Ford Performance NASCAR: Briscoe Wins 7th Race of 2020

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2020

FOOD CITY 300 – BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY


American Muscle

FORD PERFORMANCE DRIVER – POST RACE QUOTES

BRISCOE CLOSES OUT NASCAR XFINITY REGULAR SEASON WITH 7TH WIN OF 2020

Chase Briscoe registered his series-leading seventh win of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season with tonight’s triumph at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Ford leads the NASCAR XFINITY Series with 12 wins.

Regular season champion Austin Cindric goes into the playoffs as the top seed with Briscoe second, but both of them begin the postseason with the same number of points.

FORD FINISHING RESULTS:

1st — Chase Briscoe

3rd — Austin Cindric

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang — VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW — “I am so thankful that we are back with the race fans. You guys are the best. It’s not the same wihtout you guys. We can’t wait to get you back all the time, but, man what a race.”

YOU ONCE SAID YOU WEREN’T VERY GOOD AT THE BUMP AND RUN. “I was so mad after last week. I told all the guys there ain’t no way we’re getting beat today. I was so mad after how we ran last week and I get on the internet all the time and see guys count us out after one bad race and I know what this team is capable of and I’m just so happy to get Ford Performance Racing School back in victory lane. Highpoint.com. I finished second here the last two races and I wanted to win here so bad and it’s awesome that I can actually celebrate it with all these race fans.”

CAN YOU TAKE THIS MOMENTUM INTO THE PLAYOFFS AT VEGAS? “Yeah, absolutely. We won Vegas earlier in this year. We need to take this car to Phoenix. This is our Dover car. This is the car we ran here tonight, so I’m looking really forward to going to Vegas. I feel like our mile-and-a-half program is where we’re the best, and I really want to win Vegas so we don’t have to worry about Talladega or the Roval. That would make our life a lot easier, but I can’t wait to get these playoffs going. I feel like we’re on a really good run.”

POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang — “We had a lot of ups-and-downs. I think we were obviously a solid car, in the top three all night. We had a miscue on pit road there in Stage 3 that really set us back, almost outside of the top 10. We drove our way back up into the top three under green, which I was really impressed that our car was able to do that , so that gave me the confidence we were able to go contend for the win and obviously got the front row restart there and got the jump on Ross. I think the first 30 laps of a run were pretty strong for us, probably lap 10-40 were our best, and about 10 or 12 laps into that run I started losing power-steering while we were in the lead. That’s fun. Let me tell you, I have never felt so helpless in my entire life. I’ve never been in so much pain while driving a race car, and I’ve never probably felt so defeated after a race. I’ve never lost a race this way. I mean, after a while your hands get numb, your arms get numb, your back gets numb and you’re still in the lead driving away, but there are 20 laps left. What a track for that to happen, but I’m not feeling sorry for myself. Obviously, we’ve done a lot of hard work this year and to come into this race clinching the regular season, a lot of positives there. We’ve positioned ourselves well for the playoffs and hope to take advantage of it. I’m pretty hungry after tonight needless to say, but I’m proud of our Discount Tire Ford Mustang. We were obviously really fast and made the right adjustments, just not in the cards.”

CAN YOU DESCRIBE RACING BRISTOL WITH NO POWER-STEERING? “Yeah, I wasn’t 100 percent certain what was going on. At first, I thought I was just getting tight. At Bristol you’ve got really high loads and no rest, so you have very short amount of times to really digest what’s going on, so after a couple laps of that I started to think, ‘Man, am I falling out of the seat? What’s going on here?’ And then, sure enough, the first time you start — the way the systems work, not to get too technical on them, but you can get them sometimes with a very quick correction of the wheel when the pump can’t keep up with your hand movements and that’s when I first realized it was the power-steering, not just me or the balance of the race car. And then from there I had to start positioning my hands differently on the wheel. Instead of being here, you go from grabbing a little further down and at that point it gets really difficult to track the wheel, especially when the racetrack is so finite as far as the grip on the bottom, and then it seemed like it really went off a cliff there. With about 10 laps to go it got extremely difficult. Like I said, my body went really numb for a while and still had the lead. I hung on the best I could. Like I said, I’ve never felt so helpless before in my life. You always love to be in control of situations and that was the one we just couldn’t keep from happening.”

