News & Multimedia

NASCAR Stars Briscoe, Haley Still Proud of Making Hoosier History at IMS

Incredible inaugural finishes have always been an Indianapolis Motor Speedway tradition.

True to form, Chase Briscoe won the 2020 Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course while driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. The Mitchell, Indiana, native followed it up last year, playing a part in the first NASCAR Cup Series race on the IMS road course, too.

“I remember those last five to 10 laps being the most intense racing I’ve ever been a part of,” Briscoe said with a smile.

The 27-year-old rising star started 12th among 38 drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in 2020 and had worked his way into the lead by the 24th lap and led 30 of the race’s 62 laps. He spent months turning thousands of laps on SHR’s simulators getting used to every bump and rumble strip as well as acceleration and braking points so he could be his absolute best for the Independence Day race.

“I did a lot of simulator work before driving the track because I wanted to be the first driver to win it since I am from Indiana,” Briscoe said. “I wanted to take advantage of it being a clean slate for every team. I wanted to be the best prepared since I knew we were going to have a good car there.”

As predicted in the headlines leading up to the event, road course greats such as Briscoe, AJ Allmendinger, Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson and Justin Haley proved to be the class of the field. During a restart with seven laps remaining, Briscoe miraculously came through the middle of the pack to get the lead going into Turn 1 with Allmendinger in second. As they battled for position, Cindric drew close and set up what looked to be a three-car battle for the win.

With four laps remaining, Briscoe slipped wide in Turn 9, giving Allmendinger the opening he needed to head the field. Not all was lost, as the race came back to Briscoe with some savvy driving skill.

“During the final few laps, I’m in the lead and I made a mistake,” Briscoe said. “I wheel-hopped into one of the corners and that ended up running me off the track, and I fell back to third. I was able to get lucky and have Cindric and Allmendinger get into one another. That allowed me to take them three-wide down the straightaway and out-brake them.

“Then, I really got lucky. When we got to the next corner, the two of them got into one another and that gave me a huge buffer between myself and the rest of the field, which was at least 10 or 15 car lengths. From that point on, with two laps to go, I didn’t make another mistake. From there, I felt like I was probably going to win the race.”

In last year’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, taking place during Briscoe’s rookie NASCAR Cup Series season, he started second, led 12 laps and was battling for the lead with two laps to go. While fighting Denny Hamlin for the lead, he went off course and was penalized by NASCAR.

Shortly after contact with Hamlin in Turn 9, Briscoe served his penalty, giving race winner Allmendinger the lead in a wild finish.

Briscoe has since scored his first NASCAR Cup Series win at Phoenix Raceway, but his NASCAR Xfinity Series win at IMS is still was a big moment in his career.

Briscoe held off fellow Indiana driver Haley, then driving Kaulig Racing’s No. 11 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series, by 1.7 seconds. The Wimanac, Indiana, native is also in the NASCAR Cup Series now, driving Kaulig Racing’s No. 31 Chevrolet.

Amazingly, Briscoe and Haley were the first two Indiana natives in the track’s 113-year history to finish first and second in any race at the speedway.

“To have your name a part of any history at Indianapolis is cool but that’s pretty unbelievable,” Briscoe said. “I remember looking up at the leaderboard after that win at who ran in the top five, and I remember thinking Justin and I were both from Indiana and how we both finished first and second. At the time, I didn’t know the significance of it by any means. I didn’t know that hadn’t ever been done before.

“It’s pretty dang cool to know we are the first two guys from Indiana to do that, especially in the history of Indianapolis and know the amount of people that have raced there. That’s crazy that it’s never happened before.”

Haley has raced a partial NASCAR Cup Series schedule since 2019 alongside his full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series duties, but 2022 is his first full-time ride in NASCAR’s elite series.

He grew up watching races at IMS and is amazed to be racing at such a prestigious track.

“There were so many races I watch at Indianapolis while growing up,” Haley said. “I spent a lot of my life there since my parents have some friends that live across the street from the track. Honestly, it just seemed so far out of the realm of reality for me and my 7-, 8- or 9-year-old thinking that I would ever race there. Then to go to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and race there and do well there is pretty cool.

“It’s definitely a track that I put pressure on myself to win at. So, coming so close to winning at Indianapolis kind of stings a little bit. I feel that it’s certainly the next place for me to win.”

Now driving the famed No. 14 for boss Tony Stewart, Briscoe feels lucky to be called a winner at the Racing Capital of the World, no matter the version of the track or the series.

“To be able to say I raced there, let alone win there, it’s just unbelievable.” Briscoe said. “I would have never dreamed in a million years that I would have been given the opportunity to have been in that position to drive for my hero Tony Stewart and work with his crew chief, Greg Zipadelli. It was just an unbelievable day that I will never forget my entire life.”

Briscoe and Haley will compete in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 31 on the IMS road course. Tickets for that event and the Gallagher Grand Prix for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard for the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday, July 30 are available at IMS.com.

Show More Show Less
Items 19 - 23 of 150
Register for IMS News & Updates