MADISON, IL. – Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 5th at the Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, near St. Louis.
Chase Briscoe, the driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), returns to familiar territory as the NASCAR Cup Series makes the trek to Madison, Illinois, for the series’ first visit to Gateway International Raceway. Though it’s the first time NASCAR’s top series has competed on the 1.25-mile oval just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis, the track has hosted NASCAR action from both the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series since 1997.
Briscoe made one Truck Series start at Gateway in 2017. He started on the pole and led twice for a race-high 88 of 160 laps to finish in the runner-up position. It was his fourth top-five finish in the first eight races of the season. Briscoe went on to win the final race of the year at Homestead-Miami Speedway, leading to Rookie of the Year honors and the Most Popular Driver award.
The 2021 Cup Series Rookie of the Year is fresh off a fourth-place finish in the series’ longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Briscoe spun while battling Kyle Larson for the lead on the penultimate lap but rallied during overtime to earn his third top-five of the season.
Briscoe is 13th in the driver championship with 14 of 36 races complete. He is 140 points out of first and currently holds a spot in the 16-driver playoff field by virtue of his March 13 win at Phoenix Raceway.
HighPoint.com, the leading IT infrastructure, and solutions company return to the No. 14 Mustang for Sunday’s 240-lap event at Gateway. Briscoe earned four of his nine wins in the Xfinity Series that year sporting HighPoint colors and earned all three top-10 finishes in his rookie Cup Series season with the company headquartered in Sparta, New Jersey.
In addition to Sunday’s Cup Series race, Briscoe will compete on Wednesday and Friday nights at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois, in super late model and sprint car events.
It’s been five years since you last raced at Gateway. Since then, the track has been repaved and you’ve made your way through the Xfinity Series and are now in your second year of Cup Series racing. Are you excited to get back to St. Louis?
“I’m really excited. Gateway was a fun place to race at. I only ran one race there, but we started on the pole and led the most laps. I wish I could’ve left with a win, but it was a good day for us. We’re still figuring out this new Cup car and it definitely helps to go to a new track knowing that I’ve been there once without any experience, and we figured out how to do well. The extended practice for this weekend will be nice to have. I think you’ll see a lot of teams figuring things out throughout that time and what you start with on Friday may not be what you race with on Sunday.”
What are a few of the things you expect to encounter on Sunday?
“A lot of shifting and probably not much passing. I think, in general, races this year have been a lot more exciting and I think that will continue, but I feel like it’s going to be really difficult to pass guys and track position will be really important.”
After the Phoenix win in March, we saw the No. 14 team struggle to finish races in the top-10. Is the top-five run from last weekend at Charlotte an indication that things have shifted?
“Yeah, I think we got away from what we had been doing earlier in the year and we’re getting back to that. We had been able to run up front but just didn’t have what we needed to stay up there or close out the race upfront. But last weekend was a lot of fun. I hope we can keep that going. We definitely found something that works for us, it’s just more about figuring out how we use that everywhere.”