Ford Performance NASCAR: Chase Briscoe Post-Race Press Conference

Ford Notes and Quotes
Drive for the Cure 200 (Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC)
Saturday, September 29, 2018


CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Ford Performance Ford Mustang – WHAT HAS THIS YEAR BEEN LIKE? “Just going back to what you said about the past couple years it was in this very room where I first got a chance at a stock car. They had the Peak Stock Car Dream Challenge with Michael Waltrip and I remember coming down to Charlotte and had never turned a lap in a stock car, and I didn’t win the competition, but this was kind of what kick-started it. My family never had any money or anything, so I never thought stock car racing would even be a possibility and I just moved down here and was sleeping on couches, volunteering at race shops and somehow convinced the Cunningham family to let me drive their ARCA car two years ago and winning the championship there, and then last year getting to drive for Brad Keselowski came full circle. I volunteered at Brian Keselowski and Bob Keselowski’s shop and now to be an XFINITY winner when I never expected to even get a chance to run in any of the top three series. It’s been such a blessing and I’ve just been so blessed in general, and just to get to drive for my hero Tony Stewart, growing up in Indiana, being a sprint car guy. Tony was my hero and my idol and to get a call from him in Victory Lane and to put that name in Victory Lane with that team is just so unbelievable.”

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WHAT DID TONY SAY? “We talked about sprint car racing for a little bit. I guess he’s in Wisconsin, I’m assuming running the IRAs, so we talked about that a little bit. Him and Rico are up there and then he said really good job and we just talked about how I was just telling someone earlier today I feel like Tony was always really good at road course races just because of his sprint car background and it related a lot, and to be honest with you, today I felt like I was in a sprint car surprisingly. I just tried to keep the tires hooked up at all times and was a little sideways, but just tried to keep the rear tires under me and keep it hooked up. It was pretty special getting a call from him.”

YOU TREATED IT LIKE A DIRT TRACK. WHAT WAS YOUR NATURAL INCLINATION TO DO THAT AND WHY DO YOU THINK IT BENEFITED YOU? “The past couple days I was way off and we were surprised just to make the final round today in qualifying. I knew when the race would start I would get better and learn around guys, but honestly I don’t think any of the crew chiefs or anybody expected tires to be such a big deal and as a driver I never expected to be that much loss of forward drive. Once I felt that, I just tried to make sure the rear tires never spun no matter what I did and I may have gave up a little bit of time coming off the corner, but I’d make it back up down the straightaway and I felt like that was why I was always better at the end of the run. It was just big. Honestly, running Eldora this year helped quite a bit because it did relate on corner exit. It’s pretty special to be the first winner at the Roval and it was just big personally for me. I told Boswell earlier I almost came over the radio just when I led a lap. I couldn’t believe I finally led a lap on a road course because it’s been such a struggle for me, so to be able to win when everybody was on an equal playing field coming into the weekend this meant a lot.”

WHAT IS YOUR SEASON GRADE NOW? EIGHT HOURS AGO YOU GAVE IT A D- AND CALLED IT A DISASTER. “We’re up to about a C-minus now, so we’ve got to keep working. I feel like in the past on road courses I always came in with the mentality of just drive as hard as you possibly can, just drive it to the absolute max, slide around everywhere and it just never was fast. Going back to Mid-Ohio this year, Billy Johnson came and kept drilling in my head to slow down, roll as much as you can, and earlier this week it didn’t really help. I felt for single-lap time you kind of had to get up on the wheel and be aggressive with it, but then after five laps I just started doing what Billy told me – just let it roll as much as possible and try not to abuse the front tires. These cars aren’t really made for road courses and to be driving them hard, so you just have to let them do what they want to do and just roll with it. Billy has been a big help. Everybody at Ford for allowing me to go run road course races on the IMSA side has been a huge help because without that I for sure would have been in left field even more than what I was at the beginning of the weekend.”

