Ford Performance NASCAR: Briscoe Dominates for Win in Playoff Opener

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 Fields Ford Mustang -- YOU SAID YOU NEEDED EIGHT WINS, HOW DID YOU GET THIS WIN TONIGHT AND HOW WORRIED WERE YOU ON THAT FINAL RESTART? “First off, an incredible car by everybody at Stewart-Haas. That made my job way too easy, honestly. It was a super fast Fields Ford Mustang and I am happy to get them in victory lane. This is the only race they do all year. The restart, I  knew if I could take the lead on the restart I would be okay but I was spinning the tires so bad all night for whatever reason. I guess that Roush Yates horsepower. I am happy to get all our partners back in victory lane. We have had a lot of wins this year but this is by far our most dominant car and I am so glad I can sleep a little easier this week going into Talladega and the Roval and just enjoy them.”

IN FEBRUARY YOU SAID YOU NEEDED EIGHT WINS. AT THE TIME, WAS THAT WISHFUL THINKING OR THE GOAL THAT YOU NEEDED AND COULD GET? “I knew this team was fully capable of achieving that and even more. I just can’t say thank you enough to Gene Haas and Tony Stewart and everyone that lets me drive these race cars. It has been an unbelievable season and we still have a lot, six more wins that we can try to get and a championship. That is what we are going to try to do. I am so happy to start the playoffs like this. After the last couple weeks we had, to go to Bristol and win and now here is a pretty good way to start our playoffs.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 22 Menards Ford Mustang -- A LOT OF THINGS HAPPENED TO YOU GUYS TO SHUFFLE YOU FROM A TOP-3 SPOT TONIGHT, WALK US THROUGH IT ALL: “Yeah, those deals, you are in a position, especially with some guys behind you that you are either going to put top of three or middle of three and I decided I wanted to be top of three and maybe it would have worked out, I don't know. It is frustrating. I think we deserved to not finish as well as we should have. We put ourselves in that position. A lot of good lessons learned tonight. We made our car better throughout the night and kept up with the track well for the first time in a long time everyone was running the bottom and I am running the top on both ends. I guess it is groundhog day, I don't know. Obviously we got a good points bank but we can’t take that for granted. We have to keep getting better. When the 98 can walk away like that you have to step your game up.”

SPEAKING OF THE 98, YOUR FORD TEAMMATE, HE HAS ADVANCED. IS HIS JOB AT TALLADEGA TO HELP YOU ALONG A LITTLE BIT? “I like the way you think. We will see. Maybe I have to buy him some asian food. He is big into hibachi these days. Maybe I need to get him some takeout a few nights this week.”


CHASE BRISCOE, NO. 98 FORD MUSTANG -- YOU HAD A PRETTY DOMINATING PERFORMANCE TONIGHT. TALK ABOUT THE CAR YOU HAD TONIGHT AND HOW YOU GOT THE WIN: “Yeah, it was an unbelievable Mustang. Everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing to bring a car like that to the opening round of the playoffs is a huge confidence booster. I feel like it is a big statement. That thing was on rails. It was so easy to drive. It was by far the best race car I have had. That first stage we struggled a little bit but were still good enough to get up front and win that stage but after that it was so good to drive. I wish we could have that type of balance over these next six weeks because we will be really strong if we do. Outside of that, I am super happy to get Fields in victory lane. This is the only race they do all season long and to get them in victory lane is a big deal.”

HOW BIG OF A STATEMENT WAS THIS? “I feel like it was pretty big. Anything can change. Every week someone can find something or have a lot of speed. A lot of the races we have won this year we haven’t necessarily been the best car but tonight we were the best car by quite a bit. It made my job super easy and once again, just so thankful that I get to drive these race cars. It was so good to drive. I can’t put it into words. I think it was a really big statement to come out the first round of the playoffs, you want to start off good with a lot of momentum and we certainly have that now.”