THE CONTACT WITH ROSS BEFORE THE RESTART. DID THAT SURPRISE YOU? “I’m surprised that he cut like hard left right before the restart box. That surprised me. I wasn’t surprised that he tried to rub me back down. I saw him doing the same thing to Briscoe on one of the other restarts as the leader on the top — really shoving him down to the bottom to the corner, so you can get the drive off. I tried to hold my own in the middle of the racetrack so I could get the best drive. I mean, it’s the end of the race at Bristol. You want to be able to take advantage of having new tires, good drive off on the bottom, and he kind of rubbed me down. I don’t know who made contact first, it doesn’t really matter, and then he cut a hard left but at the end of the day it didn’t matter. I think I did my job on the restart and it’s just hard racing. I mean, it’s fun to see the gamesmanship because that’s the things you’ve got to pick up on as a driver watching somebody else take advantage of somebody else, and at least got to try and put yourself in a better position.”

CAN YOU PUT SOME PERSPECTIVE INTO WHAT YOU’VE ACCOMPLISHED IN THE REGULAR SEASON AND WHAT THE OPPORTUNITY AHEAD MEANS TO YOU? “It’s obviously what you work for. I take this racetrack specifically, which is why I’m probably more defeated than I should be tonight. If you rewind two years ago in this same race, I was two laps down before the end of the first stage in a good car, and you fast forward another year I qualify on pole and I’m leading at that same point in the race, and you fast forward another year and were in position to win the race. I feel like this place has been a really true test to my development as a driver. I feel like the car that I’m driving, the setup that I’m driving was really built up around me for this racetrack, so there’s definitely some pride in that knowing the success we’ve had recently with that setup. But, from an overall standpoint, it’s really gratifying. It’s a year’s worth of hard work for that regular season championship. I think it means more to us than it does from a textual standpoint, so that was my number one goal beginning the year because that’s what pays the biggest playoff points. You saw it the other night in the truck race how much playoff points mean when you’re ahead and when you’ve got a bad day, so hopefully we can minimize that and do the best we can to make it to Phoenix.”

DO YOU LOOK AT LAS VEGAS A PLAYOFF OPENER AS AN EXCELLENT SPOT FOR YOU TO START? “Yeah, I think that was the first on the list of the ones that got away this year. I look forward to it. I look forward to making some small gains and trying to have another good night.”

ANY CONGRATULATIONS FROM THE CREW FOR STICKING IT OUT WITH NO POWER-STEERING? “Yeah, I mean the way I see it it’s my job. I know my guys are behind me 100 percent and I know they also know that I do a lot of work physically. I’m a pretty lean guy, but I do a lot of work to make sure I’m fit enough to do these races and more, and maybe I need 10 laps more fitness. It’s so tough to speculate. I’m one of those people that wishes they could have done more, so I’m proud of my team. They’ve done a lot for me this year and over the years and anytime I can reciprocate it’s worth it..”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT STARTING THE PLAYOFFS IN LAS VEGAS? “I think it’s the only solid race that you can look forward and make some expectations for in the XFINITY playoffs because we’ve got Talladega and then the Roval. Obviously, the road course has been pretty crazy, especially on late-race restarts with guys staying out and not taking tires and becoming a really big logjam similar to Daytona. That’s happened at every single road course this year, so that definitely adds a threat, and then Talladega goes without saying. So, I think everyone is in the mindset of, ‘Man, if I can just go and have a really good Las Vegas, I can ensure myself some sort of sense of security for the next two races in the first round.’”

