Racing versus reality

Sometimes in NASCAR we tend to focus only on the wins and losses. And nothing makes us happier than an all out rivalry, a good guy to cheer for and a bad guy to heckle.

But then we are reminded that, in the end, it’s only racing. The significance of what happens on the track diminishes when we are confronted with the stark realities of life.

Wednesday night, social media was buzzing over the contact between Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott during the Toyota 500 at Darlington Raceway. The argument over whether the contact was intentional or simply bad timing by Busch was debated throughout the night.

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But in the midst of this controversy we learned that Xfinity Series driver, Chase Briscoe and his wife, Marissa, had lost the child they were expecting. Briscoe shared the heartbreaking news on social media.

Yesterday was the hardest day of my life,” he posted on Twitter. “Marissa Briscoe and I heard the worst news any soon to be parent could hear. That we wouldn’t be welcoming our daughter to the world on December 1st. I know God has a plan and we may not understand it but we seek Him and trust Him.”

While the NASCAR community grieved with them over their loss, reality took precedence as Briscoe prepared to compete in the Toyota 200 race Thursday afternoon at Darlington. It was the first race for the series since March 7 as the COVID-19 pandemic soon precluded any sporting events.

It was also Briscoe’s first race since receiving the devastating news. It was time to go back to work. One can only guess at the strength it took to compartmentalize his emotions and concentrate on the task before him.

As the race wound down and we saw Briscoe fighting to retain the lead with Busch on his back bumper, the NASCAR world held their collective breath until he crossed the finish line to collect the checkered flag.

When he climbed out of his car, tears streaming down his face, his emotions told the story of unimaginable grief that we hoped was momentarily eased with the joy of winning the race.

“This is for my wife. This has been the hardest week I’ve ever had to deal with,” Briscoe said. “When I took the lead, I was crying in my car. This is more than a race win. This is the biggest win of my life after the toughest day of my life. To be able to beat the best there is, is so satisfying.”

Sometimes in NASCAR we tend to focus only on the wins and losses. Thanks to Briscoe for reminding us of what is truly important.

Follow @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.

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