The 12 Questions series of interviews continues this week with Chase Briscoe, who races in the Xfinity Series for Stewart-Haas Racing. These interviews are recorded as a podcast but also transcribed for those who prefer to read.
1. Are you an iPhone person or an Android person, and why?
iPhone, 100 percent. So I was in like 10th grade and my parents were like, “Alright, we’ll get you a smartphone.” So we go, and I was committed to getting an iPhone, right? And we go and the (sales) lady was like, “You can’t get weather on an iPhone. The radar won’t work.” I was like, “OK…”
So I got an Android, and I hated it. It was awful. So now I’ve been an iPhone guy ever since. They’re just so much more simple. Like an Android, I feel like, never worked. I don’t know, I just like the simplicity of an iPhone.
And you can get the weather now.
Well, come to find out, you could have gotten the radar back then on the iPhone.
It was probably a sales thing.
They were probably getting a cut back of Android sales, so they were like, “We’re gonna sell this guy an Android instead of an iPhone.”
2. If a fan meets you in the garage, they might only have a brief moment with you. So between an autograph, a selfie or quick comment, what is your advice on the best way to maximize that interaction?
All three. There might be a rare instance where I’m in a hurry, but I always will stop. I think it’s so cool when somebody wants my autograph or selfie or anything. So going out to driver intros for example, (I’ll leave) 15 minutes early. Every single time. Like I’ll go and sign every single autograph.
I was in their situation at one point where I thought it was super cool to get an autograph or just get to see (drivers), so it drives me nuts when guys just walk by. Like I get that you have (somewhere) to be at some point, but don’t blow by everybody, and don’t even say, “Hey,” or wave or high-five or anything like that. It drive me nuts.
My biggest pet peeve is when guys act like they’re so cool and blow everybody off. Like I don’t get it, because without them, you don’t have a job. They’re the whole reason we get to go do this. So yeah, I’m pretty big on that. Anything you want me to do, I’ll do it.
What are some memorable autographs that you got when you were younger?
I didn’t personally get them, my dad brought them home. I got a Jeff Gordon one one time in his rookie year. It was personalized to me and everything, because he and my dad used to race together, so that one was cool. I had a Tony Stewart one. I remember when my dad brought home this sidewall with a Hoosier sprint car tire and it had Kasey Kahne’s autograph on it. So those were probably my favorite three growing up, was Tony, Jeff and Kasey.
3. When someone pulls a jerk move on the road when you’re driving down the highway, does that feeling compare at all to when someone pulls a jerk move on the track?
It’s worse. Way worse! Like to me, when we’re racing, it’s your job to make it hard to get passed. Where on the road, you’re just cruising down the road. Like if I’m coming up 15 miles per hour quicker, just let me go. The biggest thing that drives me crazy is guys are just riding in the left lane, and you get over in the right lane, and then I make it a point to almost cut them off back in the left lane just to prove, “Hey, get out of the left lane.” And then they just keep cruising down it, like less than the speed limit! So to me, it’s worse if somebody chops me on the road than it is on the racetrack. Like it literally makes me mad.
4. Has there ever been a time where you’ve had a sketchy situation with your safety equipment?
I personally haven’t. I know there was a time in a sprint car, I forgot to strap my HANS, but it was under caution before hot laps, so I clicked it and was good to go.
But I have a good story about safety equipment. So Jack Hewitt, legendary guy in sprint cars, drove for my grandpa. He ran at Eldora, I think it was the last half of the race, without seatbelts. They broke off at Eldora. Ran a whole half of the race without seatbelts.
He didn’t pull in?
He won the race.
Oh my gosh, that is crazy.
Just running Eldora by yourself is sketchy. Now imagine in a race without seatbelts. And he was running like an inch off the wall.
Wow. One slip and it would have been it for him.
5. If your crew chief put a super secret illegal part on your car that made it way faster, would you want to know about it?
That’s tough. So a little backstory on me, I know absolutely nothing about cars. Like I can’t work on them. I can do very basic things. Like I know what springs do, but I don’t. Like I know the basics of them.
So you could tell me that you had something super illegal on it, but I probably wouldn’t even know what it is in the first place. But I would like to know about it, because I feel like any time somebody gets caught cheating, the driver gets ridiculed for it online. Like just gets blasted. When at the end of the day, I had nothing to do with it. So I would probably like to know, just so I had a heads up.
But nobody cheats in NASCAR. (Grins)
I understand where you’re coming from, though, because you don’t want to have all these people tweeting at you and being like, “Chase Briscoe the cheater,” and you’re like, “I didn’t do anything!”