HOW IMPORTANT HAS THE FORD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM BEEN FOR YOU? “It’s been huge. Obviously, the cars aren’t identical, but just learning how to race on a road course and how to pass on road courses is such a big key to all of this. I think you saw with both, not only me but also Majeski, we were eighth and ninth in qualifying. At the beginning of the year if you would have rated our road course skills they weren’t near to where they were today and that’s a huge testament to what the Ford Motor Company has done on the IMSA side. We’re actually gonna go run in two weeks at Road Atlanta, so I’m excited to go back now with a little more confidence and see what we can do over there.”

HOW DOES TODAY RATE ON THE EMOTIONAL SCALE? “I would say this one passes Eldora. I mean, Eldora personally was special, but I’ve been really down on myself just with how my performance has been on the XFINITY side and even at the beginning of the weekend, even looking back at the end of yesterday, I was still two seconds off the pace, so just to show up in qualifying today and be within in a half-second to Cindric was personally a big deal for me just because I feel like I rate myself off of Austin when we go road course racing from being a teammate with him at Brad’s and being teammates with him on the IMSA side. Obviously, he’s a really good road course racer. It’s definitely a big deal to win on a road course. I was joking around that I never thought I’d even lead a lap on a road course, so I was waiting for the caution to come out at the end though. I felt like restarts were so crucial, getting a lead down into one. I kept worrying myself and we were already on the radio back and forth about what lane is better to choose. I felt like if you picked the bottom lane and you didn’t get the lead, you were gonna get passed every time just because you’re on the wrong side of the other corner. It was great execution by Richard getting us track position all day long. Obviously, it would have been really cool to win a stage, but it’s even cooler to win the race, so he did an awesome job all day long of calling the race and putting us in position.”

FRED BIAGI, Owner – THIS IS THE FIFTH WIN YOU’VE WON A TROPHY, BUT THIS IS THE FIRST WITH A YOUNG DRIVER. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HELP DEVELOP A DRIVER LIKE CHASE? “You’re not a seasoned veteran?” CHASE RESPONDS. “Far from it.” FRED CONTINUES. “They lied to me (laughing). It’s great. Number one, he’s a great young man and as you’ve seen this afternoon he’s a damn good race car driver too. I would say look for him to be in racing full-time some place very soon.”

WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE BEING A PARTNER WITH GENE AND TONY THIS YEAR? “It’s amazing because of the assets they have and the people they have. All of the people are just really dedicated to one thing and that’s winning and I think it rubs off. It probably starts off I guess with Tony. I think his will to win is infectious and it makes everybody else feel the same way.”

CHASE BRISCOE CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT THIS MEANS AFTER SOME OF THE STRUGGLES IN THE 60 CAR? “It makes you appreciate a lot more. Anytime you’re in a down slump and you come out on top it makes you appreciate it more. Honestly, running that bad gives you even more desire to win, in my opinion. Going back to the ARCA stuff when we were winning all the time it was almost like, not that it came easy, but you were expected to go win and if you won, you won. When you go and run bad, you put so much pressure on yourself to go perform and prove that you can still do it, and going back to this year I feel like my stock personally has gone down because of how we ran at other race tracks and getting caught up in wrecks. Believe it or not, I go a lot by Pockrass’ top 20 list and I’ve dropped significantly on that, so I had to prove myself again. It means the world to be able to get this win and obviously Eldora meant a lot. I felt like that helped my stock a little bit, but I’m a dirt guy and I felt like I was expected to almost be a contender to go win Eldora. Here, I felt like nobody expected me really to win and to just be the guy that adapted, I guess, the best. Everybody was on an equal playing field all weekend and we definitely came a long way. I probably watched two to three hours of video just last night trying to get better just because I was so far off and a huge thank you to Cole Custer. He went through sector times with me in his notes and we went through our on-boards and it was a big help just being able to use that. Everybody at Stewart-Haas does such a great job of trying to make me learn and get better as a race car driver. Richard does an awesome job of doing his part and studying and giving me notes and what to do and trying to help me break down what I need to go faster, so it’s a company win and an awesome thing to do.”

