● The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, for the third of six road course events on the 2022 season schedule. Sunday’s race marks Chase Briscoe’s second Cup Series start at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course.
● The HighPoint.com driver started 35th and drove his way to a sixth-place finish a year ago this weekend at Road America. It was his second of three top-10 finishes in 2021. In total, Briscoe has nine Cup Series starts on road courses with three top-10s. He finished 13th in his most recent road-course race June 12 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
● The 27-year-old racer from Mitchell, Indiana, picked up two Xfinity Series wins on road courses – his first career Xfinity Series victory was in the series’ inaugural race on the Charlotte Roval in 2018. He also fulfilled his childhood dream of kissing the historic Yard of Bricks when he scored his fifth win of the 2020 season on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
● Briscoe finished among the top-10 in all but three of the 10 road-course races in which he competed in the Xfinity Series. And in his lone NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start on a road course – the 2017 race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario – Briscoe finished seventh in a Ford F-150.
● Briscoe is 18th in the driver standings following last weekend’s 34th-place finish at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway. He currently holds a spot in the 16-driver playoff field by virtue of his March 13 win at Phoenix Raceway.
You had an off weekend to reset before jumping back in for a 10-week run for the playoffs, but you had a tough outing in Nashville last weekend. What is the focus the next nine weeks?
“I’m just kind of stressed out with the situation in the playoffs, truthfully, and we have nine weeks until the playoffs start. We just need to really focus on making the playoffs. Just because we have a win, it doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed at all with how many winners we’ve had right now. So I think we just need to try to take these next nine races and use them as a practice for the playoffs and try to execute. I’ve done a terrible job as far as executing on days we have good car. There have been multiple races we could’ve won that we threw away. You get three races in each round of the playoffs and if you have one bad race, you’re kind of done for the playoffs. I just need to do a better job as a racecar driver of understanding that and trying to capitalize. Come playoff time, you’re not going to be able to shoot yourself in the foot and continue on like nothing happened.”
How do you stay grounded and focused on what’s ahead?
“Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) and my team, I feel like, do a really good job of that. I feel like, internally, I kind of do try to do the same. I just don’t have a ton of experience in the playoff format. You know that I’ve only done it three years now and that was on the Trucks and Xfinity levels. So at the Cup level, obviously, it’s way more intense, way more cutthroat. So I don’t know, I feel like I’ve not done a great job in the past in the lower series of doing the playoff run. So I just need to do a better job, at the end of the day. And I feel like if we if I do a good job, my team puts a car under me and people who make me capable of running up front and trying to win races. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and limiting mistakes.”
Road America is a track where you have to be very careful. If you get off track, it can really cost you. How much does that affect how you approach the race?
“There are so many opportunities to make a mistake. It’s a 14-turn course, so it’s hard to mentally stay in the game there just because there are so many opportunities to make a mistake and each turn is so different. You have some really fast ones, some heavy braking zones, some tight corners, and the tires wear out so much there that you really are changing what you’re doing each lap and each corner. It’s a very challenging track, but that’s why I like going there. It does wear you out. It gets like a slick, worn-out dirt track, as weird as that sounds, but that’s why I like it. I just like the feat of trying to wrestle a 4-mile road course. It’s huge. It takes over two minutes to run the racetrack, so I just enjoy the challenge of racing there and trying to get these cars to do what you want each lap, with every turn. It’s a lot of fun and, when it pays off, it’s incredibly rewarding.”