The 12 Questions series of interviews continues this week with Chase Briscoe, who is currently fifth in the Camping World Truck Series playoff standings entering next week’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. Briscoe, 22, drives for Brad Keselowski Racing.
1. How much of your success is based on natural ability and how much has come from working at it?
I think to a certain extent, natural ability can carry you a certain way, but you’re not gonna get good at pit stops or restarts just by natural ability. You have to work at that, and I think that’s where you see guys win a lot of races — they do that extra work and they do their homework. I feel like that’s what kind of separates the champions from the non-champions, is the champions work at it in all areas and know where they can win and lose races.
2. Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and now Dale Earnhardt Jr. have all either retired in the last couple years or will retire soon. What’s your pitch for fans of theirs to become fans of yours?
I feel like me personally, I’m kind of that old-school driver. I don’t have family backing or a big sponsor. Literally straight out of high school, I moved to North Carolina, sleeping on couches and volunteering at race shops and somehow convinced a team to let me drive for them. So I feel like that’s kind of like the old days, how all those guys were. That’s probably my sales pitch, is that I’m kind of a throwback guy that’s kind of one of the few that’s done it that way, at least in the last 10 or 15 years. So that’s why I should be your guy.
What was the limit for sleeping on somebody’s couch? Did you overstay your welcome at times?
I stayed at one in particular for a really long time, and we worked a deal — like $50 for two months. So I could at least afford that. But yeah, after awhile you could tell he was kind of getting upset. I stayed there for a year and a half; I was there for a long time. But he was nice enough to let me stay there. If I wasn’t staying there, I don’t know where I would have been. I would have been on the streets, I guess.
Whose couch was this?
His name is Ross Wece. Me and (Christopher) Bell actually both stayed there for a couple of months. (Wece) works for the World of Outlaws, so I know him from sprint car racing. He always says that if me and Bell ever make it to Cup, that couch might be in the Hall of Fame or something crazy.
3. What is the hardest part of your job away from the racetrack?
Just the sacrifice you have to make, not being able to be at family events or family holidays. That part of it is tough for sure. I don’t think people realize how much goes into it outside the racetrack. I personally didn’t realize how busy NASCAR guys were. I thought they raced on weekends and had the whole week off, and that’s definitely not the case — it’s not the case at the Truck level and I know for sure it’s not at the Cup level. It’s just tough to balance everything outside of the racetrack, I think.
4. Let’s say a fan spots you eating dinner in a nice restaurant. Should they come over for an autograph or no?
Yeah. I’d be surprised if anyone even recognized me, though, honestly. (Laughs) But I’m all for that. I always try to go out of my way, even when we’re walking out to the starting lineup or whatever, I at least try to stay there as long as I can. So yeah, absolutely.
5. What’s a story in NASCAR that doesn’t get enough coverage?
I think the behind-the-scenes guys, the guys at the shop. I feel like you’re only as good as the race car that you’re in, and there’s a lot of people that put countless hours in it. There’s guys who stay in the shop until 10 or 11 at night who never even get recognized when it comes down to it. The drivers and the crew chiefs obviously get a lot of coverage, but if it wasn’t for that guy doing tear-down or building truck arms or whatever it is, we wouldn’t even get to go to the racetrack.
6. Who is the last driver you texted?
There’s a lot who I’ve texted (at New Hampshire) trying to figure this place out. Actually the last one would have been (Kyle) Larson. I texted him a little bit ago. He was curious about what the VHT stuff was doing, and I’ve been asking him a ton of questions.
Are there a lot of Cup guys that will help you out if you have questions?
Yeah, for the most part. A lot of the times it’s the sprint car guys, so obviously Larson. I’ve reached out to Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon has helped me out in the past. Between Brad and Kyle, those are normally my go-tos. And outside of the Cup guys, I do talk to Bell and Cole Custer quite a bit. So there’s a couple guys at least that I have to lean on and that makes it really nice going to a lot of these racetracks.
7. Do you consider race car drivers to be entertainers?
Yeah, I think so. People come for entertainment, so they’re paying to watch us race. A lot of the entertainment at times is not on the racetrack — so whether that’s guys getting into arguments or fighting or whatever, I think we’re entertainers.
8. What is your middle finger policy on the racetrack?
I’ve never given one, so I don’t have one, to be honest. I’ve received a couple, but I’m not a guy that’s gonna go out there and cuss somebody out after the race or flip somebody off. If you want to do it, more power to you, but I’m not too worried about it.
Is that because you don’t get mad inside the truck, or do you just keep in internal?
I was just raised different. Like if I ever got into somebody, my dad would make me go over and apologize to him, because I knew I would get my head thumped if I didn’t. So I was kind of racing the old school way. I was just taught you don’t need to be doing that; just focus on the racing.
9. Some drivers keep a payback list in their minds. Do you also have a list for drivers who have done you a favor on the track?
Yeah, I race people how they race me typically. I’ve never tried to wreck anybody on purpose, but if guys give me a little extra room and it’s early in the race or we’re struggling, then I’ll typically give it back to them or whatever. I feel like there’s guys I definitely race harder than others; we’re racing everybody hard, but there’s guys you tend to give a little bit of a break to.
10. Who is the most famous person you’ve had dinner with?
Probably Brad. He’s probably the only famous guy I’ve ever really had dinner with for sure.
11. What’s something about yourself you’d like to improve?
My eating habits. I’m like the pickiest eater in the entire world. Like I just ate pizza rolls. I’ve never had a hot dog, I don’t really eat fruits or vegetables. I could work out as much as I want to, but until I get my eating habits right, there’s not gonna be much benefit.
Is it not enough healthy food or just there’s just certain foods you just don’t like?
I just don’t like a lot of the foods. Like the texture and the taste of it. I don’t know. I’ve always been that way ever since I was little. I’ve only had steak maybe two or three times in my life. I’m just super picky.
I eat chicken, but not very much grilled chicken. Just recently, within the past year and a half or so, I started eating grilled chicken. I can’t eat chicken on the bone. It’s just a very processed diet.
So what’s a typical meal then? You’re just heating something up in the microwave?
A lot of the time, or going to fast food. Yeah, the only healthy healthy thing I eat, which is not the healthiest thing, is grilled chicken and rice. I like a lot of rice and pasta. It’s a very narrow path of stuff I do actually eat.
12. The last interview I did was with Jimmie Johnson, and I asked him to give a question for you.
He’s probably like, “Who is that?”
He seemed to know. But his question that he passed along was: What kind of underwear do you wear? Is it boxers or briefs?
I’m a boxers guy. Yeah, definitely boxers. Always have been. I never thought Jimmie Johnson would ask me that, personally. That’s one thing I’ll have to tell my buddies: Jimmie Johnson was curious about what kind of underwear I wore.
I don’t know who the next interview is going to be with. Do you have a question I can ask him?
My question would have to be: Outside of NASCAR, what would be the biggest race you would like to win? For me, personally, it would be the Chili Bowl.