2020 Season in Review: Chase Briscoe

0 Comments

Chase Briscoe

CREW CHIEF: Richard Boswell

TEAM: Stewart-Haas Racing

POINTS: Fourth in Xfinity Series

WINS: Nine (Las Vegas I and II, Darlington, Miami II, Pocono, Indianapolis – Road Course, Dover II, Bristol II, Kansas II)

LAPS LED: 1,032

TOP 5s: 16

TOP 10s: 22

POLES: Four (Daytona II, Las Vegas II, Talladega II, Texas II)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Briscoe enjoyed one of the most dominant seasons in the history of the NASCAR Xfinity Series. His nine race wins were the most ever by a Ford driver in the series and the second-most ever by a non-Cup Series competitor behind Sam Ard’s 10 wins in 1983. Three of those wins came during a four-race suspension for regular crew chief Richard Boswell (Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli filled in during Boswell’s absence).

Briscoe also earned perhaps NASCAR’s most emotional victory of 2020, when he held off future Hall of Famer Kyle Busch to win at Darlington. It came two days after he and his pregnant wife, Marissa, learned that they had lost their first child (the couple later endured a second miscarriage in the fall). After climbing out of the car and dropping to a knee in prayer, he said it was “the biggest day of my life after the toughest day of my life.”

MORE: Chase Briscoe talks with Mike Tirico about his poignant Darlington win (Lunch Talk Live – May 26)

WHAT WENT WRONG: A stellar year ended on a sour note in the Championship race at Phoenix. After winning the opening stage, Briscoe faded with a loose handling car that kept him from battling the other title contenders. With two laps to go, he spun out to send the race into overtime and ended up finishing ninth – last among the Championship 4.

“Anytime you can win nine races and finish fourth in the championship – it isn’t what you wanted,” Briscoe said in post-race. “But we’ll keep our heads high, because I’m just proud of the whole team. To be able to work with me these last two-and-a-half years from where we started to where we are now has made a huge difference.”

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2021: Briscoe will move up to the NASCAR Cup Series and take over the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. He replaces Clint Bowyer, who will transition to a broadcasting role for Fox Sports. On Tuesday, Briscoe said in a video teleconference that John Klausmeier will be his crew chief in 2021, but that his spotter was still to be determined.