NASCAR “silly season” is no longer silly for Chase Briscoe

Calvin Darnell, Staff Writer

NASCAR’s time of year when contracts start to expire is known as the “silly season” because nobody knows what is going to happen. One of the biggest questions going into this silly season was the driver of the Stewart-Haas racing 98 Ford Mustang Chase Briscoe. Briscoe, who didn’t even have a ride this season until he got a new sponsor in January, currently stands at the top of the NASCAR Xfinity Series. 

Chase Briscoe is a racer from Mitchell, Indiana, who has a bit of a rags-to-riches story. Briscoe moved to North Carolina to pursue a career in racing. Briscoe had never raced before nor did he have the funds to do so. Briscoe volunteered his time around race tracks in North Carolina. Working for racing teams, Briscoe worked on cars which allowed him to learn more about them. In addition, he would be a spotter for various race teams earning about $300 to $400 every two weeks. He would sleep on a friend’s couch and pay rent whenever he could. Through hard work and sheer determination, Briscoe managed to get a ride with Cunningham Motorsports in the NASCAR ARCA Menards Series. In his first and only year in the series, Briscoe proved himself by winning six out of 20 races, earning himself and Cunningham Motorsports their first ever championship. 

After winning the championship in the ARCA series, Briscoe signed a large deal with Ford as one of their top sponsored racers. Briscoe then ran only one full-time year in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. He got two wins and finished sixth, but the team he was shut down after that year. 

In 2018 Briscoe finally made it into one of NASCAR’s two biggest leagues. He shared the Roush Fenway number 60 Ford Mustang with two other drivers. The season was more of a stint to try to get Ford into the Xfinity series, as up to that point there was not a single Ford in the series. The season was almost a disaster; the car seemed to crash more often than not and was not performing well. Briscoe’s career was almost over until the sixth to last race of the year. Briscoe somehow willed the number 60 to a win at a brand new track in Charlotte. This was the only highlight of his year. After the win, however, Ford was fully invested in Briscoe. They partnered with Cup Series team Stewart-Haas Racing to field the number 98 Mustang. This turned out to be a very good deal for both sides.

In 2019, Briscoe once again only got one win; however, he turned out to be a very consistent driver. In fact, Briscoe made the playoffs and finished a respectable fifth place in his first full-time year. 

Coming into 2020, Briscoe had only one sponsor. That one sponsor was Ford, and they simply did not have the funds to sponsor a whole racing team for an entire year. Through an act of what seems to be fate, Briscoe’s father, Kevin Briscoe, met the owner of HighPoint. HighPoint is a technology solutions company which happens to be owned by a huge NASCAR fan. The owner recognized the number 98 on Kevin’s hat and pointed out that it was a Chase Briscoe hat. This led to HighPoint eventually meeting Chase and even sponsoring him for the year.

This all leads to now, October 2020. Chase Briscoe has nine wins (a single season record), and he is the championship favorite for the Xfinity Series. Briscoe’s silly season finally came to a close when Tony Stewart (owner of Stewart-Haas Racing and Chase’s idol growing up) signed a deal with HighPoint and Chase Briscoe to be a full-time Cup Series racer in 2021. In fact, Stewart signed Chase to drive the number 14, which happens to be the same number Stewart used to drive. 

Chase Briscoe can be seen as a role model for anyone in any career. He worked for years making almost no money and pounced on every opportunity he was offered. This led him to eventually living out his dream. Now, Briscoe is going to be a NASCAR Cup Series driver for many years to come.