In separate states, they were connected by technology and love.
Two days before he scored one of NASCAR’s most emotional victories in recent memory, Chase Briscoe sat alone in his motorhome Tuesday at a rainy Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. He watched via FaceTime as wife Marissa, 12 weeks pregnant, underwent a routine checkup at a doctor’s office in North Carolina.
The baby girl would be the couple’s first child. She was due to arrive Dec. 1, a day after Chase and Marissa’s first anniversary.
Briscoe wrote on social media that he was “wishing so desperately that I could be by (Marissa’s) side to hear the heartbeat for the first time.”
As Briscoe watched his wife undergo an ultra sound, he heard the doctor say: “Now for the heartbeat.”
Briscoe then heard the doctor again.
“I’m so sorry.”
Briscoe could only comfort his wife through the phone. He couldn’t embrace her.
They were together. And alone at the same time.
“When she walked in our house and my parents were there to give her a hug, that’s when I finally kind of broke down just because I knew somebody was finally there for her,” Briscoe said.
Two hours after the race was to have begun, it was postponed, allowing Briscoe to return home to be with his wife.
As they comforted each other Wednesday, Briscoe told his wife: “I’m going to win this thing for you,” referring to Thursday’s Xfinity race at Darlington.
“We both kind of laughed about it, not really believing it, but I told her this could be a huge thing for us. We just experienced the lowest of lows and this could really be a high that we need right now, so I was just feeling that pressure of trying to put it together.”
That day, Briscoe revealed the news on social media.
Many people reached out to them, including Samantha Busch, wife of Kyle Busch. Samantha and Kyle endured infertility issues before having son Brexton, who celebrated his fifth birthday Monday. Samantha Busch has suffered miscarriages since.
“It was really good for my wife, Marissa, to be able to talk with Samantha,” Briscoe said. “I haven’t talked to Kyle, but for Samantha to reach out, she didn’t have to do that by any means, so for her to do that and seek out Marissa’s number — Marissa doesn’t really talk to anybody in the racing world — so for her to be able to find her number definitely meant a lot and we want to thank the Busch family for that.”
When Briscoe returned to the track Thursday, rain again was a companion, delaying the start more than four hours, keeping him away from his wife even longer.
When it was time to race — the first time the Xfinity Series had competed since March 7 at Phoenix — Briscoe admits “it was like I was in a whole other world. It was just weird.”
His focus returned as his car’s handling went away. He worked his way into the lead shortly past the start of the final stage.
As he led, he saw raindrops.
“What if this thing rains out and I’m in the lead?’ Briscoe said he thought to himself. “I knew Marissa was home watching and both of our families were at home, and just feeling that weight on my shoulders of if this happens it’s gonna be a big thing for our family.”
The rain dissipated. The race continued.
As Briscoe led in the final laps, Kyle Busch lurked, his car moving closer to the front and headed toward what seemed an inevitable victory.
Briscoe tagged the wall off Turn 4, giving Busch an opening to lead at the start/finish line to begin the final lap.
Briscoe rallied, squeezing between Busch’s car and the wall in Turn 1. Busch, the all-time wins leader in the Xfinity Series, got beside Briscoe in Turn 4 but Briscoe was in the preferred lane coming to the finish.
“Clear … Clear … Clear,” spotter Tim Fedewa radioed Briscoe. “Hell yeah!”
Briscoe beat Busch by 86-thousandths of a second.
Briscoe keyed the radio to celebrate but only sobs were heard.
Crew chief Richard Boswell filled the gap.
“You’re a hell of a man, buddy,” Boswell said. “You’re a hell of a man. That one is for you. That one is for your wife. And that one is for your baby.”
As he returned to his motorhome in the infield, Briscoe FaceTimed his wife.
“She’s still in not the best mood because of what happened, but it definitely raised her spirits up a little bit,” he said. “But it’s not by any means swept under the rug. This is still really serious for us, and we’re struggling right now.”