sure. Any time you can go run a dirt race, it’s going to be fun.”

It sounds like that race will get you out of your comfort zone. Does doing that make you a better NASCAR Cup Series driver?

“Any time you feel uncomfortable, it helps you. The more you can make yourself uncomfortable and put yourself in different situations, I feel like that makes you more versatile and makes you better on Sundays. That’s the reason I go and run the sprint car and late models and midgets, just trying to get out of my comfort zone and just do something that I don’t do every single week. I feel like it definitely makes me better on Sundays.”

No. 14 HighPoint.com 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: Kapil Fletcher

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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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