MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Chase Briscoe won seven races during the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season, but he told reporters on Tuesday that it’s too early to cast him as the championship favorite.
Briscoe made the comments in response to a question posed by SPEED SPORT during Xfinity Series Playoff Media Day, noting there are multiple drivers he feels could step up during the postseason.
“I would love to say, ‘yes, we’re the favorites,’ but I don’t know if you can really pick a favorite for the title right now,” said Briscoe. “I think this year has been a lot about everybody hitting their moment at different times. It’s been really streaky. You look at us, we won five out of the first 12 and then Cindric won five out of six. Allgaier has won three now, so I feel confident that we can make it to the final four, but I don’t know if there’s really one guy that sticks out over any of the others.
“I feel like anybody on any given day can be the guy to beat, and this series has really been competitive all year long, so I would love to say, ‘Yeah, you’ve got to beat us to win the championship,’ but truthfully there are a lot of really good race car drivers and a lot of really good race teams in this series. It’s going be hard to beat any of them on any given day, so you just have to hit it right that day and hope you can be the guy to beat. I feel confident we can make it to the final four, but once you get to Phoenix you’re going to have to be on top of your game because those other three guys will be on top of their game.
“Whoever wins (the title) is obviously the guy that did the best and the team that hit it the best.”
Despite a stacked field of potential title contenders, Briscoe and the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang team have stood out among the crowd.
In addition to his seven wins, Briscoe posted 14 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes during the first 26 races, highlighting the consistency of his squad as something to watch out for as well as he makes his way from round to round.
With that in mind, one might think that anything less than a championship would be a disappointment for Briscoe, but he said he’s not going to let the playoff outcome define his season.
“Yeah, to a certain extent it’s championship or bust, but at the same time, if we do win two or three more of these races in the playoffs and then don’t win Phoenix, we had a great year by winning nine or 10 races. You can’t ask for much more,” Briscoe noted. “I think in today’s playoff format, you could technically win in the Cup Series the first 35 races and have an issue at the last race, and you wouldn’t be the champion. So, you can’t let the championship define you and define your season.
“Yes, we want to win the championship, but at the same time, winning races is a big deal,” Briscoe added. “That’s what you get paid to do, is go win races and, obviously, win championships as well, but in today’s format anything can happen in that final race. You never know what can happen. If you can win as many races as you can throughout the year, it just helps solidify that you had a good year.”
Whether an Xfinity Series title would serve as a springboard for Briscoe to move up to the NASCAR Cup Series level in 2021 is anyone’s guess, but Briscoe isn’t thinking about that — not yet, at least.
“I don’t know where all that sits right now,” Briscoe admitted. “The main focus for me is just trying to win races, as many as I can, over these last seven races and trying to win the championship. After that, you just have to let the cards fall where they fall. If I can go win four or five out of these last seven, then obviously it makes the transition, if I do move up or to want to move up, easier and makes me a lot more wanted by the bigger teams. The biggest thing for me is whatever I’m in, whether it’s Cup Series, Xfinity Series, Truck Series … whatever it is, I want to do it in something competitive.
“I would rather win Xfinity races than go run a 25th- to 30th-place car in the Cup Series,” Briscoe continued. “I just want to do whatever I’m doing in something competitive that can go battle for championships and try to win races, and right now I’m in a great opportunity to do that.
“I’m trying to just win as many of these races as I can and trying to win this championship, because then it just makes me a lot more wanted in this sport.”
The NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs begin Saturday at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.