With attention to Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350, Chase Briscoe wasted little time acclimating to Sonoma Raceway on Saturday. In fact, Briscoe’s dress rehearsal in the ARCA Menards West Series race proved quite successful.
Altogether, Briscoe led wire-to-wire after starting from the third position. Significantly, Briscoe and his No. 14 Huffy/Parker Boats Ford Fusion proved unbeatable in the General Tire 200.
In this case, Chase Briscoe’s one-off ARCA West start proved quite helpful for his first Cup race at Sonoma. Conversely, the 26-year-old Mitchell, Ind. native looked like a road course warrior.
“It’s a really cool place and I’ve never been out here,” Briscoe said. “I learned a lot running 50 laps today. [Sunday] is going to be tougher than [Saturday] was. This is a cool part of the country. I haven’t been out here before and I’m enjoying it so far. I want to thank the fans for coming out. It should be a lot of fun [on Sunday].”
Indeed, the word fun fit appropriately for Briscoe’s performance at Sonoma. Never putting a foot wrong, Briscoe gained valuable experience ahead of a “show up and race” Cup weekend.
“Learned the track and had a lot of fun! Cool to get Parker Boats and Huffy Bicycles in victory lane along with all our other partners, excited for tomorrow [Sunday]!” Briscoe tweeted.
All things considered, Briscoe, ahead of the pack, avoided much of the Sonoma shuffle behind him. While Zane Smith and Rodd Kneeland were unable to start the race, Joey Iest’s experienced engine issues on lap six.
By all means, the action picked up in the second half of Saturday’s race. Jesse Love and Tony Toste saw their race end respectively on lap 29 and 34 (mechanical and engine issues).
On lap 39, Eric Nascimento, Tim Spurgeon and Brian Kamisky crashed around turn 4 which bunched up the field. Nascimento’s afternoon at Sonoma ended after going off course in turn 7 on lap 44. Moreover, polesitter Jake Drew and Dave Smith tangled in turn 4 resulting on a lap 47 caution.
Otherwise, Briscoe enjoyed a smooth Saturday afternoon as he bested Dylan Lupton by a 3.110 second margin. Paul Pedroncelli, Jr., Cole Moore and Todd Souza rounded out the top five. Moreover, Dean Thompson, Drew, Bridget Burgess, Travis Philpott and Bobby Hills Jr scored top 10 finishes.
All in all, Burgess, in the midst of her sophomore ARCA West season, put her finest race to date. Overcoming contact with Love and a crinkled fender, the 19-year-old
“Obviously, it was a huge learning experience,” Burgess observed in her video tweet. “But the HMH Construction Chevrolet did really good. We got up to sixth during practice/qualifying but unfortunately, we did just qualified ninth. However, during the race, I did drive my way up to fifth place which was really cool.
“Unfortunately, I did get spun out in turn 11, but that’s OK. Kinda got pushed back to the rear of the field. But I drove my way up to eighth place. And I’m so thankful for this experience. I can’t wait for more road courses, can’t wait for Portland later on this year.”
Meanwhile, Briscoe hopes for another smooth experience at Sonoma for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350. Ahead of Sunday’s race, Briscoe ranks 25th in the driver’s standings with a sixth at COTA in Austin, Texas.
After a somewhat middling start to his rookie season, Briscoe looks to conclude his feast or famine streak in the past five Cup races. Chiefly, with finishes of 20th, 11th, 35th, sixth and 23rd, Briscoe would like to apply what he learned in the 50-lap General Tire 200 for the 90-lap Cup race in Sonoma, Calif.
For the most part, Briscoe has plentiful work ahead of him as he starts 25th. In any event, Briscoe, a proficient road course racer, looks ahead at his latest challenge as the latest ARCA West winner.
Race Top-10 Finishers
Luis Torres contributed to this report from Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.