Ford Notes and Quotes
NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS)
Rinnai 250 Advance (Atlanta Motor Speedway)
Friday, February 23, 2018
Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 60 Roush Fenway Ford Mustang, will be making his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut this weekend. Briscoe, who is part of Ford’s Driver Development Program, has had a busy week, which includes testing at Sebring for next month’s Continental Tire Challenge event. He spoke with Ford Performance before today’s practice session about his expectations.
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 60 Ford Mustang – HOW ARE YOU APPROACHING THIS WEEKEND WITH IT BEING YOUR NASCAR XFINITY SERIES DEBUT? “To be honest with you, I have no clue what to expect. I’ve never even started the car up, so it’s gonna be a learning curve. Obviously, you come here wanting to win and you come to the race track every time to win the race regardless, but honestly, expectations, if I were to run top five that would be a huge weekend. I just want to learn as much as I can this weekend and try to put all the laps in. That’s the biggest thing. If I wreck out 40 laps in, I’m not learning anything. I’ve just got to be patient and let the race come to me and not push the issue. I’m fortunate to be with a really good team and a really good crew chief, so we’ll just try to put it all together and see what happens.”
YOU ESTIMATE THAT YOU’VE ONLY HAD ABOUT 40 PAVEMENT RACES IN YOUR LIFE, BUT THIS TRACK IS SO WORN AND SLIPPERY WILL THAT BE HELPFUL FOR YOU? “Yeah, last year I ran here in the truck and I think it was my second truck race and I guess you could say it felt more natural to me because you are sliding around and it’s rough and you’re turning right more than you are left. I think as far as making my first start somewhere in the XFINITY Mustang I feel like this is a really good place for my background to do it. I don’t know if it’s gonna pay off and we’ll win, but it will certainly be a good place to learn. I don’t think you’re ever gonna run anywhere harder than here as far as how hard it is to make a lap here, so it’ll be fun. It’s gonna be a good weekend, I think. My crew chief, Mike Kelley, has had a lot of good experience with Ricky Stenhouse, who has the exact same background as me, so I think that’s gonna play well for us.”
YOU’RE GOING TO MEET WITH KEVIN HARVICK TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THIS TRACK. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE RESOURCES LIKE THAT WITHIN THE FORD TEAM TO GET FEEDBACK FROM? “It’s huge. I’ve never even met Kevin Harvick and, to me, he’s the best there is at this place, so it’s gonna be a huge opportunity for me just to be able to talk to him for five or 10 minutes. Obviously, driving for Brad last year and being able to still talk with Brad on a pretty consistent is helpful and then having the Roush connection with Ricky Stenhouse is great. I’ve got a lot of drivers that are really in my corner and it’s been huge for me to just shorten that learning curve up.”
CHASE BRISCOE CONTINUED — YOU WERE TESTING AT SEBRING THIS WEEK FOR THE CONTINENTAL TIRE SPORTSCAR CHALLENGE EVENT NEXT MONTH, SO HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET BACK INTO THE STOCK CAR MODE? “It’s been a busy two weeks, I know that much. From Daytona last Wednesday until today I think I’ve been at my house one time. It’s been busy, but Sebring is a cool place. That’s one thing I really struggle with is road course stuff, so for Ford to be able to give me that opportunity to go, whether it’s Sebring or Watkins Glen, it’s been huge in trying to shorten my learning curve up for the road course stuff. Sebring will be a challenge when we go back to race, but testing was certainly a blast.”
HOW DO YOU LIKE THIS BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN SERIES? “The cars obviously drive a little bit different, but the biggest thing to me from a road course standpoint is that there are so many techniques that go into what makes you really good. Those are things that I had no clue how to do or what to do, so to be able to learn those techniques, whether it’s from Scott Maxwell or Austin Cindric or anybody on the road course side, it’s been a really big deal and a huge learning curve for me. It’s been a big help honestly to go do that and I think it’s gonna pay dividends when I do get in the XFINITY Mustang on the road courses. All the way throughout my career getting laps and just learning these road courses is half the battle, so to be able to do that, whether it’s in a Mustang or a stock car, is a big deal.”
SO WHAT EMOTIONS DO YOU HAVE NOW AS YOU GET READY FOR THE WEEKEND? “Honestly, it’s been on my mind for the past month. I think the biggest thing I’m nervous about is I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never tested one of these cars, so I don’t know. The truck deal is pretty simple because when you got to the race track you knew you were probably gonna be wide-open the first couple of laps, but with this I don’t know what it’s going to do. That’s the biggest thing for me. I think we’re gonna be competitive and I think we can go battle and run up front, but that’s the biggest thing for me is I don’t know what to expect in practice and what to do the first couple of laps. Hopefully, I can shorten that distance up and the first couple of laps can be easy and we can start working on the car and see what we’ve got.”
Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Fusion, is the defending winner of this weekend’s Folds of Honor 500. He came into the infield media center before practice to talk about what to expect in Sunday’s race.
BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Fusion – YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING INTO THIS WEEKEND? “Obviously, last year when you win that’s a lot of fun. I’m glad we won and they didn’t repave the race track. That’s cool. Usually, that’s how that goes. You win, you finally figure a place out and they reconfigure it, so that didn’t happen, which I’m happy about. I’m not really entirely sure what to expect. I was doing a spot yesterday on the Fox show, Race Hub, and somehow I ended up next to Chad Knaus and we were talking about Atlanta expectations and we both looked at each other and were like, ‘I have no idea what to expect.’ We could come here and be the best car or we could come here and run 15th all day. I don’t know. I could see it going either of the two ways, so with respect to that, there’s a lot of reasons for it. The new rules, first race on a mile-and-a-half, Atlanta is kind of its own animal in a lot of different ways of the mile-and-a-halves because of the tire wear requires unique car setups. It’s really a hard track to have a great answer for your level of competitiveness entering the weekend even if you had been in the middle of the season and we’re not, we’re at the start of the season, so it’s a bit of an open weekend for a team to come and take and run with and hopefully we can do that like we did last year.”
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK THE NEW INSPECTION SYSTEM WILL CAUSE PROBLEMS TODAY? “I don’t know. It’s my understanding that it has a knob on it for how sensitive it can be and it really depends on where the knob is set. I don’t know how to really define how all of that works. It’s got a special name and I don’t even know the special name for it, so I need an education on that one. I don’t know. That’s part of the wildcard, unique factor of this weekend that I don’t think we can give a great answer on.”
IT’S CALLED THE OPTICAL SCANNING STATION. “Optical Scanning Station, OSS, a military term. Wasn’t that the CIA before it was the CIA. Wasn’t that the OSS?”
DAYTONA WAS A LITTLE BIT CRAZY. WILL WE SEE THAT AT TALLADEGA AS WELL? “I haven’t spent a lot of time looking in the rearview mirror at Daytona because I can’t change it. I can’t change the results, I can’t change what happened, but the way plate racing generally works is we have about six races there a year – two at Talladega and four at Daytona if you count the Duels and the Clash, and it seems like there are ebbs and flows to it. You get three or four in a row that are just complete crashfests with no rhythm or rhyme to it, and then you’ll get three or four in a row that are not crashfests, where there is a rhythm and a flow and all those great things to it and we can kind of make something happen. The Clash felt like it had good rhythm and we could kind of work through it and make things happen, and by the time we got to the 500 it was just a free-for-all, and there was no real rhyme or reason why that race was what it was. It was just kind of a crashfest, so I kind of approach those weekends knowing that, knowing that any race can be any one of those and try not to let it break your heart when it is one of those because it certainly is frustrating.
BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED – “Looking back at Daytona, I was happy to at least win one of the races there and it’s probably pretty unrealistic to expect anyone to be able to sweep that, but we would have loved to and it didn’t come together. That’s just the way it is. I hate to see all the torn-up race cars and all that stuff you guys already know that, but it is what it is and you just kind of move on and come to Atlanta.”
YOU HAVEN’T RULED OUT OWNING A CUP TEAM AT ONE POINT IN YOUR LIFE. DOES IT MATTER TO YOU WHEN YOU SEE NO OPEN CARS HERE AND JUST THE 36 CHARTER CARS? “I don’t know if I have made my opinion up on that. There are some parts of me that thinks it’s awful and some parts of me that thinks it kind of makes sense. I think we were in a spot before in this sport where it didn’t really make sense 10 years ago when we sent home guys with great sponsors and they didn’t get to race. I thought that was terrible, and then I’ve decided it doesn’t make perfect sense to me to not have a full field, so I don’t know. Both sides of it I can completely understand, so I don’t know if there’s a right answer for this sport. I know that we are lucky enough to have second and third-tier series that provide an opportunity for anyone to show up and have a place to race. You would prefer to see those series utilized, but I do feel like NASCAR racing is at its best at 40-car fields.”
HOW INVOLVED TO YOU EXPECT THE DRIVER’S COUNCIL TO BE WHEN IT COMES TIME TO REPAVE OR RESURFACE THIS ATLANTA TRACK? “What do I expect? I don’t expect a lot. What we would probably like would be a lot. Of all the tracks we go to this would probably be the hardest track to repave because of its design and its layout, the car configuration as it stands today doesn’t really lend itself to what this track would look like if it was repaved, but it does lend itself to where it is in this current configuration of worn-out, really bumpy asphalt. This car fits this track pretty well, and I’m kind of stealing this from Kevin Harvick, I don’t think it’s just as simple as repaving Atlanta, I think it’s a much more complicated equation than just putting down new asphalt in order to ensure the high quality of racing that this track has right now.”
