Chase Briscoe goes to ‘different level’ at home track of Indianapolis

Chase Briscoe waits on grid
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A year after nearly scoring his first-career Cup Series win at his home race track of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Chase Briscoe returns for his second Cup race on the road-course layout.

There’s already a specific prestige racing at Indianapolis for any driver, but for a Hoosier like Briscoe, he said there’s a feeling different than anything else.

“It’s a different type of pressure,” Briscoe said. “I’ve joked around with Tony (Stewart) about it but you just go to this different level. It’s weird. I wish I could do it at other race tracks, but I feel like you’re so determined every time you go there and to put on for the state of Indiana.

“I remember just going there and dreaming about what it would be like to be on the other side of the fence and now to be on the other side is special.”

As results go, Briscoe certainly backs up going to that different level as he scored two top 10s on the oval layout in the Xfinity Series before winning the inaugural event on the road-course layout in 2020. Last season, Briscoe led 12 laps in the Cup Series’ debut on the road course and was in contention for the win late but was penalized for cutting the course in a tight battle with Denny Hamlin that led him to settle for a 26th-place result.

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Entering Sunday, Briscoe is in a much different situation when it comes to the playoff picture.

Last season at Indy, the 27-year-old was in a must-win situation to reach the playoffs. That’s not the case this year because, in March, Briscoe scored his first Cup win at Phoenix Raceway. While a win initially guarantees drivers a playoff spot, there have already been 14 drivers to score a win and secure one of the 16 positions for the postseason.

With five races still remaining for the playoffs, there’s a scenario where more than 16 drivers could win a race before the playoffs begin. Briscoe could be the odd man out if that were to occur as he’s toward the bottom of single-race winners in points. He will enter Sunday two points ahead of Kurt Busch in what could be a points battle for playoff position.

“It definitely makes it hard from a strategy standpoint,” Briscoe said. “We kinda have to go for points during the stages which, in turn, can make it harder to win the race. We feel like we have a chance to win but you have to take those guaranteed points. We will have to figure it out as the day goes on unlike last year, where we were in a must-win situation.”

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” … If you grow up in motorsports, you dream of going to Indianapolis. That’s the one place you want to race at and it’s probably the most prestigious racetrack in the world.”

Sunday’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard is scheduled at 2:30 p.m. ET and can be viewed on NBC and the NBC Sports App, and can be listened to on IMS Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.