Rising NASCAR star Chase Briscoe will get another chance to hone his road racing skills this weekend at IMSA’s Road America round where the Xfinity Series front-runner has the No. 40 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 awaiting his services.
With five Xfinity Series wins so far in 2020, the 25-year-old oval ace thoroughly enjoys the opportunities to continue refining his road racing skills in IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge series.
“I always enjoyed road racing. I hadn’t even done it until 2016 and I enjoyed doing it, but I wasn’t very fast at all. I was always three- to three-and-a-half seconds off the fastest guy,” Briscoe said. “I felt like I was going fast, but I wasn’t fast at all and then in 2018, Ford had me run eight out of the 11 IMSA races. I was able actually win on a road course that year and follow that up this year winning (in the Xfinity Series) at Indy on the road course.
“I feel like though my road course skills have gotten way better, I still have quite a bit to do to get better, but I’m definitely way more in the ballpark now than I ever was before I started running this IMSA stuff. Hopefully, that same experience at Road America this weekend will help for the following weekend (in Xfinity). Obviously, with no practice just getting seat time and seeing the racetrack again I don’t think can hurt by any means.”
Making the transition between a heavier and more powerful Xfinity stock car, and the more nimble, technology-laden Mustang GT4, is another aspect of moving between NASCAR and IMSA that has challenged Briscoe.
“That’s the tough balance,” he said. “Truthfully, I’ve ran the Daytona road course three or four times now and even though we’re going there in a stock car, I don’t feel like I’m any more prepared than the next guy just because they are so different. These cars, the IMSA cars, have ABS, they have traction control, paddle shift. They just drive a lot easier than the stock car. The stock car, I feel like you have to hustle a lot more. They don’t want to turn left and right, where these IMSA cars are obviously built for that. When you go run the IMSA stuff you feel like you’re running a purposely-built road course car, where on the NASCAR side they don’t want to stop good, they don’t want to turn left and right quick good, so it’s just a totally different mindset in how you race, and even the racing style is quite a bit different.
“One of the biggest things that took me a little while to get used to on the IMSA side is they don’t run with spotters. You just have your mirrors and that’s hard for me to get used to, not having that spotter. There are sometimes I feel like I’ve got position on a guy — well, when you’re just racing with mirrors you don’t have that position. So there are definitely some differences, but I think just seeing the racetrack and a lot of the time in these cars, I feel like when I go to Mid-Ohio or these other places, hitting this curb or that curb that finds me speed in the IMSA car typically finds me speed in the Xfinity car as well. Hopefully, that will be the same at Road America.”