Rookies Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric want nothing more than to bring home a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in Brad Keselowski Racing’s final season.
Although the news was surprising and a shock to many, the two-truck team at Brad Keselowski Racing is preparing for a championship run as both first-year full-time drivers qualified for the postseason.
Austin Cindric, who drives the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150, qualified for the playoffs with his win Sept. 3 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150 and Cindric’s teammate, also clinched a spot in the post season that same afternoon, based on points. Both talked about their opportunities during the Truck Series playoff media day Wednesday in Charlotte.
“This is a big deal for our team to have both of us in the playoffs,” said Cindric. “We need to get off to a fast start and get through the first round with both trucks.”
Keselowski told his team Aug. 17 that the organization would not complete beyond the 2017 season, a move that surprised many in the NASCAR industry. Both Cindric and Briscoe are determined not to let that keep them from focusing on the task at hand and both drivers quickly credited personnel at BKR for moving forward with the effort to win races and contend for the series title.
“I went by the shop right after Brad made the announcement and the guys working on the trucks acted like nothing had been said and that’s a credit to the team,” said Cindric. “That made me want to work even harder to get a win and when we won in Canada, I thought that was a real boost to our team.
“I was pretty impressed with all the guys in the shop and how they continued to work hard. That win and making the playoffs was a big reminder that we’re not done.”
Briscoe added he’s determined more than ever to try his best to follow through with something Keselowski told him when he signed the contract to drive for Keselowski.
“I just remember Brad telling me he wanted to win a truck championship and have the trophy in the shop,” Briscoe said. “Everyone at BKR is determined to do all we can to bring the championship home in our final season.”
Briscoe has enjoyed a solid rookie campaign despite not scoring a win yet this season. He has a pair of pole awards and 10 top-10 finishes highlighted by three runner-up finishes including last week at Chicagoland Speedway in the regular-season finale.
“We’ve had good speed all year long and need to find just a tenth or two (of a second) more,” he added. “I’ve tried to show patience so far this season, but I think you’ll need to be more aggressive in the playoffs. I want to find that balance and show respect on the track.”
Both drivers also know they’ll compete at tracks they’ve yet to race a truck on and that will require them to learn quickly in practice and also work with one another.
“We always work well together and we’ll continue to do the same throughout the playoffs,” said Cindric. “I’m sure there will come a point when we have to race each other to advance in the playoffs but Chase and I will be able to lean on one another to get our trucks as good as we can to race.”
Briscoe enters the playoffs in fifth-place while Cindric enters one spot behind in sixth.