DARLINGTON – Chase Briscoe is fresh off his fifth top-20 finish of the season as the HighPoint.com team heads to Darlington, South Carolina Raceway for NASCAR Throwback Weekend.
The No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang sheds its traditional blue-and-white livery to sport a tribute to legendary racer A.J. Foyt and the Copenhagen scheme from his 1986 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Like Briscoe, Texas-native Foyt began his career in the open-wheel racing world, making his first USAC Midgets start in Indiana in 1956. He quickly progressed to sprint cars and, in 1958, made his Indianapolis 500 debut. Foyt then competed in sportscar races, including the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans for Carroll Shelby’s team. His first taste of stock car racing came in the USAC Stock Car division, and after less than 10 years of professional racing under his belt, Foyt made his NASCAR debut. He claimed his first NASCAR win after just 10 starts, besting Bobby Isaac on the final lap of the 1964 Firecracker 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Foyt’s racing accomplishments stretch far and wide and include milestone achievements across several series and racing disciplines:35 consecutive Indianapolis 500 starts; the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), a record that was since matched by Al Unser and Rick Mears
Seven USAC-sanctioned Indy car championships and 67 race wins.Seven NASCAR wins and 41 USAC stock car victories.The only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring.Inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame
hough still early into his racing career, 26-year-old Briscoe hasn’t been shy about making a name for himself. He became the youngest driver to win a 410 Sprint car race at age 13, surpassing a record set by Jeff Gordon. And just last May, in a Thursday-night NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington, Briscoe captured the attention of the sports world as he bested Kyle Busch in the first NASCAR event after a 10-week hiatus due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coming off the 10-week hiatus, the NASCAR season was set to resume with the Xfinity Series race at Darlington on Tuesday, May 19, but a full day of rain forced the event to be postponed to Thursday. During the delay on Tuesday, Briscoe learned that his wife had suffered a miscarriage, and the driver returned to the track Thursday with the support of the industry and fans as he raced with a heavy heart. He started 11th for the 200-lap race around the 1.366-mile oval and ran consistently among the top-10 through the first 90 laps. A quick pit stop on lap 91 for four tires and fuel allowed Briscoe to restart in second place on lap 96. The driver from Mitchell, Indiana, promptly took the lead, pacing the field for the next 34 laps. A caution on lap 133 allowed Briscoe to pit one final time for fresh tires and fuel, and another lightning-fast stop put Briscoe in the lead for the lap-138 restart. This set up a battle between Briscoe and Busch, the winningest driver in Xfinity Series history with 96 career victories.
Briscoe would not be denied, crossing the finish line first in a fender-scraping, tire-rubbing duel where the margin of victory was just .086 of a second. The win’s significance was amplified when Briscoe climbed from the car and dropped to his knees in prayer before giving a tear-filled interview. His wife Marissa had suffered a miscarriage right before the race. He said before he left his wife’s side he would win the race for her and baby Briscoe.
When the Xfinity Series returned to Darlington in the fall, Briscoe started second and led six times for a race-high 55 laps before a spin on lap 118 forced him to the pits. He clawed his way back to finish 11th. It was just his third start at Darlington, his first coming in 2019, resulting in a sixth-place finish.
Briscoe leads the Cup Series Rookie of the Year standings by 58 points over Anthony Alfredo after 11 races. With Rookie of the Year honors in the Truck Series (2017) and Xfinity Series (2019), Briscoe is looking to join Erik Jones and William Byron as only the third driver in history to claim the title in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series.
There have been some improvements with the No. 14 team over the last few weeks.
Briscoe pinpoints the key improvements.
We’ve been making baby steps. We have to crawl, then walk, then run. No practice while trying to learn each other and learn the car is taking some time. Each race we’ve been able to look back and see improvements we’ve made throughout the race that has led to top-10 speed at the end, but by that point, we only have 50 to 100 laps to try to get back to the front,” Briscoe said. “As I get more experience and learn what I need in the car, hopefully, we can continue to make progress and shorten that learning curve each week. We aren’t where we want to be, but we’re trending in the right direction, so we’ll keep working with our teammates to see what we can learn. We’re constantly the second- or third-best car out of the four SHR teams, so we’ll try to keep that up.”
Briscoe shares the impact Foyt had on his career.
“A.J. is obviously one of the most iconic names in racing. When you think of racing heroes, he is definitely on top of the list. I think he’s someone that most, if not all, drivers looked up to growing up. We all know I was always a diehard Tony Stewart fan and that was because he was willing to race anything, anywhere,” added Briscoe. “And Tony looked up to A.J. for that same reason. He was one of the first guys to go run Indy, NASCAR, Sprint cars, and Midgets. He just wanted to race and he was always competitive. For me, that was one thing I always admired and wanted to emulate.”
Briscoe reflects on Darlington.
“Darlington will always be special to me. As far as recognition, that Darlington (NASCAR Xfinity Series) win (last May) has gotten me more recognition than any win I’ll ever have in my career – except for a Daytona 500, should that ever happen,” said Briscoe. “That race changed my career path, but it isn’t my best track, by any means. There isn’t a feeling of knowing I’m going to run up front when I get there, but I enjoy it and I know it holds a lot of meaning for a lot of guys. It was certainly a big win for me and, to be able to say I raced Kyle Busch for a win to get that trophy, is something that I will never take for granted. Kyle is one of the best drivers to have come through NASCAR and I will always view that as an important win in my career.”