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang — “We started 10th and felt like we were able to get to fourth or fifth fairly easy tonight. I felt like we had a good car from the get-go. I didn’t feel like we had necessarily the best car starting off, but I knew we were gonna be in the ballpark just from how we unloaded those first couple laps. Normally, you have a pretty good idea and felt like we were just a couple adjustment away. The racetrack kept changing quite a bit and we were just trying to stay ahead of that and wasn’t really sure which way it was gonna go. I felt like we guessed right most of the time and it seemed like all night our car was really good on the long run. We just struggled on a short run compared to a lot of guys. I about got crashed at the beginning of Stage 2. Me and Sieg got together and felt like our night was gonna be over and then there at the end just got lucky that that last run went green all the way. Like I said, our car was really good after about 30-35 laps and kind of came to life the last 10-15 there, so we were able to take advantage of it and get up through there and obviously come out with the win.”

HOW TAXING IS IT TO DRIVE A CAR WITHOUT POWER-STEERING? “I’ve run dirt cars that don’t even have power-steering and it’s really hard. You feel like you can handle it for the first 15 laps of a run and then the last 15 your arms, like he was saying, are just jello. You have no strength left. Your hands are starting to cramp and of all places to run without power-steering this is definitely one of the toughest. That explains to me why he started kind of fading there at the end so much. I asked him after the race if he was tight or not because, to me, that’s what it looked like because he kept missing the bottom and if he didn’t have power-steering it was probably hard to just turn down to the bottom in general. So, yeah, he definitely had a hard time I would imagine those last 30 laps. This is a place I would not want to run without power-steering. It’s definitely hard.”

YOUR WIFE JUST TWEETED THAT YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO WIN AND THEN POINT TO HER. WHAT WAS THAT CONVERSATION LIKE? “Yeah, she hasn’t been able to go to a race all year long and NASCAR had it where there’s a suite for the wives. I hate that she hasn’t been able to come to the racetrack and I didn’t know if I was gonna win or not. I said I was going to, but you never really know. I had her send me a picture where she was relative to the racetrack and when I got out I made sure to point to her just so she knew I was keeping my promise. I didn’t want to be in the doghouse tonight, so it ended up working out that we won, but I definitely didn’t know we were gonna win. I felt like I was gonna be pretty determined to win after last week, but you never really know. She keeps getting me in trouble with all these tweets. She keeps saying I’m gonna win every time and then one of these times it’s not gonna come true.”

HAVE YOU GOTTEN A FEELING IN THE LAST SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS THAT THIS IS A WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY BUSINESS WITH PEOPLE WONDERING WHERE YOU ARE WITH YOUR ABILITY AND CONSISTENT PERFORMANCE? “I feel like in this sport you’re always based on your last race, and I feel like after Richmond I always watch the race broadcast back and they’re talking about, ‘Oh, we don’t know what’s wrong with this team or what’s really happened,’ but truthfully the week before at Darlington we led the most laps and were really good and we hit oil and spun out and it seems like people forget about that. That’s where I go back to you’re only as good as your last race and your stock is constantly going up and down just like the actual stock market. I feel like you have one good run everybody is on the Chase Briscoe train or the Austin Cindric train, and then you have a bad race and people start forgetting about you and saying you’re not ready. I don’t know if there’s ever really any true indicator that you’re ready. Every car drives different. Every ladder is obviously different. Some guys adapt to a certain kind of race car better than others. My big thing right now is just trying to win as many races as I can. I feel like if I can go out and keep winning races, then it allows me to keep driving race cars for a living and that’s my main focus, whether that’s in the Cup Series, the XFINITY Series, the Truck Series, whatever. I just want to make a living driving race cars and obviously my goal is to make it to the Cup Series, but I want to do it in something competitive and if you’re winning races it helps you get competitive rides. But, yeah, I think to a certain extent what you’re saying is definitely true where it seems like if you have a couple bad runs, people think you forgot how to drive and I don’t think that’s the case. You just have a couple bad weeks. You’re never gonna win every week and truthfully you’re not gonna be in contention every week. Guys like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, all those guys go on the same thing. When momentum is going your way, it just works out. It’s not that those guys forget to drive when they aren’t winning, it’s just they’re having a rough couple of weeks and stuff is just not clicking.”

