● Next up on the NASCAR Cup Series Schedule is the Pala Casino 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chase Briscoe heads to Fontana looking to turn around his start to the 2023 season after a 35th-place finish in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway last Sunday. The No. 14 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) led twice for five laps before being shuffled into the pack during pit stops and had nowhere to go as cars were collected ahead of him in an lap-181 incident.
● Briscoe will strap into the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil Delvac Ford Mustang this weekend for his second Cup Series race at the 2-mile oval in Fontana. His two Fontana starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series resulted in a best finish of fifth in 2019. In 2020, Briscoe started third and led five times for 16 laps before a spin on lap 126 relegated the team to a 19th-place finish.
● 14 Years Together…Rush Truck Centers returns to the No. 14 Ford Mustang for the first time this year. Fontana marks the 11th year that Rush Truck Centers has appeared as a primary sponsor on an SHR car and its 14th season as a team partner. All of the SHR cars travel from race to race in haulers from Rush Truck Centers, the premier service solutions provider to the commercial vehicle industry. And those haulers are supported by the RushCare Customer Support team of parts and service experts, who also provide concierge-level service for scheduling maintenance, technical support, mobile service dispatch and roadside assistance, help locating the nearest dealer, and more. Rush Truck Centers is the largest network of commercial vehicle dealerships in North America with 150 locations in the United States and Ontario, Canada, and takes pride in its integrated approach to customer needs – from vehicle sales to aftermarket parts, service and body shop operations, plus financing, insurance, leasing and rental, as well as alternate fuel systems and other vehicle technologies.
● Mobil Delvac joins Rush Truck Centers for the Pala Casino 400. Mobil Delvac heavy-duty diesel engine oils are designed to help commercial fleets save money and boost uptime through fuel economy savings, extending the life of engines, and lengthening oil drain intervals. In 2020, the SHR haulers moved from three oil changes per season to a single oil change by using Mobil Delvac diesel engine oil.
The plan is for Fontana to be reconfigured into a half-mile track following this weekend’s race. How do you feel about it possibly being the last race on the 2-mile layout?
“I think it’s going to be bittersweet for all the drivers because it’s just so fun from a driver’s standpoint. It’s so slick and worn out. It’s rough and you just bounce around. You can run wherever on the racetrack, especially with the Next Gen car. I thought that it was just a really good racetrack for these cars, so I’m bummed we didn’t get more time to race it as is. It’s one of my favorite tracks to go to just because I feel like that’s one of the tracks where a driver can make quite a bit of a difference, so I’ll be sad to see it go. But, if it becomes a short track, that may not be so bad. We don’t have a short track out West, so that would give us some variety during the West Coast swing.”
The West Coast swing is usually when we get a good idea of who the stronger teams will be. Is that still the case with the NextGen car?
“I’m not really sure, but I’d say probably not. It used to be that after the first four races, we’d kind of know, but it seems like things have been a little different. Maybe around week eight or nine we’d have a good idea. But even so, we’ve seen that the swings in performance with the NextGen are a little bigger. One week you can be really good and the next not even close to being good. So, I guess at this point we see who seems to be on top after that race at Phoenix and then look back later to see if that holds up.”