● Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team head to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway after a 15th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway near Loudon. This Sunday’s M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono is a hometown race for primary sponsor HighPoint.com. The leading IT infrastructure and solutions company is based just 90 minutes east of the 2.5-mile triangle in Sparta, New Jersey. The company was founded in 1996 and serves markets in the Tri-State region and southeastern United States, with a presence in Charlotte, North Carolina, and overseas in London.
● Briscoe is 17th in the driver standings with six races remaining in the regular season. He currently holds a spot in the 16-driver playoff field by virtue of his March 13 win at Phoenix Raceway.
● The Cup Series competed in a weekend doubleheader at Pocono last year with Briscoe finishing 24th in the Saturday event. He bettered that result on Sunday with a 21st-place finish in his best result at the “Tricky Triangle.”
● Briscoe already has two victories at Pocono – one in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and one in the ARCA Menards Series. In 2020, the native of Mitchell, Indiana, overcame a pit-road speeding penalty, a near-miss in a multicar accident and a late-race spin while leading to notch his fourth Xfinity Series win of the season and the first home-track win for HighPoint.com. He led 24 laps that day.
● On July 29, 2016, Briscoe won the ARCA event at Pocono, the last in a series of four consecutive victories that year. He led all but nine of the race’s 60 laps. Following Pocono, he picked up two more victories to take the ARCA championship by an impressive 535 points.
● Briscoe finished ninth in his lone NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Pocono in 2017.
Pocono has always been a track where you have a lot of pieces that need to come together to find success. Has that improved with the NextGen car, or has that added more to what you have to think about for 400 miles at the “Tricky Triangle?”
“Pocono is definitely one of the most unique racetracks we go to. The three corners are so different that your car’s never going to drive good in one or two of them. You’ve got to get it driving good through the tunnel turn, and you want to try to get it as close as possible to being good in the others. You want to be able to come out of the tunnel turn with the right balance for that long straightaway. Then you throw in shifting and it adds a whole new element. Most drivers already shifted there, but only in one of the corners. Now, we’re going to shift in all of them. On the aero side, it’s going to be one of the more interesting races just because it’s such an unknown with this new car. With only 15 or 20 minutes of practice, you’re realistically probably only going to get four or five laps and then you’ve got to go qualify, and it’s going to be really important to qualify well. This car has been so different everywhere we go and I don’t see that changing until we get back to some of these places a second time.”
The playoff picture has changed a lot the last few weeks with some new winners, repeat winners, and some shifts in points. How do you feel about where you stand with only six races left in the regular season?
“I’m not really sure. It makes me a little nervous, but I can’t worry about it too much. We just need to do a better job each week because it could definitely come down to a points situation. You know a lot of people think it’s the playoff points, but it’s the regular-season points that we’re going to start going off of when guys start to get eliminated if we’ve got more than 16 race winners. So, for us, we just need to try and capitalize on the stages and just maximize our day because we’re racing for those final spots against guys that have won and guys that are running really well. We can hope it’s just repeat winners the next few weeks and that helps, but there are too many tracks left where anything can happen. It would be nice to go get another win and take ourselves out of that position, but it’s just not that easy. You really have to put a whole race together with no mistakes and hit the right setup. It’s definitely nerve-wracking that there are six races left and only two guys without wins in (the playoff field). That’s what makes it exciting, though.”