HOW WAS THE TRACTION COMPOUND TONIGHT? “Personally, I like it when we can run the top and the bottom. I felt like watching last night’s races the top was slowly coming in — the middle to the top. I felt like our cars were gonna be really able to move up quicker and they ended up re-spraying the track, I guess, this morning, so it was really old-school Bristol. You couldn’t even think about coming off the bottom. Even lapped cars were trying to fight for the bottom just because it was so much slower and you were really out of control if you came off that bottom lane, so I think as the race goes on it starts wearing out and becomes more technical. It’s just that traction compound creates so much grip that it makes the bottom so fast and really hard to pass, and it really makes everybody the same speed for the first 30 laps of a run, I feel like. And then you really kind of see where guy’s cars start going and kind of seeing their strengths and their weaknesses.”

WHERE DOES YOUR TEAM NEED TO IMPROVE TO GET TO PHOENIX? “I think, for us, we just need to not worry about other people, just do our deal. I feel like when we don’t worry about other people and just focus on our car and what our car is doing I just feel like we’re a lot better. I just feel like we need to have a little bit better race cars at the start of the races. It seems like stage points, we had a 70-point lead, I think, or something like that after Indy in the points and we barely finished in second, and we were 70 points down. A lot of that just goes down to stage points. We just didn’t execute stage-wise, and even stage wins we just haven’t been able to do that. In the playoffs, that’s a crucial, crucial part of it. You have to be able to be good early and I feel like, not that we’re not good early, I just feel like other guys are a little bit better than we are and then by the end of the race I feel like we’re one of the stronger cars. I’d say that’s probably the one thing we need to work on is just starting off better. And then probably short run speed I feel like we could be a little bit better on — a perfect example is tonight. We just short run-wise didn’t have it and kind of all year long our strength is really the long run and you never know, some of these races might come down to a late restart with a couple to go. Those are probably the biggest things. I think pit crew-wise and all that I think we’re really good and where we need to be and just got to keep doing our deal and not worry about the points, just focus on our race and trying to win the race and let the points fall where they fall.”

WHAT HAS CHANGED ABOUT BRISTOL FOR YOU THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS? “When I first came here I felt like Salem and Winchester in ARCA were probably my two best racetracks and if you look at those racetracks they’re almost identical to this place and I think the biggest outlier was they didn’t have PJ1 and the PJ1 literally took me until last year to figure out. I didn’t understand how to run it. It really just manipulated me it felt like on what my car was really doing and what I needed it to do. I didn’t realize how hard you could run in it. It just made me really on edge the whole time. I feel like I’m still like that to a certain extent, but if I was at a 10 percent confidence rate at first, now I’m at a 90, so just night and day difference. I feel like I really understand a lot better what I need out of my race car and how to drive that stuff, and that’s the biggest thing here. I always whenever I moved up to the top I felt like I was good because we could run out of the PJ1. I just really struggled in it until these last couple races. I feel like I’ve made a lot of gains on that.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH IT FEELS TO HAVE A CROWD RESPONSE LIKE THAT? “It’s huge. You feed off that, whether it’s pre-race driver intros or after the race when you win. You don’t want to come out for driver intros and nobody cheer for you. You want to hear them. Whenever you win you feed off of their reactions. The crowd tonight going nuts, that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of in my entire life. You feel like you have them in the palm of your hand. Anything you say it’s like they’re just waiting for the next word and that’s so cool, and as a fan going to racetracks that’s what makes it so fun is when the place is going nuts, the atmosphere, you feel the electricity and not that we still don’t have electricity when there are no fans because on the racetrack there is still really good racing, but they’re what makes this sport. They’re what makes any sport is having fans there, the environment they create, and it’s just so fun to be a part of as a driver especially, but even as a fan when you’re out there and everybody is going nuts or people are booing. It’s just fun to be a part of and it just adds to the atmosphere so much.”

