● Chase Briscoe will make his fifth NASCAR Cup Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Sunday’s Las Vegas 400. The driver of the Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) is looking to turn around his season after finishes of 35th and 20th in the two opening points-paying events at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, respectively.
● Briscoe has a best finish of fourth earned during the Playoffs last October. Earlier in the season, in March 2022, he started fourth and was running inside the top-10 before an accident on lap 135 relegated him to a 35th-place finish. The following week, he rebounded in a big way by earning his first Cup Series victory on the mile oval at Phoenix Raceway.
● In March 2020, Briscoe earned his first Xfinity Series win of the season at Las Vegas, then returned in September to complete the sweep. He also made one NASCAR Truck Series start there in 2017, which resulted in a third-place finish.
● Mahindra Tractors has unveiled two new commercials to kick off its second season with the No. 14 team. Similar to last year, Mahindra’s television spots feature Briscoe and three-time Cup Series champion and SHR co-owner Tony Stewart. The first spot, Humble, aired during the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The second, Mail Run, debuted during the Daytona 500 two weekends ago. Additional commercials are set to air during race broadcasts and on social media throughout the season.
It’s been a frustrating start to the 2023 season for the No. 14 team. What has gone on and what needs to happen to get back to the kind of success you experienced last year?
“Well, I think the biggest thing is everyone has had a whole season with the NextGen car and an offseason to do extra sim work and preparation. Daytona was just an unfortunate situation with getting caught up in a wreck as we were cycling through green-flag stops. I felt like we had actually had a strong race, leading some laps, but the results don’t show that. Last weekend in Fontana, we had a few different things that we had to battle through and we got to a better place at the end. I’m not too concerned. We’re only two races into the season and we know what we’ve got to work on to get back on the right path. It’s only a matter of time before we put all those pieces together and we’re back up front racing for wins.”
With Kevin Harvick retiring at the end of the season and Aric Almirola approaching his final seasons, you are in a position to take over as the de facto leader within the SHR organization as the longest-tenured driver. Does a situation like that help you to prepare to be that guy from a leadership perspective?
“I think so. It’s hard to learn how to persevere if you don’t have obstacles to overcome. Going through a tough couple of races or a rough season teaches you how to work with the team and figure out a way through it. I pay attention to how Kevin does it and I’ve watched how Aric works with his guys. Our personalities are all very different, but I watch how they explain what they’re feeling in a car and how they work to get a point across. I’m trying to take in as much as I can while they are both here, but especially with Kevin around since he has been here for so long. When he’s gone, somebody is going to have to take over that leadership role. If it is me, I want to be prepared for that.”
Do you feel there are any competitors in the field who you’d consider drivers to beat at this early point in the season?
“I think everybody is capable. I think it’s such a wide-open pool right now that anybody can show up on any given week and take the win. You don’t know what everyone worked on in the offseason and I think we’re still learning this car. There’s really no advantage to be found, at least a big advantage, so that’s what makes the field so tight. That’s why one week you can see guys running up front and the next week they’re not there. I don’t think there’s any one team that you can even say is the team to beat because it’s wide open.”