Yeah, I didn’t do it. Like, I drove it. I feel like that happens a lot, guys get in and they win — well, come to find out they’re cheating. But they didn’t know they had something illegal on the car. Like that’s the team’s job to push it each and every week, where I’m not the guy bolting the thing on there.
So I feel like I would like to know. But at the same time there’s a part of me that I would just rather not know, just get in and drive. Because if I win the race, I would like to know it wasn’t because of an illegal part. Like I would rather think, “Hey, our team did a really good job, they had the car set up right, I did my job behind the wheel” — not because I cheated. I would like to think we did our job right, not that a part did its job right.
6. What is a food you would not recommend eating right before a race and are you speaking with personal experience with this recommendation?
So I think I told you on our last 12 Questions that I’m super picky. Like never had a hot dog, never had peanut butter and jelly — I’m super picky. So what I eat is very limited and very fried food.
So before the Roval (where he ended up winning), I go to Ford’s little RV bus thing, and they have chicken tenders and nacho cheese. So I down these things, right? Well, last 10 laps of the Roval, I was starting to get a little sick. So as good as it was, and it obviously worked out for me, I feel like it probably wasn’t the best thing to eat before the race — chicken tenders and nacho cheese.
So when you win a race, does that stomach pain go away? Is that like the version of Tums or Pepto for a driver? Or were you still getting out of the car being like, “Ugh.”
No, I for sure forget about it as soon as we won. But 10 to go, I was like, “Man, my stomach is like…” I felt like I was gonna throw up. But then five to go, I was good after that.
The Ford people still give me a hard time, like, “We’re not having chicken tenders and nacho cheese again.”
7. Is there life in outer space, and if so, do they race?
I have no idea. I don’t get into that stuff honestly. I don’t care about aliens, if there even are any. I don’t think there are, but that’s like the least of things I think about.
Are you not like a Star Wars guy or anything like that?
Never watched a movie.
Never watched any of the Star Wars movies?
Never. Never saw Star Trek, never seen any of that stuff.
8. What do drivers talk about when they’re standing around at driver intros before a race?
So I always try to talk to guys about dirt racing and try to get them to come race dirt.
You try to convert them.
Yeah, I try to convert them. And then other than that, we always talk about how hot it is normally. Like “Man, it’s gonna be brutal today. It’s too hot to race.”
And then — I’m giving away my secrets here — but I always try to find out how their car is (by saying), “Man, I’m struggling over here.” And I may not be struggling there, but I want them to be like, “Yeah, I’m struggling there, too.” That way I know during the race that’s a spot they struggle with. So I try to make a little notebook.
Hopefully none of them will read this.
So you just kind of float it out there that you’re bad in a certain spot and hope to get information from it.
I’m like, “Man, I am terrible going into (Turn) 3.” And they’ll be like, “Yeah, me too. In practice, I was so loose.” And then in the race, I’m thinking, “If I just drive up on their back bumper (in Turn 3), they’re really gonna be loose.”
Now next time I’m going to ask somebody this, and they’re going to be like, “I ain’t telling you.”
Right, I know. Well, not enough people read this, so…
Well, I don’t know. I read it every week.
9. What makes you happy right now?
A lot of things. So I got a dog, so that’s one thing I never thought I would be into. Like I had a dog growing up, but I’ve never really took care of it or anything. But now that I have my own dog, I’m a helicopter parent. Like I’m always making sure he doesn’t get into anything or get hurt.
I’m recently engaged, so that’s fun. Me and Marissa do a lot of things together. Life’s good right now. Got a full-time ride for the guy I’ve always dreamed of racing for (Tony Stewart), so it’s good. Hopefully, we start running good now that the season’s started. And then it’ll be really, really good.
Well you’ve got to leave some room to be at max happiness. You don’t want to peak too early.
Yeah, you can’t.
10. Let’s say a sponsor comes to you and says, “We are going to fully fund the entire rest of your racing career on the condition that you wear a clown nose and an 80’s rocker wig in every interview you do forever.” Would you accept that offer?
Oh, I’d do it. Absolutely. I would do it probably just for the fun of it. Not the clown nose, but I would wear like a wig, especially a mullet wig. I don’t want to give away a secret, but I’m probably gonna wear one of those Rico (Abreu) mullet hats at Darlington. That thing is pretty sweet. So I would do something like that.
Did you purchase one at the Chili Bowl?
I didn’t, but I’m gonna get one.
I don’t know, I heard they sold out.