WERE YOU AWARE OF AUSTIN’S POWER-STEERING ISSUE? WHAT WAS YOUR MINDSET TO TRY AND GET TO HIS BUMPER? “I had no idea that Austin had no power-steering until I just saw him a little bit ago. I knew, like I said earlier, my car was really good on the long run. It seemed like with about 15 to go our car just came to life compared to those front two guys and I kind of found something on the racetrack and with my brake levers that really helped me quite a bit and I just caught them so fast that I knew I had to make my move quick was the big thing. If I spent too much time with Ross, then I never felt like I was gonna be able to get to Austin. So, I was able to get by Ross fairly quickly and then I was just able to wrap the line so much longer than those guys. I could stay so much lower for longer amounts of time and really get good runs off, so I just felt like I needed to apply he pressure to them and they would hopefully pick up the gas sooner than I would and drive them off the bottom and I could stay on it longer and that’s how I passed Austin. Obviously, now he didn’t have power-steering and that’s why he was leaving the bottom so much anyways, but I knew if a caution came out I was gonna be in trouble and I just wanted to get the lead as quick as possible and try to drive away just because you never know with lap traffic especially. You could have a 10-car length lead and they’d be right back on you in one corner if you caught lapped cars wrong, so that was a big thing for me is getting to them quick, getting by then, and then trying to get as big of a lead as possible just because those lapped cars are gonna try to race you to stay on the lead lap.”

ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU’VE BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT YOU HAVE IN THE REGULAR SEASON DESPITE ALL THE CHANGES THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE? “I think, for us, the no practice deal has helped to a certain extent. Any time you’re with one of the bigger teams it makes it way easier to just unload good. It just makes my job a lot easier, but I personally like the no practice just because it reminds me of sprint car racing, where you can go to a new racetrack you’ve never even been to before and you get two to three hot laps and you’re going qualifying or heat racing, so you have to figure it out quick and figure out how your car drives and figure it out. I feel the same way about this stuff. It obviously makes it a little bit miserable when you’re off because you don’t have two or three pit stops to make it happen, but we’ve been really good about unloading at least close on being able to adjust it and fine-tune it. I feel like it puts it way more in the driver’s hands with this no practice situation, where you have to figure it out. You don’t have time to fine-tune your race car to exactly how you want it drive. I don’t think anybody’s car drives perfect all night long, so you just have to figure it out how to make it happen and then from the team side of things I think it makes it really crucial, at least in our series just because you’re so limited on the amount of pit stops you have and tires, that you better make sure you steer them in the right direction early or you’re gonna be in trouble by the end of the race, so I like it. I wouldn’t be against having a practice at a couple of races like the bigger ones, but I don’t mind the no practicing. It obviously saves the teams a lot of money. I enjoy practice just from the seat time side of things. It allows you to try stuff in practice to see if it works or it hurts you, but there have been a lot of times I probably tuned myself out for the race, so normally leaving it in the team’s hands and the engineer’s hands is a little bit better for me and you just have to figure it out as a driver.”

YOU OPEN THE PLAYOFFS AT VEGAS, WHERE YOU WON YOUR FIRST RACE THIS YEAR, WILL IT BE DIFFERENT THIS TIME AROUND? “I think it’s a little bit different at Vegas just because when we ran there earlier this year it was probably 50 degrees and now we’re gonna go there and it’s probably gonna be about 100, so I think that changes some stuff. But, if you have a general baseline setup that you know works good, you’re at least gonna be lose, so, for us, I think it’s super encouraging that we won there. You obviously have a little bit more confidence any time you go back to a racetrack where you’ve won at before, so I think it’s a good opportunity for us to win a race. I’d love to win that race more than any other probably this year just because it lets you get through Talladega and the Roval without any worries, so I think everybody is gonna do everything the can just to win Vegas because they know they don’t want to deal with Talladega and the Roval the following two races, so we’ll go there and try to win. As far as I know the plan is to take the same race car we ran there earlier in the year and pretty much the same setup, so we’ll see how it works and quite a bit hotter weather.”

