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June 25, 2024

Chase Briscoe to join Joe Gibbs Racing in 2025 on multiyear deal

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — “The opportunity of a lifetime” is now at Chase Briscoe’s fingertips.

With help from his new teammate Christopher Bell, Briscoe was officially introduced Tuesday as Joe Gibbs Racing’s newest driver, taking the reins of the No. 19 Toyota Camry on a multiyear deal to start the 2025 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Briscoe, who has spent the past four seasons driving the No. 14 Ford at Stewart-Haas Racing, will now step into a top-tier car at a powerhouse organization, replacing the retiring 2017 Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. at season’s end.

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“I think it’s the worst kept secret in the sport for a while,” Briscoe laughed, flanked to his right by Gibbs and crew chief James Small. “Christopher, I guess, just couldn’t hold it any longer.”

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Indeed, longtime friend and the most recent Cup Series winner Bell tipped everyone’s hand Friday at New Hampshire when he let Briscoe’s first name slip in response to a press conference question. To finish the job, JGR employed Bell as Tuesday’s conference moderator in the organization’s auditorium, officially welcoming the Indiana native to the JGR stable.

“Since I had the mistake of starting this on Friday, I guess I’ll get to finish it out,” Bell said. “… It is my honor to finally announce the full name of our driver next year, Chase Briscoe, in the No. 19 car.”

The transition to an elite seat in the NASCAR Cup Series struck Briscoe lightning fast. Stewart-Haas Racing announced on May 28 that it would close operations at the conclusion of 2024, placing all four of its current drivers on the free-agent market. Upon receiving the news at SHR, Briscoe wasted no time in searching for his next opportunity.

“Literally in the conference room, I just started texting all the team presidents I knew, and Dave (Alpern, JGR president) was one of them,” Briscoe said. “And just said, ‘Hey, Stewart-Haas let us know today that we’re kind of free to do whatever we want. Would love the opportunity just to talk to you guys if there’s any potential there.’ And I think that SHR announcement got done Tuesday and Wednesday night, Dave had called me and said, ‘Hey, would you like to go to breakfast Thursday?’ And I think I was signed by (Wednesday). So it was a super quick thing. It’s like four or five days.”

The whirlwind has left Briscoe unable to truly process the magnitude of his latest opportunity yet.

“It did happen crazy fast,” he said. “I say that it started that Thursday when I went to breakfast, but like I didn’t hear from him until Saturday really. And that’s when like, Saturday, Coach (Gibbs) called me for five minutes. Sunday, I finally met with Coach, and then he called me Sunday night, said let’s meet Monday morning.

“Monday morning, I sit there, and 48 hours later had a contract, and he told me that I was going to be in the car another 12 hours after that. So yeah, I don’t know if I really had time to process it all.”

Three hours after signing his contract, Briscoe got another call from Gibbs at 7 p.m. that Wednesday evening, asking about his morning plans. Suddenly, a 6 a.m. flight was on Briscoe’s calendar to fly to Missouri to meet Johnny Morris, the founder, owner and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. The quick out-and-back trip returned Briscoe to North Carolina 30 minutes before his SHR flight to Sonoma Raceway, Briscoe said.

“They snuck me around the back so nobody saw me getting on Joe’s plane and getting off Joe’s plane,” he added. “Yeah, like this whole process has happened unbelievably fast for sure.”

Joe Gibbs (L) poses with Chase Briscoe (C) and Chase's family.
Al Wheeler | Joe Gibbs Racing

At the top of the sport’s echelon, an opening at Joe Gibbs Racing immediately became the most coveted landing spot in NASCAR. To fill it, Gibbs himself focused on two things: character and winning. Briscoe is a one-time winner in Cup with 11 Xfinity wins and two Craftsman Truck Series victories.

“The most important thing we (have) is our people and the people that you have on your team,” Gibbs said. “And so for us really here, it always starts with character. You’re always looking at what kind of a person you’re getting. …

“But also, we have to win. So we came down to the end. We think Chase can win. And so that’s where we are and it’s a thrill for us to have him coming on board.”

With the backing of Bass Pro Shops built into his program, funding was not a required piece of Briscoe’s puzzle in coordinating his JGR ride.

“Out of all the teams I met with, Joe’s is the only team that never said, ‘What can you bring?'” Briscoe said. “They just wanted me for me. That meant a lot to me personally, just that they felt that strongly about me in the car. … Joe was the one that literally called me two, three times a day and would reassure how bad that they wanted me in the car. That just made a difference for me personally because it honestly it helped my confidence even just knowing that he believed in me that much, and I haven’t even driven a race over here yet.”

For Gibbs, that stems from a simple need: For his company to succeed, it must win. And by winning, sponsors will continue to happily support the team’s efforts.

“All our people here work super hard,” Gibbs told “We don’t have outside income or anything, so this has to go based on its merits. We’ve got to make it go. I tell people we go to work every day knowing there’s no alternative. This thing’s gotta go. We gotta make it work.

“I do think, you know, when you have the flexibility of saying, ‘Alright, what’s first?’ First is character and can we win. And other things come after that. So we’re fortunate.”

Its lack of reliance on Briscoe’s funding also factored into his perception of the team’s culture, a significant part of Briscoe’s priorities as he evaluated where his next steps would lead him.

“I definitely felt like from a culture standpoint, it was a great fit and felt like what I believe in, how I try to go about everything, it was a perfect fit,” he said.

Gibbs also pointed to Toyota Racing Development for its part in Briscoe’s signing, noting the team’s need for the manufacturer to believe in its new hire’s ability too. That was affirmed in a statement from TRD USA president David Wilson Tuesday afternoon.

“We are very excited to welcome Chase Briscoe to the Toyota family next season,” Wilson said in a statement. “Chase’s proven high character and racing acumen will fit perfectly amongst the talented drivers in the Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota camps. We believe in Chase and look forward to all of the on-track success he will achieve aboard a Toyota Camry XSE.”

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Though the contract is signed and the ink has dried, Briscoe is not under any false premises. Once he gets behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota to begin the 2025 campaign, expectations are to find Victory Lane.

“I have to win. Like there’s no excuse not to win,” Briscoe said. “You have to make the playoffs. If you don’t make the playoffs, then there’s no reason I should be driving this race car. So yeah, I definitely think that you have to win races. You have to be running up front consistently, and I think they feel like I’m capable of doing that. But I have to show that, so hopefully that’s what I can do.”

On Sunday, Briscoe finished second in Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway behind Bell. Briscoe currently sits 16th in the regular-season points standings but 18th in the provisional playoff grid, 25 points beneath the elimination line to advance to the playoffs, which begin on Sept. 8 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.