By: Ashley McCubbin
With Chase Briscoe being a rookie in the NASCAR Cup Series, he has been leaning on his teammates for advice. Though entering the lone dirt event of 2021, Kevin Harvick commented it’s been the opposite.
“I think, for me, I have to look at Chase Briscoe and kind of take their lead,” he said. “He’s got a background in it and just know that I’m still gonna be driving a Cup car on a dirt track. It’s not gonna be like a dirt late model or a midget or a modified, but those guys that do that stuff all the time will definitely have an advantage of knowing where they need to go when they need to go and I just kind of have to follow along and keep my eyes open and pay attention.”
With preparations in full swing, the pair had a 20 to 30 minute conversation on Monday over the phone, going over what Harvick should expect to see, need out of the car, and what he should work on through practice.
“It’s definitely weird to have a guy like that coming to me, but it’s neat,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “Hopefully, I didn’t steer him in the wrong direction and hopefully he can have a good run. I told him that it would not surprise me at all for him to go run really, really good there, just the throttle control and all the things that it takes to go good on dirt is something that he’s really phenomenal at on pavement, so I think he’ll be just fine at it.
“Kevin is a phenomenal race car driver, so he’s gonna figure it out and who knows, by the end I might be going up to him and asking him for some help, too.”
For Stewart-Haas Racing, Briscoe is the perfect guy to have in-house for advice despite lacking experience behind the wheel of a Cup Car. He regularly runs the quarter midgets, and took part in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Eldora Speedway.
Looking back on his experience, Briscoe says the biggest thing he learned was you could not drive the trucks like a typical dirt car, whether that be really hard or hung out sideways.
“You can’t do that in the trucks, especially just because they’re not really made to run that sideways,” he explained. “It seemed like the tires struggled to kind of hold the truck out at that much of an angle. There’s still tendencies that drive like a typical dirt car, but they’re just not made to go on dirt like a sprint car would be, so you have to drive them a little bit different. They’re obviously way heavier, less power than the sprint car, so they just race different and the track change is a little bit different, so I think that was probably the biggest thing for me.”
If everything goes to planned, it should be no surprise to see the No. 14 Ford up front, and that’d be a good boost for Briscoe’s season as thus far, he has unable to get the finishes warranted.
“I feel like the first couple weeks, with the exception of last week, we’ve had good speed,” he reflected. “Phoenix, I felt like we could have run seventh or eighth area and we had a 24-second green flag pit stop with 50 to go and it just kind of killed us, so I feel like from a speed standpoint we’ve been good up until last week, and hopefully this week will finally be the one week where we can just get the results because we haven’t really been able to show the results side of things.
“We’ve had the speed, just haven’t been able to execute, so hopefully this week we can turn it around. Obviously, we need to turn it around quick or we’re gonna be in a must-win situation fairly early. We’re almost already to that point, so we’ll see how this weekend goes. We’re gonna try to just go there and do the best we can. That’s all we can do.”