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Interview

Harvick still 'the guy' at SHR, but Briscoe finding his voice

It wasn’t that long ago Chase Briscoe was just hoping to secure a fulltime ride in the NASCAR Cup Series and he could soon be the veteran driver at one of the sport’s top organizations.

Chase Briscoe, Stewart Haas Racing, Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang

Earlier this week, Stewart-Haas Racing announced it had signed Briscoe to a multi-year contract extension to retain him as the driver of its No. 14 Ford team for “many more seasons.”

With Ryan Preece starting his first season at SHR in the No. 41, Kevin Harvick entering his final fulltime season in NASCAR and fellow teammate Aric Almirola’s future unclear after 2023, that could leave Briscoe, 28, the organization’s veteran driver as early as next season.

It was just in 2018 when Briscoe won his first Xfinity Series race. Three years later, he joined SHR in his first fulltime ride in the Cup Series.

He enjoyed a breakout season in 2022, winning his first series race (at Phoenix) and qualifying for the playoffs for the first time.

The changing dynamic of SHR

While he may enjoy a bigger voice within SHR now, he said he still defers to Harvick until his tenure is over.

“Where we’re at as a company, for me still, Kevin Harvick is the guy. He’s who steers our ship,” Briscoe said. “He’s the guy that when he talks, people listen and, for me, I’ve just tried to watch as much as I can knowing the Kevin’s not going to be there one day and especially with Aric leaving in the next few years or whenever he does.

“I’m going to be the guy that’s been there the longest, so, naturally, the leadership kind of falls on you to a certain extent, so I think how Kevin gets his points across and how I get my points across is probably two different ways, but you can still learn things from Kevin in just how he approaches certain situations.”

Briscoe said “it’s crazy” to think he could soon find himself in a bigger leadership role at SHR but it’s not something he shies away from.

“Truthfully, I feel like that’s something I want to be. I’ve always enjoyed that kind of leader, team building type of stuff, so, yeah, if that role is kind of placed on me naturally, then that’s one that I would love to have and try to do it to the best of my ability,” he said.

“I feel like that’s a role that you don’t choose, it kind of chooses you. We have to see how we run and things like that, and let the cards fall where they fall. In a couple of years, we might be in a totally different situation.”

Chase Briscoe, Stewart Haas Racing, Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang

Chase Briscoe, Stewart Haas Racing, Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang

Photo by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

Still, Briscoe remembers participating in competition meetings in his rookie season and not say much, preferring to “sit there and listen.” That started to change last season.

“This past year, I definitely talked a lot more and I’d bring up ideas and kind of say things I wanted to get off my chest, where in the past I wouldn’t have done that,” he said.

“So, I feel like as I’ve gotten more confident in myself and my position, I’ve gotten to the point where I speak my mind a little bit more and I guess be a little bit more of a leader.”

Briscoe said he has also become more comfortable driving the No. 14, a car which has enjoyed enormous success at SHR, first under Hall of Fame driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart and then Clint Bowyer.

He also is determined to add to the car number’s storied history.

“The first two years I definitely felt like I was always getting in Clint’s car or getting in Tony’s car and it was just kind of my name on it, but I was just filling in. Like that wasn’t me,” Briscoe said. “I wasn’t the long-term guy for it, where now I feel like it is mine to a certain extent.

“It’s still Tony’s, obviously, but I feel like it’s my car now. When people think of the No. 14, I want them to think about me because that’s how I feel. I definitely want to add a lot of history to the No. 14.

“I definitely feel like it’s mine now, which is nice.”

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