IN WHAT WAY MAKES IT MORE COMPLICATED? “What makes it so complicated to just repave it is because right now you have some dynamic features to the track with the bumps, the worn-out pavement. This track has just so many unique features that would be erased if you just repaved it from the way that the top lane seams in to the backstretch. I always think this is funny about this track, but whenever they re-did it in 1997 I think the guy that was driving the pavement truck was maybe not in the soberest of moods because when they paved the bottom lane it’s like he went down in the corner and went (back and forth). It does all these like kicks to it, so it’s not a concentric lane – is that right? It’s not a perfectly done lane like in a radius, and because it has all of those little kicks to it it’s like riding a bull in the race car. You get right down on that edge and it kicks you back-and-forth and it makes for great racing because it just makes the car a real bear to drive and makes the setup really hard for the crew chiefs as well. That would be extremely hard to duplicate when you repave it, among other features like the bumps and transitions. It’s been my experience when we just try to repave a track that those things always get missed. They always get left out. Michigan is a perfect example of that.
BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED – “Michigan, before it was repaved, was just a phenomenal multi-groove race track that you could run the top, the bottom and the middle. Now, we’ve been there for almost a half-dozen years since it’s been repaved and we’re stuck in one lane still and that just shows that the technology that was used in that day and time for paving the tracks, whether it be the equipment or the aggregates and so forth, we can’t seem to get back to it. That’s another one of the challenges as well, so there’s a whole list of challenges that make it much more complicated than just simply repaving the track.”
OSS, OFFICE OF STRATEGIC SERVICES. SO THE EFI DATA THEY’RE MAKING AVAILABLE NOW. YOUR TEAM WASN’T SCRAPING THAT SO HAVE YOU DEVELOPED A PROCESS FOR IT AND WILL YOU USE IT, AND DO YOU THINK IT WILL HAVE AN IMPACT ON THIS RACE? “I don’t know. That’s one of the wildcards to this weekend. I don’t know the quality that we’re gonna receive from that. There’s a really, really technical, complicated discussion that goes with it. In theory, I’m against it. In practice perhaps different and I haven’t seen it in practice, so I kind of want to see it in practice and without having a full answer to that, I don’t feel like it’s fair for me to say. My intuition says that in theory it will work, in practice it won’t, so I really would like to get through a couple weekends of seeing it because at this point in time the little bit of access that I’ve had to it, which has been minimal at best, says that it’s probably not gonna work in practice and we won’t have to worry about it. It’s kind of a non-story, but I could be completely wrong, so I want to see it in a working environment rather than an engineering lab.”
YOU HAVE TWO WINS AT BRISTOL AND SEEM TO RUN WELL THERE CONSISTENTLY. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET THE HANG OF THAT PLACE AND WHY DOES IT SEEM TO SUIT YOU? “I love Bristol. I loved it a lot before they ground the top lane. I kind of really loathed that part, but looking back at Bristol, Bristol is one of those tracks I came into as a rookie in 2007, 2008 it was reconfigured at that point in time, so I feel like from an experience standpoint I was kind of on an even keel to all of the other drivers, and it’s a track that I just embraced the challenge. I like the challenge. I like tracks like that which are a completely in-your-face track, that challenges you by yourself let alone around other cars. I took a lot of pride in going there and running well. Along with that our team, and Paul Wolfe specifically, developed some really great setups and cars to run there. Unfortunately, when the track got ground in 2012 we had just won two or three races there and we just never really caught on to it when they ground the track. So that was really a bummer and hopefully we’ll figure it back out. We’ve got a couple decent finishes there since then, but also a lot of bad finishes, so it’s a track that has kind of been hit-or-miss for us. It was kind of a guaranteed go to and run well track for us for probably two or three years and then it’s been changed a couple times and we haven’t caught on to it as well. Now it’s kind of turned into a wildcard track for us, but we still are very proud of the success we’ve had there.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED — VEGAS IS NEXT WEEK. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS GOING THERE? “Vegas has been a good track for us. We’ve won two of the last four and probably should have won there last year and had part failure leading in the last few laps, so I think there’s a little bit of redemption we’re looking for. We tested there this past January and learned a few things that hopefully we can apply this weekend and that weekend as well. I think we’re pretty optimistic going into that race. It’s a track that’s been good for us with the success and gives us good confidence.”
THERE WERE A LOT OF SPEEDING PENALITIES IN THIS RACE A YEAR AGO. ANY THOUGHTS? “I didn’t have one here last year, but this is a really tough pit road. It’s bumpy, kind of like the race track, which makes it to where the in-car telemetry really struggles to give great feedback and great data. If you’re pushing at the limit and you lose your dash, it’s very difficult and very easy to go over the speed. It’s difficult to monitor but very easy to go over the speed limit. I would imagine that played a pretty heavy factor in it and it’s just one of those tracks that I feel like when you come to you have to be pretty conservative as a driver to avoid a speeding penalty.”
AFTER THE WRECK YOU AND CHASE WEREN’T HAPPY. DID YOU DO ANY DAMAGE CONTROL? “Not that I’m aware of. I don’t know. We’ll probably figure it out here in the next few weeks.”