● Race week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway means the return of HighPoint.com to Chase Briscoe’s Ford Mustang. It’s a partnership that began in 2020 after a chance meeting in Las Vegas. After signing on to sponsor Briscoe’s NASCAR Xfinity Series efforts in 2020, HighPoint has appeared on his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) car every year since, including for Briscoe’s 2020 win at the Brickyard.
● As a child growing up in Mitchell, Indiana, Briscoe dreamed of going from the dirt track to the Indy oval, just like his hero and Indiana native Tony Stewart. Though the 2020 win didn’t come on the iconic 2.-5-mile oval, it was one for the record books as Briscoe became the first driver to win a NASCAR race on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indy road course. He had watched Stewart pilot his NASCAR Cup Series car on Sundays before he headed back to the bullrings to compete in his dirt car. Stewart, the Brickyard 400 winner in 2005 and 2007, ran several races against his father Kevin, giving the youngest Briscoe plenty of time to learn how best to emulate his hero. When Stewart won at Indy, he climbed the fence, so Chase Briscoe climbed it, too, in 2020. He kneeled in front of the Yard of Bricks in his HighPoint.com firesuit and finally took his turn to kiss the bricks as he had dreamed of doing as a kid growing up in Mitchell. The 2020 season continued with a playoff berth that carried all the way to the championship race in Phoenix. Briscoe didn’t earn the title that year, but the support from HighPoint.com allowed Briscoe to continue chasing his dream as the next driver of the No. 14 Ford Mustang in the Cup Series.
● Briscoe’s first visit to Indy in 2021 as the driver of the No. 14 first piloted by his idol Stewart was nearly a win for the SHR team. He qualified second, his best qualifying effort of the year, took the lead on lap two of the race, and finished the first stage ninth. Briscoe struggled late in the race, but a series of restarts during the closing laps put Briscoe back in contention. Restarting third for the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish in overtime, Briscoe was shoved off track going into turn one. He returned to the track and made a move on leader Denny Hamlin to take the top spot, but Briscoe wasn’t aware he was under penalty for not following protocol in his return to the track. He made contact with the leader and was parked for the final lap of the race. He had come so close to returning to victory lane at Indy, but his move had angered Hamlin, who felt Briscoe had been too aggressive. Briscoe stood his ground while Stewart watched on with pride.
● In the 2022 edition of the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, Briscoe started third and won the first stage. After pitting, the HighPoint.com team struggled to make its way back to the front and the result was a 23rd-place finish.
● Prior to making his third Cup Series start at Indy on Sunday, Briscoe will make the two-hour drive to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, to compete in the Superstar Racing Experience’s Thursday Night Thunder. He’s competed at the Eldora half-mile dirt oval four times – three in the NASCAR Truck Series, earning heat race wins in 2018 and 2019, and earning the golden shovel as the feature winner in 2018. Last year, he competed in Stewart’s Eldora Million Late Model race. What sets this visit apart from the others is that, for the first time in his career, Briscoe will compete against his childhood hero.
What are your earliest memories of racing at Indy, as a fan or driver?
“One of my first racing memories is going to get my first firesuit. It was across from the tunnel in turns one and two at Indy. The guy’s name was Jim Bob Luger and he would do embroidery on uniforms. I remember going there, getting my first uniform, driving up to the end to get our first Quarter Midget and racing in Indy, for my first-ever race. So, I just felt like every time you were going to Indy, it meant you’re going to get something racing-related. As a kid, I didn’t really go to Indy outside of that, so it was always about racing. The first time I ever saw the speedway, I remember just being blown away by how big it was.”
A lot of your childhood was spent sitting at the back of a dirt hauler watching your father (Kevin Briscoe) and grandfather (Richard Briscoe) work on Sprint Cars. How does it feel to be reliving that in your own way now with your son Brooks traveling with you to dirt races and Cup Series races?
“I don’t remember those moments from when I was that little, but I’ve obviously seen the pictures and it’s cool to look back on that and see me being around the track with guys that are legends in the dirt world. I remember probably around when I was four or five, maybe six years old, always going to the racetrack and playing. It was just normal to be there, so these are memories that Brooks won’t necessarily remember. But I’ll definitely remember this, similar to how my mom and dad do. Getting to see him in all of these different scenarios and experiences and how into racing that he is right now has been a lot of fun for me. He is very aware of what is happening at the racetrack and pays attention to every little thing, so these are times that I’m enjoying now and can’t wait to tell him about when he’s older.”
When you won at Indy in 2020, Richard (Boswell) wasn’t at the track due to a suspension. You two are working together again and HighPoint.com is once again on the car. All these pieces are realigning, so what would it mean to win at Indy with him now in the crew chief role on the No. 14 HighPoint.com Mustang?
“When Boswell came over to the No. 14, I felt like there was a new confidence there just from the success that we’ve had in the past. He knows how significant Indy weekend is for me and the pressure I put on myself. When you add the scenario we’re in now from a points standpoint, there’s pressure every weekend. But I do think this team understands what this weekend means to me, and I feel like even they try to find that extra one- or two-percent effort to put into the car that weekend. There’s definitely confidence going there, and we’ve been good at Indy, we just haven’t been able to put it together. I’d love to do that with this team, with Richard and with HighPoint. I don’t think I’d have a career without HighPoint.com, and everyone knows how they came in at the last second to make sure I was in the No. 98 in 2020. Mike and the entire Mendiburu family mean a lot to me, and it would be awesome to get them in victory lane. We’ve won a lot of races with HighPoint.com on the car, but they’ve never been at track for them, including at Indy in 2020, so I’d like to be able to do that for all of us.”
Before we get to Indy, you’re heading to Eldora for the SRX race. Why was this week’s race the one you wanted to participate in?
“Eldora, in general, is special to me. Growing up as a kid in dirt racing, Eldora was kind of my version of Daytona. If you got to race at Eldora, that meant that you’re a hard-core dirt guy, especially if you could win there. So, for me just getting to run Eldora is special, but the biggest draw for me to run SRX was just the fact that I’ve never been able to race against Tony (Stewart). I felt like this would be my only opportunity to ever do that in my career and that’s why I pushed so hard to keep wearing them out about doing it. I knew that opportunity was getting smaller and smaller and I just wanted to be able to say I’d done it at some point in my career.”
If it comes down to you and Tony at the end, what can we expect?
“I’ll try not to do what I did at Bristol Dirt the first year. I would rather not get punched by Tony. But obviously, I feel like I need to go beat him just from a job security standpoint. If there’s going to be anybody I race with more respect than anybody else, it’s going to be him. It’ll be fun just to get out there and finally share the racetrack with him. It’s crazy to think how many times when I was growing up that I pictured driving his car and that I was him. Now, to finally share the racetrack with him is going to be really special for me. Hopefully I can go and beat him. But regardless, it’s going to be a really cool moment for me. I’m sure it doesn’t mean absolutely anything to him, but for me it will mean a lot.”