FRED BIAGI CONTINUED – IS IT POSSIBLE CHASE COULD BE FULL-TIME IN THE 98? “Could you loan me four million bucks? We really don’t know what we’re doing next year. I would assume before too long we’ll have some kind of an announcement of what we’re up to, but we’re still working on things.”

CHASE BRISCOE CONTINUED – TALK ABOUT THE LAST LAP. “I was waiting for a caution to be honest with you. I just knew it was gonna come it seemed like and we got to the last lap and with either two to go or three to go coming in to 15 and 16 I screwed up and completely missed the corner. I was like, ‘Oh no, I just gave everything I had away and now I’m gonna have to drive with everything I’ve got to try to pull back away.’ Luckily, Justin wasn’t close enough to take advantage of that, but the last lap I knew I had to get through the infield part and just not go off the race track. It was tough because I honestly screwed up even more the last lap because I wasn’t trying to screw up. I kind of under-drove it and it changed a couple things the car was doing and once I got on the backstretch I just started praying honestly and thanking the Lord, just because I never expected to be in this opportunity in the first place and to be able to win is such a blessing and so unbelievable. I just kept praying all the way around and thanking Him for everything He’s done.”

WOULD IT MATTER WHERE YOU GOT A FULL-TIME RIDE? “My goal is to be, ever since I grew up, was to be a NASCAR driver. That’s all I ever wanted to do was be a Cup champion and win Cup races and prove that I could do it, so for sure I would love to run in the NASCAR Cup Series, but my whole goal growing up was outside of NASCAR was just make a living driving a race car. That’s what I love to do. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do and whatever I can do that in I’m gonna be content and happy. Wherever the Lord places me that’s where I feel I need to be. If I go back and it’s not meant to be for me to be in NASCAR and something else happens, then I’m content with that. But if it’s the way I want it to be, I definitely want to be in the Cup Series and driving for a top-notch team like Stewart-Haas for example and battling and winning championships. That’s what it’s all about.”

PEOPLE FEEL YOU HAVE THE SKILL TO DO THIS ON SUNDAYS IN CUP. DOES THIS WIN VALIDATE THEIR BELIEF IN YOU? “No, I don’t try to feed into that, honestly. I just try to go out and do the best that I can do each and every week and just try to be the best race car driver and the best person I can be and treat everybody with respect. Like I said earlier, if it’s meant to be for me to be in the Cup Series, it’ll happen and if it’s not and it doesn’t happen, I’ve got to be content with that. But I’m gonna do everything on my part to do that and, going back to what I said earlier, I’m just so thankful that the Ford Motor Company believes in me like they do and are giving me opportunities to have a chance to be that Sunday guy, so today I feel like definitely helps that situation, but I’m not gonna feed into that or buy into that. I’ve got to keep winning races. That’s what you’ve got to do. You’re only as good as your last race. We can go to Dover next week and you be way off the pace and people can forget about you again, so you just have to go out each and every weekend and prove your worth.”

ARE YOU SWEATING ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO NEXT YEAR OR NOT? “Obviously, you worry, but like I said earlier I know Ford Motor Company believes in me and that’s everything that I put my faith into and trust. If I can keep performing and winning races, I feel like then they’re keeping me in a race car. I’ve got to do my part and if I do that and it doesn’t work out, then it doesn’t work out. I just have to do what I know I’m capable of doing and keep trying my best and trying to become a better race car driver each and every week and just learning. That’s been the tough thing about running part-time is running once a month and then coming back and trying to get back in a rhythm. Jumping in and out of race cars, going to the IMSA stuff, running sprint car stuff it helps you 100 percent being versatile and learning each and every thing, but it does make it tough when you’re in one car one week and then three weeks later you’re back in it. It takes you a little bit to get back in a rhythm, so these guys are really good that do it each and every weekend. They’re some of the best race car drivers in the world, so I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and see what happens.”

