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January 9, 2024

Chase Briscoe clears a path to the Chili Bowl championship finale with his preliminary feature effort

Chase Briscoe on Monday night didn’t lock himself into Saturday’s Chili Bowl Nationals championship feature, but he put himself in a great position to make the big race at the end of the week.

Briscoe, the driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Cup Series, came from 12th to finish fourth in Monday’s preliminary night main event that kicked off the 38th Chili Bowl Nationals midget car racing extravaganza at Tulsa Expo Raceway in Oklahoma.

It was far from an easy night for Briscoe, who started sixth and finished fourth in his heat race before starting seventh and finishing fourth in his qualifier. Utilizing the Chili Bowl’s unique passing points system, Briscoe earned enough to lock himself into Monday’s preliminary night feature in the 12th starting position.

Driving his own No. 5 midget car, Briscoe wasted little time gaining positions at the start of the 30-lap feature, slicing his way up to fifth by the time a caution flag waved with 19 laps left. He gained another position under caution due to a penalty issued to Shane Golobic.

WATCH: Briscoe breaks down his Chili Bowl run Monday night

Chase Briscoe
Chase Briscoe (Photo: Noah Watts/FloRacing)

When racing resumed, Briscoe moved up another position to third, leaving him one spot shy of a transfer directly into Saturday’s championship feature.

That was as close as Briscoe got to the front Monday. He spent the rest of the race battling with Golobic and Michael Pickens for second through fourth. He ultimately settled for fourth when the checkered flag waved for race winner Tanner Carrick.

“Kind of sickening there,” Briscoe told FloRacing with a smile. “I felt like if that caution would have come out with four to go, I felt like I was for sure going to get by Shane for second and maybe could have caught Tanner off guard running the bottom.

“I needed to run four perfect laps on the bottom, and I messed every single one of them up I could. Didn’t do a very good job there at the end.”

With his fourth-place finish, Briscoe locked himself into one of two B Mains on Saturday. Should he finish seventh or better in that race, Briscoe will advance to the 55-lap championship feature that headlines the Chili Bowl Nationals.

RELATED: Watch all 2024 Chili Bowl action live on FloRacing

Chase Briscoe
Chase Briscoe (Photo: Noah Watts/FloRacing)

“Really proud of our Mahindra Tractors guys,” Briscoe added. “We don’t race very often; we literally run like four races a year. So to come here and outrun a lot of those guys and be as competitive as we were is a true testament.”

Briscoe’s night also included the annual Race of Champions, a 25-lap invite-only event that features champion drivers from across the dirt racing world.

After Briscoe qualified fourth, fast qualifier and defending Chili Bowl champion Logan Seavey drew a four for the invert, making Briscoe the polesitter for the event. He led the first dozen laps before Seavey passed him and drove away to the victory. Briscoe faded to fifth at the finish.

“We needed a little bit more,” Briscoe said. “But I definitely feel like we’re really close. This is the best I’ve ever been in this building. So hopefully we can get that extra little bit and be in the mix on Saturday night.”