Joliet, IL – (September 17, 2016) – After leading throughout the entire lone practice at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland track, Briscoe put the No. 77 Big Tine Ford on the outside front row for the drop of the green flag. By lap 2, the rookie had grabbed the lead, only relinquishing it once in the next 72 laps. When crew chief Chad Bryant brought his driver to the pits for four General Tires and Sunoco fuel, under caution on lap 28, teammate Austin Cindric stayed on the track.
Lining up to the outside of Cindric, Briscoe retook the lead three laps after the green flew. The only other time that Briscoe lost the lead was during his second trip to pit road, under caution on lap 72, when he got his final set of tires and fuel. After sliding through his pit line, his crew had to push him back before they could service his Ford.
In the media center after the race, Briscoe called the slip, “just a rookie mistake. I can’t be doing that if I get the chance to move up. Glad I was able to get it back though.” Briscoe’s slip cost him a couple of spots when the lineup was reset, with him restarting 4th. Within two laps, Briscoe’s ‘rocket ship’ was back on point…stretching his lead to greater than a straightaway on the white flag lap.
By pulling into victory lane, Briscoe earned consecutive Bill France 4-Crown Awards for the Cunningham organization. On the strength of finishes of 4th at New Jersey Motorsports Park, a win at Lucas Oil Raceway, 5th at Du Quoin fairgrounds and the win at Chicagoland, the 21 year old Mitchell, Indiana resident earned his second prestigious award of the season. Briscoe took the Short Track Challenge by Protect Plus Award last weekend at Salem Speedway…by just starting the race.
Briscoe told the reporters in the media center, “We’ve just got to do what we have been doing. We are not going to change our game plan. We’re going out to win every single race we go to.” And that seems like a good recipe for a championship!
Unofficially, Briscoe has a 560 point lead in the championship battle with a 28% win rate (5 of 18 races), a 72% top-5 average finish (13 of 18 races) and a 94% top-10 average finish (17 of 18 races)…finishing outside of the top-10 only one time in his two season ARCA career.
Last week, at Salem, Briscoe earned enough points to take the SCOTT Rookie Challenge award. But, the ARCA Series has two qualifications for their rookie award. First, the award has a stipulation that the driver must maintain moral standards befitting ARCA’s rookie throughout the months leading up to the banquet in December. And secondly, in the ARCA Series, an individual driver cannot accept both the Rookie of the Year award and the championship. So, it is yet to be determined if Chase Briscoe will become Cunningham Motorsports’ 6th Rookie of the Year in 8 seasons or the organization’s first ARCA Series champion.
With two races remaining in the 20 race season, Briscoe has sealed up other ARCA special awards during his spectacular season. He has led the points battle for the entire season, with the exception of race 1 at Daytona International Speedway, where he finished 4th. In addition, Briscoe leads the Menards Pole Award (5 poles earned), Valvoline Lap Leader Award (leading 881 laps this season), Fast Track Award and R.E. Lightning Challenge.
Briscoe will inch one race closer to his championship when the team pulls into Kentucky this week for the Crosley 150. They will test on Tuesday before taking to the 1.5-mile track in Sparta, KY for practice on Friday from 12:30-2:00 EST. Qualifying will follow at 4:40, with the green flag flying at 8:00. The race will be covered live on FoxSports2.
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