TALLADEGA -- Chase Briscoe will make his Talladega Superspeedway debut today in the Camping World Truck Series fred’s 250.
The rookie driver enters today’s first-round elimination race in fifth place, one spot above the cutoff where the field will be trimmed from eight to six. The Brad Keselowski Racing driver said not getting caught in the “Big One” will help his chances of advancing to the next round.
“I feel like this is one place that is kind of a lottery race, especially with it being an elimination race,” Briscoe said. “I feel like I am in a better spot than a couple of other guys, so I need to take advantage of that. I feel like if we just can finish the race and get some stage points, I feel fairly comfortable that we will advance … We know that (there) is going to be a big wreck here, you just have to be lucky enough and fortunate enough to miss it. If you can do that, you will move on.”
Briscoe is one of six drives looking to keep their championship hopes alive.
Christopher Bell, who is the points leader, and Ben Rhodes, who is second in the points standings, have already clinched spots into the next round with wins.
Briscoe finished third in his lone restrictor plate start at Daytona earlier in the year, but the driver doesn’t feel like that will help him at Talladega.
“I don’t think you can really lean on comfort from past success here because so much can happen,” he said. “It’s not so much as what you do as a driver here as it is just if you’re fortunate or not to make it through the wrecks … I think you’ve just got to go out there and be praying the whole race that you don’t get caught up.”
Austin Cindric, who is in sixth place, needs 55 points to advance to the next round. Cindric is only six points above the cutoff going in today’s race. Cindric has experience at Talladega; last year, he finished 20th in the fall race. Cindric believes having stage racing will help him.
“I don’t think you can say anyone is comfortable, especially if you are right above the cutoff line,” Cindric said. “You look at how stage points are seriously affecting the way the playoffs work. You can easily get 10 points on how you run in the pack. It is bit nerving. You just have to run your race like you usually do and put ourselves in positions where we (are able) to run out front and away from it.”
John Hunter Nemechek comes to Talladega Superspeedway trying to stay alive in the postseason. Nemechek is in eighth place, 14 points behind Cindric. Nemechek hopes that earning stage points will help him advance.
“We are seeded eighth, we have some points to make up,” Nemechek said. “Stage points play a factor this year. If it was last year, we would be in a must-win situation. It’s definitely not a must-win situation for us. We are just going to go out and do the best that we can.
“We stayed out at the shop this week and we had a lot of late nights to make sure we eliminated all mistakes. We have to run our race, hopefully run upfront, win stages and win the race. That would be the best thing for us. The biggest thing is to finish the race, and from that, everything will work out from that point.”