CONCORD, N.C. — When Chase Briscoe began his rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Brad Keselowski Racing in February, he had one race circled on his calendar.
That race was the Eldora Dirt Derby, scheduled for this Wednesday at Ohio’s historic Eldora Speedway. Briscoe comes from a family a dirt sprint car racers. His father, Kevin, and his grandfather, Richard, were both heavily involved in the sport and Chase Briscoe got his start racing on dirt as well.
Obviously his career has taken a different path than that of his father and grandfather. Briscoe captured the 2016 ARCA Racing Series championship in his first full season racing stock cars on asphalt before landing a coveted Truck Series seat with Brad Keselowski Racing.
So for Briscoe, being able to return to his dirt racing roots during the Eldora Dirt Derby is extra special.
“This is the one track I’ve been looking forward to more than any. It’s going to be nice to finally get to Eldora,” said Briscoe. “I’ve been going there ever since I was little. Never got to actually race there. My dad never wanted to take me there because it was dangerous in a sprint car and we only had one motor growing up. So it was tough.
“(I) never thought my first laps (at Eldora) were going to be in a pickup truck,” Briscoe continued. “Eldora for a dirt guy is Daytona and Indianapolis. Definitely going to be an honor to run there finally.”
Briscoe’s dirt experience all came in 410 non-winged sprint cars and midgets, but he thinks he’ll be able to take some of his experience and put it to good use at Eldora.
“Just having dirt experience in anything is certainly going to help I think just because you know what the track is doing, you can tell just by reading it and you just know that feel that you need on dirt as far as side bite and forward bite goes,” Briscoe explained. “Just having (a) sprint car background, obviously the truck’s going to be a lot slower than the sprint car and that always helps when you feel like you’re in slow motion.”
Recently Briscoe has been close to capturing his first Truck Series victory, earning a pair of runner-up finishes at Texas Motor Speedway and Gateway Motorsports Park. If he’s going to get that victory on Wednesday, he’ll have to conquer some stiff competition.
“It’s going to be a great race. Obviously, (Christopher) Bell is going to be one to beat. Rico (Abreu)’s going to be good. But Bobby Pierce and guys like Chris Windom, who is a really good USAC sprint car driver, and I think there’s going to be a couple guys that surprise you.”