YOU MADE CONTACT WITH ROSS WITH ABOUT 12-15 TO GO. WAS THAT CLASSIC BRISTOL RACING OR DO YOU GUYS RACE EACH OTHER EXCEPTIONALLY HARD? “I felt like it was typical Bristol. I felt like if the roles were reversed I would have got the same thing in return. I try to race people the way that I know they race me and Ross races hard. I race hard. My job every week is to pass cars and win races and that’s the only reason they hired me to drive these race cars. I’m not gonna flat-out clean a guy out. I feel like every pass I’ve made this year has been clean. I haven’t wrecked him in any of them. Pocono, I felt like I never touched him. Dover, I was mad after how he merged off of pit road. I felt like he would have been the same way and tonight was just typical short track racing I felt like. If I would have went home tonight and Ross would have won or Austin would have won, I would have felt like I didn’t do everything I could to win the race. I felt like I had a winning race car and would have ran second or third with it, so I don’t think it was anything other than short track racing. I know if the roles were reversed he would have did the same thing. Anybody in the field would have did the same thing, especially at Bristol. I felt like I could have just went in there and shoved him all the way up the racetrack and I didn’t feel like I did that. I literally barely got on his bumper and put pressure on him and got him off the bottom and was able to make the pass.”

RICHARD BOSWELL, Crew Chief, No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang — “Tonight, had to start a little bit further back in the field because of our performance at Richmond, so I knew we had a little bit of work to do at the start. I felt like as quick as he was able to make it into the top five, I knew we had a piece that we could work on at least, so just tried to work on it all night and give him the feel he needed. With 50 to go we just kind of asked him what he needed with 50 to go to get a move on because we felt like we struggled a little bit at the start of a run, and I don’t really think we helped our short run speed with that adjustment, but, like Chase said, our long run speed was pretty good. He obviously did a fantastic job there at the end getting through, getting from P3 to P1, and looking forward to Vegas. That’s been a strong track for us in the past. I felt like last year and the fall race we kind of gave away a second-place finish when we sped on pit road and that hurt us a little bit in the playoff points. Obviously, this year we rebounded well and were able to win that spring race and plan to take the same car back, so I’m looking forward to that, for sure.”

HOW SIMILAR CAN YOU TAKE A CAR THAT RUNS AT A SHORT TRACK LIKE BRISTOL AND CONVERT IT TO SIMILAR TRACKS ON THE PLAYOFF SCHEDULE? “With the flange-fit body we got a couple years ago they’ve made it significantly easier. There are less areas to play as far as the bodies go, so I’ll just say this — we’ve won seven races this year and tonight is the first repeat winner on a car, so I feel like that’s just a testament to our guys and how well they put the detail in to these cars and how well prepared they are week in and week out. Honestly, there are times where there’s another car just as good that we could take, but why take it when we won the race in Vegas? This is the same car we won the second day with at Dover tonight, and that’s why we brought it back. We weren’t planning on bringing this car back, but it ran so well at Dover that we felt like, ‘Why not?’”

DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CARS YOU WILL HAVE FOR THE PLAYOFFS? DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT CAR FOR EACH TRACK? “Yeah, right now that’s the plan. NASCAR made it a little bit easy on us. You’ve got a speedway race, a road course race, a couple short tracks and then three intermediates. The turnaround time is just too quick for some of the intermediates to take the same car back. Obviously, we’re gonna take a road course specific car and a speedway specific car to those tracks and then the short tracks are two weeks back-to-back, so we don’t really have a choice just from an efficiency standpoint and trying to put the best quality race car we can on the track. It felt like that was the best way to do it.”

SO WHERE DOES THIS CAR RACE AGAIN? MARTINSVILLE? “After last weekend we’re not gonna be taking the Richmond car to Phoenix. I think the plan with that car is to maybe set a bonfire somewhere with it, but we’re gonna take a different car. The same car we ran at Phoenix earlier this year we’re gonna be taking back to Phoenix and then we’ve got another car, we kind of switched that up on our guys this week and we’re gonna put together a different car for Martinsville.”


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