Notes of Interest
● Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway looking for his second top-five result of the season. Briscoe started off his second full-time NASCAR Cup Series season with a third-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500.
● Briscoe followed up his Daytona result with a 16th-place effort last Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, where he led 20 laps early in the race before losing track position during a round of pit stops. The No. 14 Mahindra Tractors team stayed out late in the race while the leaders pitted to put Briscoe back in the top spot, but newer tires prevailed on the worn-out, 2-mile oval. He enters this weekend’s race at Las Vegas fifth in the point standings, just 16 points out of first.
● Sunday’s 400-lap race at Las Vegas marks Briscoe’s third Cup Series start at the 1.5-mile track. He finished 21st in his first race there in March 2021 and bettered that result during the return trip in October, when he finished 14th. Crew chief Johnny Klausmeier has three top-10 finishes at Las Vegas, all earned with Briscoe’s SHR teammate Aric Almirola.
● The new NextGen car that is designed to level the playing field, and experience from this year’s first two Cup Series races may be just what Briscoe needs to make another run at Las Vegas victory lane. He swept both NASCAR Xfinity Series races at the venue during the 2020 season and both wins aided in his pursuit of the championship. The first win on Feb. 23 secured Briscoe’s spot in the 12-driver playoff field, and the follow-up win in October locked him into the Round of 8. The No. 98 team went on to win once more at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City to advance to the Championship 4.
● In total, Briscoe has five career Xfinity Series starts at Las Vegas with the two wins among three top-10s. He also made a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series appearance there in September 2017, starting third and leading the first 40 laps before finishing third in a Ford F-150.
● Mahindra Tractors, a brand of Houston-based Mahindra Ag North America, continues its journey out west with the No. 14 Ford Mustang team. Part of Mahindra Group’s Automotive and Farm Sector, Mahindra Ag North America is the No. 1-selling farm tractor company in the world, based on volumes across all company brands. Mahindra farm equipment is engineered to be easy to operate by first-time tractor or side-by-side owners, and heavy duty to tackle the tough jobs of rural living, farming and ranching. Steel-framed Mahindra tractors and side-by-sides are ideal for customers who demand performance, reliability and comfort at a great value. Mahindra dealers are independent, family-owned businesses located throughout the U.S. and Canada.
● The longer the workday – or the race day – the more important comfort becomes. Mahindra Tractors offers many comfort features for its operators, including air suspension seats with extra cushioning. At the racetrack this season, guests of SHR will be able to experience that comfort for themselves as the No. 14 pitbox has been retrofitted with the Mahindra comfort seat.
Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
With this new car, is there anything you can take away from Fontana and apply to upcoming tracks?
“I think Auto Club is pretty unique. But with the 1.5-mile tracks coming up, you probably use some of what we’ve learned. Every race is going to be a learning experience, the whole time, and I think anything you can take away from any track is going to be important as we figure out this car and how it changes. I definitely feel like we learned some stuff at Fontana that we’re going to be able to use down the road.”
You got to experience the new practice and qualifying format for this first time last weekend. What did you learn about how to use those 15 minutes of track time?
“I was nice to have practice and qualifying back. With the new car, you can’t really change anything. You can only make very minor adjustments. It is really just to kind of get a shakedown and have a general idea of what your car is going to do when it goes off into the corner on lap one of the race. I think qualifying was something that needed to come back. Doing the metrics deal last year, if you got buried in points, you kind of just sucked for the whole year. It will be crucial for the teams to truly be on their game when they unload. It is hard to do that when we don't really have any experience with this car. The simulators are going to get more and more use and it will be interesting to see what teams hit it right.”