ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Chase Briscoe described 2020 in one word: perseverance.
He, like the rest of the world, has needed to do that on more than one occasion in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the race track, with less than four laps to go on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July, Briscoe was out front, but wheel-hopped at the entry of turn 10, allowing A.J. Allmendinger and Austin Cindric to take the lead.
Briscoe didn’t quit. Instead, he persevered. He hung with Allmendinger and Cindric, and with less than two laps to go Briscoe drove to the inside of Allmendinger heading into turn one to take the lead.
Briscoe went on to the victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, giving the Indiana native a win on the famed track that is less than two hours from his hometown.
Off the track, Briscoe has had to persevere through one of the worst moments of his life when he and his wife learned they had a miscarriage. Two days later, on May 21, Briscoe won at Darlington in the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ first race in two months because of the pandemic.
“I think 2020 in general, expect the unexpected I think for everybody,” Briscoe said Thursday when asked what he’s learned from the ebbs and flows of the year. “It’s been a crazy year. Truthfully, everybody’s year I feel like has been up and down with everything that’s been going on in the world with the virus and everything else. It’s been a crazy year to say the least.
“On our end, it’s definitely been a lot of low points and high points.”
Learning from these lessons is one reason why Briscoe is in the thick of the Xfinity Series championship chase, which moves this weekend to the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
“The key is perseverance on and off the race track has been the biggest thing,” Briscoe said.
It’s been a breakout year for Briscoe, the 2016 ARCA Menards Series champion.
He is four points behind Cindric for the championship lead with the help of a series-leading five victories. Overall in 17 starts, he has 13 top-10 finishes and 10 top-fives.
“Even on the race track, perfect example … Indy,” Briscoe said. “I practically threw the race away with three or four (laps) to go and wheel hop and let Cindric and Allmendinger get by and just to try to stay focused and persevere through it, obviously end up winning the race.
“Just a lot of lessons to be learned on and off the race track for sure.”
It was announced Thursday that Michael Annett will start the race from the pole with Cindric on the outside. Harrison Burton and Justin Haley make up the second row. Riley Herbst and Kaz Grala, who finished fifth last year at Road America, are in the third row. Briscoe will start Saturday’s race in seventh.
The Xfinity Series had the week off last week, but Briscoe stayed busy inside a race car.
He partnered with James Pesek in the PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series that raced July 30-Aug. 2 at Road America. They finished 13th in the GS class. Corey Lewis and Sheena Monk won the overall race and was tops in the GS class. Ryan Norman and Gabby Chaves took first in the TCR class – 14th overall.
Despite the differences in the cars, Briscoe said it was nice to reacquaint himself to Road America.
“Road America is one of the best race tracks as far as road courses go for action,” Briscoe said. “It’s got a little bit of everything between high speed, low speed, tight corners, fast corners, elevation, tire fall off. It’s a really good race track. It’s a beautiful part of the country. It’s like a state park when you’re there. It’s an awesome facility.”
Click below to continue reading.