Tire tests may give Chase Briscoe an edge at Nashville Superspeedway

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Chase Briscoe‘s first Cup Series campaign has been a struggle at times, reflecting the down year that Stewart-Haas Racing is enduring.

But the rookie may have an advantage entering Sunday’s inaugural Cup race at the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Briscoe was one of three drivers who took part in Goodyear’s tire tests at Nashville on March 23 and April 20. The others were Kurt Busch and Christopher Bell.

They and the other Cup drivers will have a 50-minute practice Saturday ahead of Sunday’s race. But thanks to the tire tests, Briscoe and his team have, at least, an idea of what to expect.

“I already know what my limit as far as how far I can drive into a corner and just things like that,” Briscoe said Tuesday in a media teleconference. “I’ve already done 30-40 lap runs, short runs, so I know where the car builds and what direction it’s gonna go.

“Obviously, that could be different with the different amount of cars and the temperature … But I at least feel like I know what I need my car to feel like to go and have some speed. We were able to try some things in the tire test and some changes didn’t work as good as others from just the speed standpoint, so just knowing those.

“Other guys, it’s probably gonna take them a run or two to get adjusted and learn the racetrack, where I feel like, right off the truck, I’m gonna at least know where I need to be. So, I think just having that advantage will be good, especially on a short practice weekend.”

Briscoe, Busch and Bell’s work helped lead Goodyear to its tire setup for this weekend.

The left-side tire has been used at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway since 2020. The right-side tire has been used at Dover International Speedway – a concrete track like Nashville – since 2020.

Goodyear reports that the Dover right-side tire’s tread compound is designed to lay down rubber on concrete and increase the opportunity for better racing.

Before Goodyear’s second tire test at NSS, a resin was put down on the track to help the surface take more rubber after early cording was observed in the first test.

Briscoe said Tuesday that with many more cars on track, rubber shouldn’t be a problem. He also believed passing will be a challenge, but with handling poised to be an issue, good cars should move to the front.

The entire SHR stable hopes their cars are among them, and that with the All-Star break over, the second half of the season will be much better than the first.

Through 16 races, Kevin Harvick remains the lone SHR driver in playoff contention at 13th position. Briscoe, Cole Custer and Aric Almirola are far from the cutoff; they’re 26th, 27th and 28th in the playoff standings, respectively.

As far as what it will take for SHR to find its form again, Briscoe noted he and the other drivers are “all just in four different places.”

“I’m the rookie trying to figure it out,” he said. “Cole is kind of somewhere in the middle. Aric was really good last year and kind of struggling this year, and obviously, Kevin is not where he wants to be and where he’s used to being.”

But Briscoe remains confident that the ship will be righted at some point.

“We wouldn’t be having two-hour (competition) meetings and things like that if we weren’t trying to make it better,” he said. “I’m positive we’re gonna get it better. It’s just a matter of time, especially right now – it’s a tough predicament because how much time and effort do you want to put into the current car, when next year, it’s kind of irrelevant?

“It’s a spot I would not envy to be the guys making the decisions, but I know that we’re trying everything we can to make the stuff better this year and it’s just gonna take time to figure it out, especially when we don’t have practice like we don’t right now.”

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.