TOLEDO, Ohio – Every track’s a new adventure for current ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards point leader Chase Briscoe, and the upcoming Montgomery Ward Father’s Day 200 on June 19 at Madison Int’l Speedway will be no exception.
“I’ve never been to Madison. I know it’s a short track … but that’s about it,” Briscoe said.
It’s not just Madison, though. Any track with pavement on it is new to the Mitchell, Ind., rookie.
“I haven’t been to many pavement tracks, period. My background is all in sprint cars on dirt. Everything’s new to me here – the pavement, the stock cars, pit stops – everything. You’re talking about a 1,400-pound sprint car compared to a 3,300-pound ARCA car. Thirty to 40 lap features in the sprint car, and 200 miles in the ARCA car. There’s not a lot to compare.”
Briscoe is no doubt more at home on the dirt bullrings back home in Indiana, yet his ARCA numbers to date might suggest differently. The 21-year-old driver opened the season with a top-five run at Daytona and a top-10 at Nashville. He also won the Menards Pole at Nashville, Salem and Toledo, and finished a career-best third at Talladega.
After a fourth-place finish in his first road course attempt at New Jersey, he finished 10th in his last outing at Pocono Raceway. As the series gets deeper into the 2016 season, Briscoe finds himself with a growing lead atop the series standings.
After back-to-back superspeedways at Pocono last week and Michigan this Friday, Briscoe is looking forward to returning to another short track.
“I take these tracks one at a time. Madison isn’t even on iRacing so I’ll watch a lot of YouTube races … two or three times to get an idea of the place. To me, it looks a lot like Nashville, with long straightaways and tight corners. I’ll ask people who have been there and see what they know about the place.”
Briscoe has been an interesting story all along. A year ago he was without work, volunteering in the shop of the team he currently drives for – Cunningham Motorsports.
“It’s humbling. I’m truly blessed to be in this position,” Briscoe continued. “Last year, I was going to the shop at Cunningham’s, volunteering – trying to get my foot in the door. Now I’m leading the points. I never thought I’d be here.”
Briscoe admits he’s still pinching himself regarding his opportunities with Cunningham Motorsports, a joint ownership group between Briggs Cunningham and Kerry Scherer.
“To be honest with you, I still don’t know how it happened. I got a call from Kerry Scherer to see if I’d be interested in going down to do a test. Went down to the shop … I told (team manager and crew chief) Paul (Andrews) that if he ever needed any help, I’d be happy to volunteer my time. I told him that, ‘I don’t know anything about stock cars but I’m willing to help.'”
“They tested me at Nashville … and then I got the call to run Indy (Lucas Oil Raceway) and Salem after that. Next thing you know, I got offered the full deal. It’s unbelievable. Me and Briggs have become really good friends … we talk every day.”