IS IT MORE EXCITEMENT OR RELIEF? “Relief for sure. I am not the biggest superspeedway fan and in the Truck Series Talladega knocked me out of the playoffs. Even with the points gap we have, if you get crashed early and run 35th on back at Talladega it puts you in a tough spot going into the Roval where anything can happen too. Definitely going to sleep a lot better this week and I am actually looking forward to going to Talldega and the Roval now. Talladega is still going to be a whatever happens, happens. But I think it creates some situations at the Roval where we might be able to leap frog the field because we aren’t worried about stage points or points in general anymore. It opens up a lot of scenarios for the next two weeks.”

HAVE YOU WISHED AT ALL DURING THIS YEAR THAT YOU DIDN’T MAKE THE EIGHT WIN DEAL PUBLIC? “No. I am happy that we ended up doing it. I truly felt like we were capable of doing that. I knew we had really good race cars and even at the end of last year I felt like we ran up front a lot but weren’t able to seal the deal. Eight wins is a great season but we still have six wins to try to get and most importantly a championship. I feel like this is kind of a relief now because I feel like people can stop asking me about it all the time. It has been a big talking point all year long. I am super excited to get to eight. I wish we could have gotten there sooner. I feel like we gave away quite a few races but I am happy to get back to victory lane and start the playoffs this way.”

WHAT WAS IT LIKE RACING WITH RYAN SIEG UP IN THE TOP-THREE FOR MOST OF THE EARLY PART OF THIS RACE TONIGHT? “I think Ryan is super fast here. You go back to the first race this year and he was honestly probably the best race car and just got shuffled at the end. They have a ton of speed here. It is really cool to see those guys running good. For them, the start of the playoffs, I love watching the guys that don't have the same funding as the big teams run good and it is awesome to see Ryan run that well. He is a really good race car driver and it was cool to see him up front. He was definitely fast for sure.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO DO THIS AT A TRACK LIKE VEGAS HAVING NOW SWEPT BOTH EVENTS THIS SEASON? “Whatever it is that we have as a company here. I feel like we are really strong. even going back to last year. I feel like we were the second best car by quite a bit next to Christopher Bell. This year, obviously we were really good. We weren’t near as good the first race as we were tonight. I knew with the hotter temperatures that we would be better than the first race. I could literally run everywhere. I could run the middle, the top, the bottom and at both ends. It didn’t matter. It felt like I was on train tracks, it was that good. Hopefully we can bring that same attitude and setup over the next six races. If we do I feel like we will be really hard to beat. Anything can change. We have to keep doing our deal and stay focused. This is the first check mark on the box that we need to do. We are on to the second round and that is no gimme and we need to do the next thing in the next round.”

IF THIS IS AN AUDITION STILL FOR YOU, WHAT DID YOU SHOW PEOPLE TONIGHT EVEN WHEN YOU HAD THE FASTEST CAR? “I think just being able to close it out. especially that last caution. It could have gone either way. I wasn’t very good on restarts at all. Just being able to close the deal. I think that is the biggest thing. We had a great race car but there are a lot of times the best car doesn't win. It was a complete team effort. We all did our job to the best of our ability and it was enough tonight. I think that is the biggest thing to take away from it.”

DID YOU BRING THE SAME CAR THAT YOU WON WITH HERE IN FEBRUARY? IF SO, WHAT DID YOU DO DIFFERENT TONIGHT? “As far as I know, that was the same car we ran earlier in February. I know setup wise we were a little different. More toward what we ran here last year in the second race because temperatures we know would be close. We were good the first race but we weren’t as good as what we were the second race last year so we went with that and the weather conditions were almost identical as well so it just worked out.”

YOU CALLED YOUR SHOT. YOU WANTED THE EIGHT WINS AND YOU COME BACK AND GET TO EIGHT AT THE TRACK IN VEGAS WHERE THIS ALL STARTED FOR YOU BACK IN FEBRUARY: “Yeah, I hadn’t even thought about that. It is definitely cool that this is where we got our first win. Hopefully this isn’t our last win. There are six races left and the goal is to win all six of them. Obviously that won’t be the easiest thing to do but we just have to put ourselves in position. You just want to be in the hunt. That is all you can ask for in these playoff races. You just have to minimize mistakes and it is definitely cool to be able to close it out here as far as the eight win thing goes but we are focused on getting more wins. We aren’t going to stop at eight. It was a great benchmark to try to get to but now that we are there we are going to strive to get better and focus on this championship.”

