Ryan Briscoe wasn’t planning to be in two places at once this weekend, but the arrival of he and wife Nicole’s second baby girl on Friday changed plans a bit.
Briscoe, who shares the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT with Richard Westbrook in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is due to race the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International.
So Briscoe, who was part of the No. 69 Ford GT that finished third in the GTE-Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Westbrook and Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, posted a pic of him driving from his Connecticut home up to the Glen. It’s a roughly a five-hour drive.
Briscoe then found out wife Nicole was expecting on Friday, so that forced a quick turnaround. It wasn’t initially planned that way, with the newborn arriving three weeks early.
“She’d been into the doctor on Wednesday and the doctor saw some signs and was a bit worried about Nicole,” Ryan Briscoe told NBC Sports. “They wanted her to come back Friday morning.
“It was 50/50 at that point. So I was leaving Thursday to get to the Glen and do all the normal stuff, like the track walk. By Thursday night, Nicole was like, ‘It’ll be a 5 percent chance that this happens tomorrow, so don’t worry about it.’
“So naturally, she went in Friday morning at 8:15, calls at about 8:35, all in tears, and says, ‘We’re having a baby today!’ I’d already talked to the team about it. They were cool with me leaving the track, and being there.
“Needless to say, I put a few miles on the Ford Expedition!”
He made it home in time to witness the birth of daughter Blake, who joins fellow daughter Finley in the Briscoe family household.
And as Ryan Briscoe explained, the fact it was a second girl was also a surprise.
“We didn’t know,” he said. “I think Nicole would have bet the house it would have been a boy! I was 50/50 on it, because Nicole felt so strongly. She carried differently. So it was a really big surprise … when it was, ‘It’s a girl!’
Ryan is back en route to the Glen, today, to resume his day job in the Ford ahead of Sunday’s race.
Westbrook will handle practice and qualifying duties in Briscoe’s temporary absence, but is doing rather well as it is.
Westbrook led the morning’s third practice session Saturday at the Glen. Briscoe will handle Sunday morning warmup before Westbrook starts the race, as he seeks his third straight win at the track after winning overall in 2014 and 2015 co-driving with Michael Valiante.
Between their win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May, the new Ford GT’s first, then Le Mans podium, the new birth, and Ford’s recently announced extension of its GT program through 2019, it’s been quite a run for Briscoe.
“It’s hard to put into words. It’s definitely been an exciting time in my life for sure,” he said. “I’m just glad Nicole didn’t go into labor while I was in France! It’s good this is more or less a home race, to be close by, and glad Ganassi was so accommodating.
“It’s really exciting times. Le Mans was amazing obviously. Having our second daughter is incredible. Racing at the Glen now for the first time in five or six years, I can’t wait.”
Both mom and daughter are doing well, which makes Ryan’s return to the Glen even more peachy.