BRISTOL, Tenn. – Despite a run of four-straight top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Chase Briscoe is still not satisfied with where his Stewart-Haas Racing team is at this point in the season.
Briscoe, who has earned back-to-back top fives with his No. 98 Nutri Chomps Ford Mustang, cited a lack of consistent pace off the trailer as a struggle for he and his crew going into this weekend’s Alsco 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“I feel like we haven’t had the speed we expected to have,” Briscoe told SPEED SPORT. “The (No.) 98 team has been kind of weird, but we’ve been consistent every week where we literally practice right around 15th-place, then the first half of the race we’re 10th to 15th, and then the last 50 laps we’re right there in the top five battling for the win. We just have to finally be able to put the whole weekend together.
“It’s taken us a little bit of time each and every weekend to kind of find that balance I like, and that’s normally with around 50 (laps) to go … the last pit stop where we finally kind of hit the nail on the head, so we’ve got to start making our practices more efficient,” he continued. “Instead of trying to tune a 15th-place car, we need to be tuning a fifth-place car. Once we do that, we can start the race better and get stage points.”
Even though he has an average finish of 8.3 in six races this season, Briscoe sits 11th in points because he hasn’t been able to consistently run inside the top 10 in the first two stages like his competition has.
“All year long, I think we’ve had four stage points and that’s not very good, so we just have to do a better job of running up front the whole entire race, instead of just the last 50 (laps),” Briscoe noted. “Obviously, the end is what matters, especially in this Dash 4 Cash situation, but in the points situation you’ve got to run good the whole race … and that’s something we haven’t been able to do yet.”
Though he’s a short-track racer through and through, Bristol has been an enigma for the Mitchell, Ind., native over the years, going as far back as his days in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
“This place – it’s weird for me. I love Salem and Winchester. Those were probably two of my best ARCA tracks, but this place I have just not figured out the handle,” said Briscoe. “I feel like once we get up to the wall here, I run really well, but when we’re on the bottom I really struggle.
“I’m looking forward to coming here this year, though. “This is probably the most experience I’ve ever had, where I’ve been racing week in and week out and know the feeling I need,” he added. “I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do this weekend.”
Briscoe is one of four drivers – along with Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Michael Annett – racing for the $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus this weekend, something he’s targeting in a big way.
The highest finisher among the quartet walks away with the money, a chance Briscoe is relishing.
“It would be huge (to win the bonus), especially growing up being a sprint car guy,” he said. “I never did get to race for $100,000, so that’s a ton of money. To be able to do that would definitely be special.
Briscoe already has plans set if he wins the cash, as well, with the money going toward his dirt racing.
“(The $100,000) would go a long way with my Chili Bowl organization,” explained Briscoe. “I’m trying to get a new motor for my midget right now, and if I could do that, I feel like I could maybe give Bell a little more of a run for his money at the Chili Bowl.
“There’s definitely a little extra incentive to try to go win and, honestly, a lot of the money would probably go toward my dirt team to try and make it a better program.”