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USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

Chase Briscoe is currently the top driver in his team, sitting at P12, but it looks like even he’s feeling the heat. With Kevin Harvick gone and now being the most seasoned driver on the team, the pressure is on. Despite several decent finishes and not hitting the top 5 in any of the first 10 races, it has been a bit of a letdown for him. Now that Tony Stewart has handed him the reins as the leader of the team, higher expectations come with that role.

However, it’s not all gloomy—Chase Briscoe has already notched four top-10s this year, which is half of his total from the entire last season. His average finish has improved significantly to 14.3, up six places from last year. Yet, recently, while chatting with Bob Pockrass before the Dover race, Briscoe acknowledged he’s putting in work on himself to step up and prove his worth.

Chase Briscoe is feeling the heat to step up his game

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As the most seasoned driver left at SHR—especially after veterans like Kevin Harvick have departed—Chase Briscoe spoke to FOX Sports about the new dynamics this year. With Chase Elliott recently ending a 42-race drought, the spotlight shifts to Brad Keselowski, Austin Cindric, and Briscoe himself, ramping up the pressure. But according to Briscoe, “I definitely feel like my entire career, I’ve just done better when I’m in these heavy-pressure situations for whatever reason.”

He went on to say, “Even if it not being an option year, your fourth year in the Cup Series, you’ve got to start putting up results. I was able to win my sophomore season [in 2022] and make a deep playoff run, but last year was embarrassing, truthfully, just from how I ran statistically.”

“I felt like I don’t have the excuse anymore of “Hey, you’re still trying to figure this out.” I have over 100 Cup starts now. I need to know what I’m doing and not be making mistakes — even just dumb mistakes. I feel like that’s one thing that I put a lot of pressure on myself, just putting races together now and really maximizing the day.”

But last year’s winless run isn’t the only thing driving Chase Briscoe to step up his game. He’s determined to be the top guy on the track, especially since their cars have what it takes to win, and he’s eager to push them to their limits. Looking ahead, he’s got his sights set on at least a top-three finish in the next race, considering the track has always treated him well.

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In fact, he’s always been quick at Dover, scoring wins in the Xfinity Series and tearing it up in the truck races there. Plus, the track kind of takes him back to his dirt racing days—it’s all about high commitment and speed. On the pressurizing side, however, Briscoe knows he can’t afford any slip-ups if he wants to step into the leadership role at Stewart-Haas Racing.

He knows exactly what’s at stake with his recent lack of wins

In a candid part of the interview, when asked about his position as a leader despite potentially being the lowest performer among the four drivers, Briscoe’s response was refreshingly honest. It seems he realizes that “Just because I’m there the longest doesn’t make me the leader. The leader is going to be the guy that is running up front the most, and that’s the guy they’re going to listen to. If you’re running 20th on back in the worst car every week, just because you’re the longest guy there doesn’t make you the leader.”

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He added, “That’s what I’ve been really trying to focus on, even with Boswell — if we want to change the direction and just how the place is run, not that it’s ran bad, but if we’re going to be the leaders, we have to lead by example. The only way we’re going to be able to lead by example is by being the best car week in and week out.”

Currently, Chase Briscoe has an average finish of 26.0 at the high-speed, high-banked Dover Oval, but that’s only from the three Cup races he’s competed in since 2021. This time around, if he can dial in his Ford next-gen car just right, he might just turn it around and catch a win like he did in the Xfinity Series at the same track.