Kansas City, Kansas – October 16, 2016 – As soon as Chase Briscoe rolled on the track Friday at Kansas Speedway, he became the 2016 ARCA Racing Series champion. That wasn’t as simple as it sounds, as weather caused the practice sessions to be cancelled, with the originally scheduled qualifying time being used for practice. As a result of that schedule change, the starting line-up was set by car owner points, with Briscoe on the pole—his 10th time starting there (6 as a result of on-track qualifying and 4 from being the points leader or leader in practice when rain cancelled qualifying).
After enduring what seemed like an eternity when the morning practice sessions were cancelled, Briscoe was finally able to roll out onto the 1.5-mile track to become the official ARCA Series champion when practice began at 2:30. But, Briscoe wasn’t going to sit on his laurels during the finale of the 2016 season, the Kansas 150; he wanted to go out in style….winning the pole and grabbing his 6th win of the year. Though he didn’t win the pole on-track, he came close to completing all of those goals Friday night.
Even though he didn’t get the pole based on on-track qualifying, he did start from the pole, based on car owner points.
When the green flag flew, Briscoe’s team unveiled their championship banner on the pit box, as well as Briscoe’s crew sent him off of pit road with a salute of their own.
Briscoe held the lead through lap 42, when the second caution flew. Crew chief Chad Bryant (who earned his third consecutive Cometic Crew Chief award this season) brought his rookie in for four fresh General Tires and fuel. With Dalton Sargeant taking fuel only during the caution, he beat Briscoe out of the pits..forcing Chase to restart second.
Briscoe got loose on the lap 50 restart, when the leader pinched him down, dropping him back in the field to sixth, where he got tangled up with teammate Austin Cindric and then with teammate, Myatt Snider. As a result of this messy restart, Snider got involved in a large wreck resulting in red flag conditions. As Bryant was coming up with a game plan, if needed, to bring his driver in for repairs, spotter Joe White was checking with the spotters of the drivers around Briscoe’s car. Matt Kurzejewski and Shane Lee reported there was no major damage on the Big Tine Ford…eliminating the need to make a pit stop.
With caution quickly flying after that restart on lap 55, Briscoe had another chance to move toward the point. The green flew once again on lap 64, with Briscoe setting sail for the front…restarting 6th. By the time he got to the backstretch, Briscoe had taken over the second spot and the lead eleven laps later. Once he took the point, Briscoe didn’t look back..taking his 6th checkered flag of his rookie season with a 1.5 second advantage over teammate Cindric.
As he crossed under the checkered flag to complete his rookie season, he screamed with excitement thanking his team for an amazing year. His 6th win had capped off the first championship for his Cunningham Motorsports team, who have competed in the ARCA Racing Series for 21 years.
As they have done all year, Briscoe and his crew worked together to grab wins and now the championship. For one final time, he pulled his car into victory lane and counted on his guys to catch him…as he did a backwards leap into the waiting arms of his excited pit crew. With that move, the celebration began for Briscoe and the Cunningham organization.
In the media center, where Briscoe became very comfortable this season, Briscoe told reporters, “This thing was unbelievable…it was on rails. I can’t thank these guys enough for all of the hours they have put in to this. For Briggs (Cunningham) and Kerry (Scherer) to give me this opportunity is huge. I didn’t know how I would ever repay them…hopefully this championship will be a partial payoff!”
The only thing that remains for Briscoe and his team is the culmination of the season and the crowning of the ARCA champion on December 10, 2016 at the Indiana Convention Center….where Briscoe will take his place in the ARCA history books as the 2016 ARCA RACING SERIES CHAMPION!!!