YOU ARE IN A PRETTY RARE CATEGORY OF XFINITY REGULARS WITH THE MOST WINS THROUGH 27 RACES, TIED WITH SOME NAMES. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? “It is an honor. Those guys are the ones that really were the benchmark of this series and who set the mark for a lot of these guys to be like. To be associated at all with those guys is a big deal and very humbling. We would like to win more and get ahead of them but anytime you can have your name with the likes of those guys is an honor and privilege it is neat for sure.”

BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED, WHAT WAS YOUR MAIN REASON FOR PICKING OUT A TARGET GOAL OF EIGHT WINS? “I felt confident in my guys and the ability to go drive race cars. With the experience side and confidence side this year I felt we were capable of doing that. We have the equipment capable of doing it and it just comes down to me doing my job properly and trying to execute all race long and that was the biggest thing behind it. I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t think it was achievable. It is really cool we were able to get there. I felt like we were capable of doing that as a race team and it is cool to back that up.”

BECAUSE THE CHAMPIONSHIP IS SUCH A HIT OR MISS THING BEING ONE RACE WINNER TAKES ALL, DO YOU THINK IT SPEAKS MORE FOR YOUR TEAM AND WHAT YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED BY FOCUSING ON THE NUMBER OF WINS AND WHERE YOU HAVE WON AND HOW OFTEN? “Certainly in today’s landscape it comes down to one race but we still had a great season regardless. I think if anything, just winning races kind of helps make your case if you don't win the championship but we are still going to go there and try to win. If we don't win the championship I would be lying to you if I said i wasn’t disappointed but at the same time we would keep our heads up knowing we had a really good season. Anytime you can win eight races it is a really great year. it is so different with how the playoffs work and how we crown a champion but at the same time the structure rewards winning and you have to win races to get to the Final Four and if we can get there it will be a huge thing for us. I dont’ think a championship necessarily defines if you had a good season or not. A perfect example is you could win 35 races and blow up at the beginning of Phoenix and you would finish fourth in the points. It is all so circumstantial to how your whole year went and we have had a great year so it will be a great season regardless.”

WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU PICKED UP THE MOST OVER LAST YEAR? “Obviously with the big three moving up it opened a lot of doors to go win races. The second half of last year we ran up front a lot and inside the top three or four in a lot of those races. At the end of the race we would get shuffled back or something weird would happen. Like Kansas, we were 14 laps away from going to the championship race. I knew we had the speed last year and with those three leaving it didn't weaken the field but it opened a lot more opportunities to win. Those are three phenomenal race car drivers in really good race cars. Anytime they graduate it is going to open up the door. From an experience level, last year there were a lot of tracks I hadn’t been to before. To gain on that confidence from the end of last year, I felt we would be able to run up front a lot and I didn’t think we would win as much as we did at the beginning of the year. I knew our team had really good race cars and that is all you can ask for as a driver, to be able to try to show your talent and Stewart-Haas certainly does that every week.”

WERE YOU HAVING ISSUES IN THE CLOSING LAPS OF THE RACE? SOME KIND OF VIBRATION? “Yeah, before tha last caution I had a really bad vibration. I don't know what it was. They said all the wheels were tight. I guess it was just that set of tires because once we switched over I didn’t have a vibration again. I don't know if it was just a wheel out of balance or what. It was getting worse and worse as the run went on. I think we would have been okay to the end but it was definitely noticeable and in the back of my mind. I tried to back off the pace a little bit just to try to save it a little bit but we definitely had a vibration before that last caution.”


1st -  Chase Briscoe

6th -  Austin Cindric


Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2020, Issue 9, Posted 11:49 PM, 09.26.2020