RICHARD BOSWELL, Crew Chief – HOW HAVE YOU VIEWED CHASE’S PROGRESSION AND HOW SURPRISED ARE YOU WITH WHAT YOU WERE ABLE TO DO TODAY? “When we started this weekend we didn’t have the car where it needed to be. Chase felt like he had some improvements to do, so to improve as much as we did is a pleasant surprise, but I don’t feel like we’ve given Chase a fair shake throughout all of this. We ran him at Bristol. We had an issue early on. Even after that he led some laps. We go to Talladega and we all know that Talladega is a crapshoot and after that we went to Charlotte and we struggled. We struggled figuring out what Chase needed at the test and we all kind of worked hard and by the end of it we end up getting taken out on a restart by the 18. We were racing with the 18, so the amount of progression we’ve seen with him from the start of an event to the end of an event is unbelievable. He has worked so hard this weekend and I’m super-proud of him for that just because he takes – sometimes we feel like we’re being too hard on him and he takes it all with a grain of salt and he learns from it. He’s so humble with the things we talk to him about and, to me, that’s what makes this kid the real deal is just the attitude that he has off the race track. I think his talent speaks for itself. We saw him lead a lot of laps last year in the Truck Series and finally get that win. He hasn’t had a solid foundation this year. It’s hard for us and for the guys on the 60 to run different drivers on a weekly basis and figure out everything they need. To have his back, we need to work with him every week and to be able to accomplish what we accomplished today I’m just super-proud of all the guys on our team for sticking with it and especially Chase for continuing to work hard and watch video throughout all of it.”

HOW MUCH OF A RELIEF WAS IT TO SEE HEMRIC HAVE TO PULL OFF TO SERVE THAT PENALTY AND WAS THAT THE BIGGEST BULLET YOU HAD TO DODGE? “Yeah, I felt like Daniel all weekend, him and Cindric, were really the two guys you had to watch out for and that last restart, having Cindric fourth I knew that he was gonna be aggressive, especially in the Playoffs, he knows this is probably his best chance to win just because he’s so good on the road course stuff, and I knew Daniel had been super-fast all weekend as well, I honestly didn’t know down deep I had it. I knew if I could get the jump that would help a ton, just because I could kind of dictate what was going on, but Daniel was better in a lot of the slow speed part of the race track and I was afraid he was gonna get to my bumper and take advantage of it, but Daniel raced me clean all day long. But, yeah, at the end there when I saw up in my mirror that he had to stop it was definitely a huge sigh of relief just because it went from a car being six car lengths behind me to 16 car lengths behind me. Daniel was a little bit better in certain places and I was a little bit better in certain places, but the places I was a little bit better than him it was such a fine line between hitting and missing it. If I missed it, that was the spots on the race track where it paid off the most dividend. Fortunately, the lap before he had his issue that was when I missed turn eight the biggest and that was about the closest he had been, so it worked out perfect to where obviously worked out for us. I hate it for him. They’re running for a championship, but definitely to be able to race with Daniel Hemric and outrun him, he’s one of the fastest guys in the Cup race this weekend, so it means a lot to me personally and to beat guys like Justin Marks who are phenomenal road course racers it’s definitely a special feeling.”

HOW MANY CONGRATULATION TEXTS DO YOU HAVE AND HOW MANY CUP DRIVERS ARE ASKING YOU FOR ADVICE TOMORROW? “I can tell you how many text messages I’ve got. I’ve got 151 right now, so it will take me a little bit to get through them. When I won Eldora it locked my Twitter up for like four hours. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get through all of those, but it’s definitely gonna be special to see the Cup guys congratulating me. They don’t realize it but I look up to those guys and have been for a long time. I still get nervous around them. Everytime I get around Tony I’m a nervous wreck just because he’s my idol and my hero. To have guys like him and I don’t know if Harvick or those guys congratulated me, but those are guys I look up to, so it’s gonna be neat to go through and see everybody that’s texted me, for sure.”

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