I feel like I could probably get one. But in high school, I was that guy who always used to go to the basketball game and just dress like an idiot. So that kind of stuff’s not out of the question for me. Those days have kind of passed, but I feel like down deep they’re somewhere in there or I could do stuff like that.
You don’t mind putting yourself out there that way?
I feel like I’m less likely to now, but before I didn’t care. Like anything that I thought would get people to laugh, I would do it. Where now I’m not as much like that, but I would still probably do it. Like I’ll probably definitely wear the mullet hat if I can get one.
11. This is the 10th year of the 12 Questions. There has never been a repeat question until now. Pick a number between 1 and 100, and I’m going to pull up a random question from a past year’s series.
This is from the 2013 12 Questions. And the question is, “What is your song of the moment right now?” Something you’re listening to a lot or you think fans should download, or I guess stream?
That’s a good question. I’ve got a funny little story for you. So this song I heard coming back from Homestead, we were riding back with one of the crew guys. And I heard this song on the radio, I’d heard it a couple times, and I was like, “Man, that’s a really good song.” So I could not remember it. Like, looked everywhere for it. Me and Marissa both were like, “Man, what’s the song called?” She didn’t really pay attention to it, and I was typing in lyrics I thought I heard on Google and I couldn’t find it.
So I come down to Daytona, get in my rental car, and it’s on — after three months of trying to figure out what this song was. So I instantly called her and put her on speakerphone and played it all the way up, I’m like, “Listen to what’s on!” She’s like, “What the heck is this? I don’t even know.”
So the song is called “Burn the House Down” and it’s like got this really good little trumpet beat to it. I don’t know, I thought it was really good. So I’ve been playing it a lot lately.
Who is it by?
Some three letters, AJ something, I don’t know. AGR or something. It’s on a pop station all the time.
(Editor’s note: The band, actually named AJR, was announced as the concert act for the NASCAR All-Star race after this interview was conducted.)
12. The last interview was with William Byron. I think he was gearing it towards the Cup schedule, but he wants to know as far as a weekend schedule goes, what would be the ideal weekend schedule in your mind? How many days, how many practices, things like that?
I feel like the least amount of practice, the better. It’s tough because if I’m in the car that weekend and we’re way off, I want as much practice as I can get. But at the same time, like if you go dirt racing, you literally get two or three laps, and then you go racing. So like a lot of times you go to places you’ve never even been before and it’s, “Alright, here’s your two laps and you’re gonna go qualify.” And it’s hard to figure a place out. I don’t think we need to go that extreme, but I do feel like we can cut back on a little more practice.
I wouldn’t mind seeing almost a random draw race. Like go for a random draw, and then we line them up Friday night and the winner gets a (playoff) point. You don’t have to race if you don’t want to; say some guys are like, “Man, we know we’re not gonna win, so we’re not gonna race,” so you might only get 20 cars out there. But then we go race for an extra (playoff) point and it’s random draw. So one week you might start on the pole, the next week you might start 20th.
So this is like a short heat race or something?
Kind of. It’s like 30 laps — that way you got enough time to get up there. But you have to run on your tires that you practiced on.
And this would set qualifying? Or set the starting lineup?
No, we would still qualify for the race on Sunday.
This is just a total bonus race?
Yeah, it’s a bonus race. And it’s free admission. Free admission, Friday night, 30 laps.
Racing for a playoff point, optional.
Yup. You don’t have to race if you don’t want to if you don’t want to tear your car up. And you have to run on the first set of tires you run on practice. So you might have 20 laps on them, you might have five laps on them.
Where did you get this idea from?
I don’t know, it just came to my head, but I feel like it would work. Free admission would be a hit.
Everybody’s already here anyway.
Exactly. So let’s race Friday night. Get Steve O’Donnell on the phone.
I don’t know who the next interview is going to be with. Do you have a question I can ask another driver?
I feel like the Cup Series is the best race car drivers in the world, right? So we go to short tracks, we go to intermediates, we go to road courses, superspeedways. Why don’t we run a dirt track? So would they be against running on dirt in the Cup Series or not? Because I feel like we should be challenged in every single discipline and that’s the best race car drivers in the world. So why not?
So would they be for or against a Cup Series race on dirt?
Yeah. Two of them.
Everything else gets two, so why not? And what two tracks?
OK. So if you are for the race, what two tracks would you want to see?
And if you don’t want to go dirt, what two tracks should we run in Cup that we don’t go to right now? It could be anywhere.
Previous 12 Questions interviews with Chase Briscoe: