Tire tests could give Chase Briscoe an advantage in Nashville
Chase Briscoe’s first Cup Series campaign was at times difficult, reflecting the bad year Stewart-Haas Racing has been going through.
But the rookie could have an advantage in Sunday’s inaugural Cup race at the 1.33 mile Nashville Superspeedway (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Briscoe was one of three drivers who took part in the Goodyear tire tests in Nashville on March 23 and April 20. The others were Kurt Busch and Christopher Bell.
They and the other Cup drivers will have a 50-minute practice Saturday before Sunday’s race. But thanks to tire tests, Briscoe and his team at least have an idea of what to expect.
“I already know what my limit is on how far I can go on a turn and things like that,” Briscoe said Tuesday on a media conference call. “I’ve done 30-40 laps already, short runs, so I know where the car is building and which direction it’s going to go.
“Obviously it could be different with the different number of cars and the temperature… But at least I feel like I know what I need to make my car feel and go a little bit of speed. trying some things in tire tests and some changes didn’t work as well as others from a speed standpoint alone so you just need to know them.
“Other guys, it will probably take them a race or two to adjust and learn the race track, where I feel like right out of the truck I’m going to at least know where I need to be. So I think just having that edge will be good, especially on a short training weekend.
The work of Briscoe, Busch and Bell helped Goodyear prepare their tires for this weekend.
The left side tire has been used at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway since 2020. The right side tire has been used at Dover International Speedway – a concrete track like Nashville – since 2020.
Goodyear reports that the right side Dover tire tread compound is designed to deposit rubber on concrete and increase the chances of better runs.
Prior to Goodyear’s second tire test at the NSS, a resin was deposited on the track to help the surface absorb more rubber after the early observation of a string in the first test.
Briscoe said Tuesday that with many more cars on the track, rubber shouldn’t be an issue. He also thought overtaking would be a challenge, but with handling on the verge of becoming an issue, good cars should get ahead.
The whole SHR team is hoping their cars will be among them and that once the All-Star break is over the second half of the season will be much better than the first.
Across 16 races, Kevin Harvick remains the only SHR driver in the playoff contention in 13th place. Briscoe, Cole Custer and Aric Almirola are far from the limit; they are respectively 26th, 27th and 28th in the standings of the playoffs.
As for what it will take for SHR to regain his form, Briscoe noted that he and the other drivers are “all just in four different places.”
“I’m the rookie who’s trying to figure it out,” he said. “Cole is kind of somewhere in the middle. Aric was really good last year and struggled this year, and obviously Kevin is not where he wants to be and where he used to be.
But Briscoe remains confident the ship will be righted at some point.
“We wouldn’t have two-hour (competition) meetings and things like that if we didn’t try to improve it,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll get better. It’s just a matter of time, especially right now – it’s a tough situation because how much time and effort do you want to put into the current car, when next year is more relevant?
“It’s a place I wouldn’t envy being the guys making the decisions, but I know we’re trying everything we can to make things better this year and it’s just going to take some time to figure it out, especially when we do ‘I don’t have training like we don’t have right now.