By: Ashley McCubbin
Ahead of the NASCAR season, several drivers can be found behind the wheel of different vehicles, with their eyes set on gaining experience. Hailie Deegan and Chase Briscoe will be no different, teaming up together to drive a Mustang GT4 for PF Racing in IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Daytona on January 28.
It is not the first time the pair have done the event, doing so in 2020 with a 43rd place finish. They ran as high as 15th before mechanical issues roughly three hours into the four-hour race.
Briscoe welcomes the reunion once again, noting it’s nice to work with someone whom shares dirt experience. While the NASCAR Cup Series driver comes from a midget background, Deegan’s history consists of racing off-road trucks.
“Her lingo is pretty much the same, I feel like,” Briscoe told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “We kind of look for the same thing in a car. so I’m excited to get to Daytona and be with her. This will be the second time I’ve done this with Hailie, so it will be fun to go down there. The last time we were there was the first time she’d ever ran anything on a road course, so now to go back with her, she’s probably ran three or four truck races now and has run some other IMSA stuff, so it’ll be fun to see her improvement as a race car driver.
“She does a really good job in a lot of different disciplines and it’ll be fun to go down there and do a totally fairly new discipline to both of us and go down there and just have a good time.”
Deegan showcased road course skills in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, placing 14th at the Circuit of the Americas. With just three years of pavement experience to her own credit, she hopes to lean on his knowledge.
“I didn’t grow up short track racing,” she told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “That was totally new to me. I short tracked after a truck race, but that’s not the same. That’s something that definitely I feel like we find in common. I feel like that kind of dirt racer feel is to drive in a little bit harder, so I know that his braking points are definitely gonna be that maximum level, so there are some things you just know about other dirt racers and you have that feel and that certain driving style where you maybe overdrive it a little bit, but that’s kind of anticipated when you restart, so I think it’s just gonna make it a little bit easier to understand.
“Our lingo will be a lot similar as he said, but I feel like he’s a good person to look up to and kind of see as a mentor role of being able to be like, ‘Hey, I need help with us or I need help with that.’ I definitely trust his opinion and his experience with everything.”
For both, the added experience turning left and right will be beneficial in knowing both their schedules for 2022 including road courses, with six for the Cup Series.
“Now, more than ever, I feel like it will be a huge gain because these IMSA cars are fairly similar to the GT4 with the suspension, the brakes,” Briscoe commented. “All of those things are relatively the same or at least more similar than ever before, so I’m excited to see how much it drives like a Next Gen car and see what I can take away from it this time. Whether that’s things I can do as a race car driver or even things the team might change for setups or adjustments that I can take back to the Cup side and tell our Cup team to maybe try on a road course weekend.”