While the Xfinity Series is taking a much needed weekend off from racing, Chase Briscoe is keeping busy.
He’ll be spending his weekend doing some “pretty last-minute” extra credit work ahead of the Xfinity Series’ Aug. 8 race at Road America.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver is set to compete in this weekend’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at the Wisconsin road course. Briscoe will pilot a PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 with co-driver James Pesek.
“I want to say about a week-and-a-half ago Pat DiMarco over at Ford Performance had called and asked if I had any interest in even running the Mustang,” Briscoe said earlier this week. “He felt like it would be a good opportunity for me just to get some laps at Road America, especially with us not getting any practice on the NASCAR side, so I felt like it would be a great opportunity.”
The IMSA race comes ahead of Briscoe’s second Xfinity start at Road America. He placed seventh there last year.
Briscoe has competed in nine IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge races in the last three years as part of his role as a Ford development driver.
“I always enjoyed road racing,” Briscoe said. “I hadn’t even done it until 2016 and I enjoyed doing it, but I wasn’t very fast at all. I was always three to three-and-a-half seconds off the fastest guy. I felt like I was going fast, but I wasn’t fast at all and then in 2018 Ford had me run (six of 10) IMSA races and then I was able to actually win on a road course that year (at the Charlotte Roval) and follow that up this year winning at Indy on the road course.
“I feel like though my road course skills have gotten way better, I still have quite a bit to do to get better, but I’m definitely way more in the ballpark now than I ever was before I started running this IMSA stuff. Hopefully, that same experience at Road America this weekend will help for the following weekend.”
A week after the Xfinity race at Road America, the series takes on another road course with its inaugural race on the Daytona International Speedway road course. Briscoe has competed on the circuit in each of the last three years in IMSA.
Briscoe detailed the differences in driving his sports car Mustang to the stock car version.
“Even though we’re going there in a stock car, I don’t feel like I’m anymore prepared than the next guy just because they are so different,” Briscoe said. “The IMSA cars, have (anti-lock braking system), they have traction control, paddle shift. They just drive a lot easier than the stock car. The stock car, I feel like you have to hustle a lot more. They don’t want to turn left and right, where these IMSA cars are obviously built for that. When you go run the IMSA stuff, you feel like you’re running a purposely-built road course car, where on the NASCAR side they don’t want to stop good, they don’t want to turn left and right quick good, so it’s just a totally different mindset in how you race, and even the racing style is quite a bit different.”
Briscoe said the Xfinity race next weekend will be “good practice” for the Daytona road course given the lack of practice and qualifying.
“You throw in at least a majority of the field has laps at Road America, where there is only gonna be I think three or four guys that have any laps at Daytona,” Briscoe said. “I think it’s gonna be a good warmup. Turn 1, I think will be relatively easy, but you go into Turn 3 or Turn 5 in these heavy braking zones when we’re up to speed, it’s gonna be pretty chaotic I think, especially from a standpoint of the random draw. …
“I think the oval racing has been pretty exciting just from the standpoint of no practice and seeing guys come and go throughout the field. You do that at a road course it’s gonna be even more extreme.”