The point, some argue, is that it would do a driver no good to pilot the current Cup car one year before switching to the Next Gen car since the cars are very different.
Briscoe says such an argument misses a key point.
“The amount of experience you would gain just from running one year, even in the old car, getting to race against those guys, getting to see their tendencies, getting humbled quite a bit and (making) you go learn more, to me, that experience is invaluable,” Briscoe said.
“I find myself every time Kyle (Busch), Denny (Hamlin) or any of those guys come into the Xfinity Series, I learn so much just from being around them. If I was able to move up to the Cup side next year, I feel I could learn so much, getting to race 36 races and a lot longer races.”
That’s the key question for Briscoe, who won his ninth Xfinity race of the season Saturday night at Kansas and locked himself into next month’s title race. Will he move up to Cup next year?
With Clint Bowyer moving to the TV booth next year, it’s easy to view Briscoe as taking over Bowyer’s No. 14 Cup ride next season
But Stewart-Haas Racing has not made any such announcement.
Briscoe admits that after Bowyer’s announcement he asked SHR officials about his future.
“I talked to Tony and everybody at SHR earlier this week,” Briscoe said, referring to team owner Tony Stewart. “They said focus on this week and we’ll talk about it. Winning the race (Saturday night) is certainly going to help that situation. Any time you can bring a trophy back, it just helps the cause. We’ll see.”
The 25-year-old former dirt racer is a logical choice for the No. 14 car.
His nine wins are the most a Ford driver has ever had in the Xfinity Series. Kyle Busch and Sam Ard are the only drivers to top Briscoe’s win total in a season in series history.
While there is always more to learn, is it worth burning another year of Briscoe’s career in the Xfinity Series? Stewart-Haas Racing moved Cole Custer into the No. 41 Cup car this season after he won seven Xfinity races last year, proving to car owner Gene Haas he could win. Custer rewarded the move by winning the Cup race at Kentucky, making him the only driver other than Kevin Harvick to win in that series for SHR this year.
Should Briscoe take over the No. 14, it would continue a lineage to Stewart, who selected Bowyer to replace him.
“When I go back to Indiana in my hometown, my bedroom still has Tony Stewart stuff everywhere,” said Briscoe, who is from Mitchell, Indiana. “I was a diehard Tony Stewart fan. I used to literally dress up in a Home Depot uniform and helmet and play my sprint car video game every single day. And now I get to drive for the guy and got a win at Indianapolis for the guy and won eight other races (this year). It is unbelievable. Hopefully I can win the championship.”