Photo courtesy IMSA

After Eldora victory, Chase Briscoe sets sights on Lime Rock this weekend

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Courtesy IMSA Wire Service

LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Less than 48 hours after his thrilling NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Eldora Speedway, Chase Briscoe is already back behind the wheel of a racecar. This time, it’s the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
After making a quick stop back home in Mooresville, N.C. to drop off his Golden Shovel from Eldora, Briscoe made his way up to Lakeville, Conn. forSaturday’s Lime Rock Park 120. Briscoe’s smile on Friday was still as big as when he was interviewed in Victory Lane on Wednesday night.
“It was a heck of a race,” said Briscoe. “We ran around there two inches apart for two laps in a row, coming to the checkered beating and banging a little bit and beat him by a couple inches. It meant so much to me personally to win Eldora, being a dirt sprint car guy and going to watch races there since I was five years old.”
It was only the second start at Eldora for Briscoe and his second consecutive Truck Series victory, with his last coming at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, 2017. The win was even more sentimental as Briscoe’s grandfather previously competed at the famous dirt track.
Yet entering this weekend at Lime Rock alongside co-driver Scott Maxwell, it’s hard to find a similarity between the 1.55-mile road course in Connecticut and the half-mile dirt track in Ohio. Adding more diversity to the mix, Briscoe competed in a sprint car race in Illinois last weekend.
“Three totally different racetracks, racecars and disciplines,” said Briscoe. “(Lime Rock) is definitely way more narrow than I thought it was going to be and a lot more hilly. It’s been an adjustment to get used to and obviously, jumping from car to car takes a little bit. I still don’t feel like I’m where I need to be, but I’ve got a really good team and teammate to help me get there.”
Briscoe’s jump between the Continental Tire Challenge, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series is a result of his involvement in the Ford Driver Development Program. Following Lime Rock – his fifth Continental Tire Challenge start of the season – Briscoe’s remaining race in IMSA this year will be in the finale at Road Atlanta.
“This whole thing has been really big for me personally,” said Briscoe. “I feel like the road courses were something I really struggled with. … I feel like Mid-Ohio (in May, the third race of the season) was really the first race where I felt like I knew what I was doing and was capable to run up front and that showed last week at (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) too.
“I’m excited to finally see how it’s going to correlate over. I get to run the XFINITY car on the road course next month at Mid-Ohio and it’s going to be the balance to see where I judge at.”
In the meantime, Briscoe is soaking up every moment in the Continental Tire Challenge paddock and is especially hoping to deliver a win for his team, which has seen its fair share of bad luck this season.
“We really need to get a win and turn this season around,” said Briscoe. “It’s been fun coming over here and learning. This is a totally different atmosphere too than what I’m used to, so that’s been really cool to see. I’ve gotten to go to a lot of racetracks that I never thought I’d get to go to.”
Briscoe will make his first start at Lime Rock Park at 11:10 a.m. ET on Saturday. The race can be streamed live on IMSA.tv.

Are you a racer looking for the fountain of youth? Try NHRA drag racing

Photos courtesy NHRA
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It used to be that many of the big-name race car drivers routinely raced into their 50s, most notably in NASCAR.

Richard Petty raced until he was 55. The late David Pearson was 54 when he last raced in NASCAR.

But these days, we’re seeing the majority of professional racers calling it quits in their early-to-mid 40s – like Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle and most recently, Jamie McMurray.

But that’s not the case for competitors in the National Hot Rod Association. Like fine wine, it seems that the kings of the drag strip only seem to get better and more successful with age.

To them, the “r word” is not “retire,” it’s “reaction time.”

Consider many of today’s stars in the NHRA and their respective ages:

* Funny Car legend John Force will turn 70 in May. And while he hasn’t won a championship since 2013, Force remains one of the biggest forces – no pun intended – in the sport.

Fellow Funny Car drivers still seemingly in their prime include Ron Capps (53 years old), Jack Beckman (52), Tim Wilkerson (turns 58 on Dec. 29), Cruz Pedregon (55) and Gary Densham (62).

* In Top Fuel, the winningest driver and record eight-time champ Tony Schumacher will turn 49 on Dec. 25. Those already on the other side of the 50-year-old line include Clay Millican (52), Doug Kalitta (54), Terry McMillen (64), Billy Torrence (60) and Cory McClenathan (turns 56 on Jan. 30).

Chris Karamesines

And let’s not forget the oldest active drag racer on the NHRA professional circuit (albeit part-time rather than full-time), Chicago native Chris Karamesines, who is still racing a Top Fuel dragster at 300-plus mph at the spry young age of 87 years old!

Yes, you read that right, Karamesines is 87 – but could easily pass for 67 – and he has no intention of retiring anytime soon.

* Ironically, the slower Pro Stock class is not as well-represented in the 50-and-over group as is Top Fuel and Funny Car, with only two regulars who have passed the half-century mark: four-time champ Greg Anderson (57) and Kenny Delco (65).

But that 50-and-above fraternity will add at least one other member next year when former champ Jason Line turns 50 on July 24. And five-time champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. will turn 50 in 2020.

Jerry Savoie

* Even the easy riders of Pro Stock Motorcycle have several 50-and-over competitors: Scotty Pollacheck (turns 50 on Feb. 8), 2016 champ Jerry Savoie (turns 60 on Feb. 23), Karen Stofer (54), Steve Johnson (turns 58 on Jan. 19) and Hector Arana (60).

Granted, drag racers don’t have the same grueling time spent behind the wheel. Their average run lasts from just over 3.5 seconds to maybe eight or nine seconds.

And unlike driving 400 or 500 laps or miles as in NASCAR, a full four-round race during Sunday eliminations for NHRA racers adds up to one whole mile – or less.

Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers only go a distance of 1,000 feet per run, while Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle go a full quarter-mile (1,320 feet) in their respective runs.

In a sense, hitting the 5-0 mark or higher has become somewhat of a fountain of youth for several racers.

For example, Capps won his first career Funny Car crown in 2016 at the age of 51.

The same year, Savoie won his first career PSM title at the age of 57.

And Force won his most recent Funny Car title in 2013 at the age of 64.

Force has already gone on record to say that he wants to become the first major pro champion to win a title at 70 years old – which would also become the 17th championship of his illustrious career as the winningest driver in all NHRA history.

He gets a chance toward doing just that when the 2019 NHRA season kicks off at Pomona, California, on Feb. 7-10.

Follow @JerryBonkowski