Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi (SHR) will field driver Chase Briscoe in its No. 98 Ford Mustang fulltime in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2019, with Nutri Chomps serving as the primary sponsor for the first 13 races.
Briscoe won his first career Xfinity Series race in October at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval in SHR's No. 98 Ford Mustang in just his 14th career start. The 23-year-old from Mitchell, Indiana, has run 17 Xfinity Series races in 2018 with next year marking his first fulltime season in the stepping-stone division to the elite Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Nutri Chomps and its parent company, Indiana-based Scott Pet, have been longtime supporters of Briscoe. Nutri Chomps are rawhide-free alternative dog chews made with real chicken and pork skin. Nutri Chomps are high in protein and fiber, low in carbohydrates, and come in milk, chicken and peanut butter flavors.
"The Nutri Chomps brand has grown in lockstep with Chase Briscoe's career, and as Chase seizes this opportunity at Stewart-Haas Racing, we're doing the same," said Mike Bassett, CEO, Scott Pet. "Chase is an excellent ambassador for our brand and this is a very strong platform for Nutri Chomps to showcase its products to an extremely loyal fan base, many of whom are pet owners."
Briscoe will drive the No. 98 Nutri Chomps Ford Mustang alongside SHR teammate Cole Custer in the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang.
"I got a taste of what Stewart-Haas Racing is capable of in the five races I ran with the team this year," Briscoe said. "Winning at Charlotte was one of the greatest moments of my career, and I have to thank Nutri Chomps, Ford, Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and Fred Biagi for believing in me and providing this opportunity to race fulltime. I've been working so hard for this moment and 2019 can't come soon enough. If I could fast forward to February and climb inside the No. 98 Nutri Chomps Ford Mustang there at Daytona, I would."
Briscoe's background makes him an excellent fit at the team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. Like Stewart, Briscoe's path to NASCAR began on dirt tracks where the third-generation driver has been running sprint cars since he was 13 years old.
"I've been paying attention to Chase since he raced sprint cars and I saw how well he transitioned to stock cars," Stewart said. "It was obviously great to see him in our Ford Mustangs a few times this year, and Chase didn't disappoint. His win at Charlotte showed us a lot. He was patiently aggressive and he did a really good job of managing his tires. He's learned a lot in a very short period of time and we're really looking forward to seeing what he can do when he's in the same car, working with the same crew, week in and week out. It was our desire to have him in our racecars, but thanks to Nutri Chomps and Ford, they made it happen."
Briscoe has thrived in his transition to NASCAR, which began after a six-win campaign in the 2016 ARCA Racing Series earned him the championship by a whopping 535 points. He advanced to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2017, earning four poles and winning the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes allowed Briscoe to make the playoffs, finish sixth in points and score the series' rookie of the year and most popular driver awards.
"Chase Briscoe is the kind of person we're looking to develop with our Xfinity Series program," said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition, SHR. "Young, hungry and talented is the best way to describe Chase, and there's no better place for him to learn and, ultimately, succeed than here at Stewart-Haas Racing. I know he's looking forward to this opportunity, and we are too."
The Briscoe name is still relatively new in NASCAR, but it's a venerable name in the sprint car community.
Chase's grandfather, Richard Briscoe, is a legendary sprint car team owner, who has fielded entries for 37 different drivers including such renowned wheelmen as Chuck Amati, Dave Blaney, Dick Gaines, Jack Hewitt, Steve Kinser and Rich Vogler. Chase's father, Kevin Briscoe, raced sprint cars for over 20 years and won more than 150 feature events. He claimed track championships at Indiana's Tri-State Speedway and Bloomington Speedway five times, including a streak of three straight titles.
Chase Briscoe's first time behind the wheel of a racecar came in 2001. Driving a quarter midget, he won his first heat race and then won the feature event later that evening. Briscoe moved on to mini sprints and, when he was 13, stepped into a 410 sprint car where in his first race he finished 10thin a 40-car field. In a rookie season that saw 37 starts, Briscoe racked up eight top-five and 17 top-10 finishes, including a win in the last race of the season, where he broke Jeff Gordon's record for being the youngest person to win a 410 sprint car race.
Briscoe continued to race 410 sprint cars in Indiana and other surrounding states. People began to take notice, and soon the switch from sprint cars to stock cars was on. Cunningham Motorsports hired Briscoe in 2016 to pilot its No. 77 Ford Fusion for a fulltime drive in ARCA. Briscoe responded by winning six races and the championship.
--- Stewart-Haas Racing ---