TULSA, Okla. – NASCAR Xfinity Series star Chase Briscoe is hoping that his return to his own equipment at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals will also lead to a return to the Saturday night A-main as well.
Briscoe, who cracked the championship field in 2017 and finished 22nd, spent last year’s Chili Bowl in a throwback car wrenched by Flea Ruzic and came one spot short of the big show on finale night.
This year, he’s back in his own Chase Briscoe Racing No. 5 Boss/Stanton-SR11, hoping for his second start in the championship feature after three years stuck in the “alphabet soup.”
In speaking with Sprint Car & Midget on Monday following practice, Briscoe expressed both confidence and familiarity in being back in his own equipment, looking relaxed going into his preliminary night.
“It’s definitely nice to come run my own stuff again. It’s a lot less pressure and just a lot more fun in general,” Briscoe said. “So it’s nice to come back. Hopefully we can get some good results. It’s tough when you come do your own deal. We only race, you know, two or three times a year in general in the midget … and we’re running against these guys that run 50 or 60 races and have multiple cars, so it definitely makes it tough, but it is a lot more enjoyable, at least from my side of things.
“In my eyes, there’s really no pressure if I go run good or run bad at the end of the day, because my owner’s not mad at me,” Briscoe joked. “So it’s a lot better for me. Hopefully we can have some good results and have a good Chili Bowl overall, because I’d really like to be back in the big show Saturday.”
Briscoe’s midget will carry branding from DiaEdge CnC Tooling, the same company that backed him during the recent Gateway Dirt Nationals in December.
Notably, the connection between driver and sponsor actually came about thanks to work that DiaEdge does on the NASCAR side with Ford Performance, Briscoe’s manufacturer in the Xfinity Series.
“It’s really cool how the whole thing started out,” Briscoe said of the partnership with DiaEdge. “They’re actually a partner of Roush-Yates. They do all the tooling that make our Roush-Yates engines on the NASCAR side. And they put on a go-kart event twice a month at GoPro (Motorplex), and they were wanting one of the NASCAR guys to come out. So I went over there … and I’ve been going almost every time since then now. We started talking about doing the Eldora truck race, and they came on board to do that with ThorSport, and after we ran really well and got their feet wet in the racing world, a couple of weeks after they were asking about doing some dirt stuff.
“Once I told them about the Chili Bowl and Gateway, they decided to come on board, and it’s been awesome for them,” Briscoe added. “The amount of people in racing and on the dirt side that are in manufacturing and CNC machines, it’s awesome. In St. Louis, they got two new customers, and then already they’ve had two or three people come up and ask about their tooling. So it’s been a really good partnership … and it’s nice for me because I can send them parts now that actually get made. There’s a couple of parts on this thing that are way nicer than what I had before.
“All in all, it really is a perfect partnership all the way around this deal.”
Knowing that he hasn’t been in the 55-lapper since 2017, Briscoe is motivated to erase that stat, which starts Monday night during Cummins Qualifying Night inside the River Spirit Expo Center.
However, Briscoe also knows that success at the Chili Bowl takes much more than just a fast race car.
“We made it in three years ago now in a different car, but this car is actually the car I ran last year, just for a different team,” Briscoe noted. “We missed the show by one spot last year in this car, and I feel like we’ve made it a little bit nicer this year with some of the parts that DiaEdge made. Hopefully it’s enough to get us in the show, but obviously it doesn’t only take speed, it takes a little bit of luck here.
“We’re starting in the last row in the second heat race, so we’re gonna need a little bit of luck, but there’s a lot of chances for passing points that hopefully we can use to make a little magic happen.”
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