Chase Briscoe said entering the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season that his goal was to win seven races and the championship. He felt finding victory lane seven times would make it hard for teams to deny him a chance at a long term future in this sport.
Well, he did just that in the regular season in taking his No. 98 Ford to victory lane seven times in 26 races. In four playoff races run so far, he’s done it two more times as well.
Briscoe, won Saturday night’s Kansas Lottery 300 in dominating fashion. The victory was his ninth of 2020, tied for most among a series regular in series history. It also stamped his name into the Championship 4 at Phoenix in a couple of weeks.
Nine wins, a shot at a championship and a ride with his team, Stewart-Haas Racing, open on the Cup Series level.
“I talked to Tony and everybody at SHR earlier this week,” Briscoe said about the 14 car in Cup and his future with them. “They said focus on this week and we’ll talk about it. Winning the race (Saturday night) is certainly going to help that situation. Any time you can bring a trophy back, it just helps the cause. We’ll see.”
Clint Bowyer announced this past week that this season would be his last. SHR has said all year that they don’t want to let Briscoe get away. He’s a Ford driver and has a contract with them for 2021 but has no ties to any teams right now.
Some speculate that most rookies should just wait until the new car comes out in 2022 to jump up. Briscoe, doesn’t agree.
“The amount of experience you would gain just from running one year, even in the old car, getting to race against those guys, getting to see their tendencies, getting humbled quite a bit and (making) you go learn more, to me, that experience is invaluable,” Briscoe said after his win on Saturday via a zoom call.
“I find myself every time Kyle (Busch), Denny (Hamlin) or any of those guys come into the Xfinity Series, I learn so much just from being around them. If I was able to move up to the Cup side next year, I feel I could learn so much, getting to race 36 races and a lot longer races.”
If the 14 ride is his, it would be a dream come true. Briscoe, an Indiana native, grew up a huge Tony Stewart fan. He followed his idols path right into his own team. Now, he has a chance to drive his old car too.
From Stewart, to Bowyer, to Briscoe?
“When I go back to Indiana in my hometown, my bedroom still has Tony Stewart stuff everywhere,” said Briscoe, who is from Mitchell, Indiana. “I was a diehard Tony Stewart fan. I used to literally dress up in a Home Depot uniform and helmet and play my sprint car video game every single day. And now I get to drive for the guy and got a win at Indianapolis for the guy and won eight other races (this year). It is unbelievable. Hopefully I can win the championship.”