Chase Briscoe heads into this weekend’s Verizon 200 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course with momentum. The driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang is coming off of his third top-10 finish of the season, this past weekend at Watkins Glen International.
All three of Briscoe’s top-10 finishes this season, have come at road courses and they’ve all come in the last 10 races of the year. The 26-year old rookie contender is racing like a NASCAR Cup Series veteran on tracks that utilize both left and right hand turns. So, that makes things very compelling coming into this weekend.
Briscoe, like any NASCAR Cup Series driver inside the top-30 of the championship standings, is in a position to wipe away all of his subpar performances from earlier in the year, and lock himself a spot in the 2021 Playoffs if he were to snag a victory before the regular season comes to a close in three races.
For the Indiana-native, this weekend’s race at the Indy Road Course, could serve as his best chance to pull the upset and squeeze his way into the post-season. And if his first win does come at Indy, it would be really special for Briscoe.
“[Growing up] Going to Indy was always super cool,” Briscoe said in a video interview on the Stewart-Haas Racing social channels. “I never realized how big the place was until you finally got to walk into it. Then you go and stand on pit road and watch the cars come down the frontstretch and go into turn one.”
Briscoe — unlike many Cup Series drivers who will battle on Sunday — has previous experience at the Indy Road Course on this exact layout, as the NASCAR Xfinity Series competed on this track layout last season. But not only does Briscoe have a start on the track layout, he won that Xfinity Series event last season. So, confidence must be somewhat high for Briscoe, as the rookie actually carries and experience advantage over the field for the first time all year.
If Briscoe were to win this weekend, it would continue a trend for Stewart-Haas rookies scoring unexpected wins to lock into the Playoffs.
Last year, a rookie Cole Custer pulled off the feat with a wild, four-wide pass for the win in the closing laps at Kentucky Speedway.
Briscoe has had a decent rookie campaign this year, as he has an average finish of 20th, and he sits 22nd in the championship standings after 23 races, but after this weekend, he could be headed towards a great rookie season, if he winds up in victory lane.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.