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Chase Briscoe Survives Eventful Martinsville Race

Chase Briscoe‘s first Martinsville start was eventful, to say the least.

The rookie started Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 in the eighth and was involved in a handful of incidents.  He got loose under Noah Gragson on Lap 101, resulting in the Toyota driver going around.  Then on Lap 160, he was the victim of a three-wide battle, looping around off Kaz Grala’s front bumper.

“Personally, I wasn’t upset,” Briscoe told POPULAR SPEED. “I was pretty calm on that whole deal. It’s part of racing here. Like I said, I did it to a couple guys and it happened to me so it’s part of racing here. Nothing to get mad about, got to know going into it.”

Briscoe says the multiple incidents are a byproduct of the tight racing at Martinsville.

“I didn’t mean to do it, just an aspect of this kind of racing,” he added. “It’s unfortunate, we tear up really good trucks.  It’s definitely an up and down day for our Cooper Standard Ford F-150.  Move onto Kansas.  I feel like we have a really good mile-and-a-half program.  We felt like we made gains all weekend here.  Be ready for the next one.”

Throughout the race, Briscoe felt his worst enemy was track position.

“We just couldn’t have track position,” Briscoe explained.  “We were running third there for a little bit and got into Crafton and knocked the tow out and a couple other things.  It seemed like every restart we were up front, we just had to start at the top and battle for that bottom line.  Got shuffled back there at the end.  Overall, like I said, feel like we had really good speed, felt like it’s an improvement and keep going on.”

Briscoe’s wild race concluded when Cody Coughlin spun off his front bumper coming to the checkered flag.  The Brad Keselowski Racing driver, who finished 11th, stated it was not intentional.

“I just got in there and we were obviously both going for the bottom,” Briscoe said.  “Just got in there really hot, he was trying to pinch me down, I was trying to run him up at the same time.  Just part of racing.”

The 2016 ARCA Racing Series Champion had a top-five finish at Daytona back in February and a fast truck in Atlanta.  However, a flat tire relegated him to a 25th place finish in Atlanta.  Despite some hard luck, Briscoe feels they are competitive and stronger finishes are coming.

“I really feel like we’ve been fastest everywhere we went,” Briscoe commented.  “We’ve led practice everywhere this year.  Had a really good truck at Atlanta, just had a flat tire and it cost us a good finish.  We really felt like, honestly, we were going to struggle here.  To run top-three most of the day is something to be happy about.”

E-MAIL ANDY AT  andy.marquis@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.       

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Trucks

Brandon Brown Hoping for Strong Martinsville Run

Martinsville Speedway is a home race for Brandon Brown in a sense and he’s hoping for a strong showing in Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250.

The Woodbridge, Virginia native will be making his third Martinsville appearance and 22nd NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start on Saturday. He had a fast truck in Friday’s lone practice session, posting a lap of 20.721 seconds on scuff tires.

“I feel really good about this weekend,” Brown told Popular Speed.  “We brought the backup truck that I always call Wise.  It’s got a lot of experience.  It’s a little older truck but it still holds its own.  That was shown yesterday in practice.  The first run out of the gate, the first 28 cars, we were sitting seventh for quite some time.  Fighting there in the top-10.  Our timesheet didn’t show what the truck had because we never mocked up for a sticker run like a lot of the other drivers did so, I think we ended up 24th overall on the timesheet.

“We were consistently running where a lot of people were setting their fast laps and I think that’s going to be crucial today, especially with the really long final segment, trying to squeeze out everything you can, staying out as late as you can fuel wise and tire wise to try to get a chance to take home some checkers.”

Along with a quick truck, Brown has a lot of support after a social media campaign kicked off during the week.  The Twitter handles for 680 fans are represented on the bed of his No. 44 Brandonbilt Motorsports truck.

“We did a huge push this week on social media,” Brown explained.  “Honestly, we started the tweets and all our social media really because we were doing a fundraiser for Relay for Life.  We were trying to build a little bit of a following on the page so we decided that it was time to give back to the fans and really show some love since they’re showing love for us.  So, we decided that we would draw a lucky handful of names out of people who retweeted and favorited and followed our page and a lucky 680 names were picked and are laid across the bed of the truck this weekend.

“It really blew up huge.  We had a couple big names who supported it.  Dale Earnhardt, Jr. retweeted it, Michael Waltrip, Bristol Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.  A couple big Twitter accounts helped on that push.  I’d like to thank them.  Other than that, it was great to get a lot of great feedback and responses on that.”

Brown has run periodically in the Truck Series for the past three seasons, with a career best finish to-date of fourth last February at Daytona.  He is also running some NASCAR XFINITY Series events, with a best finish of 23rd in four starts.

“We’re definitely looking to start running XFINITY now,” Brown said.  “The truck efforts have been really good and it’s been really fun but the goal is to eventually move out so we’re just starting out part-time with one car.  We’re partnered up with King Autosport and Mario Gosselin this year to try and make some starts, get some seat time, race against the drivers, feel it out, feel out the series and what it would take.  I think we’ve been really successful with that so far with Atlanta this season but we’re getting ready and preparing for Richmond International Raceway which is another home Virginia track for us.

The XFINITY effort won’t take Brown away from trucks, though, with plans for more races.

“I know our next actual race we’re going to run is Charlotte in the trucks,” Brown remarked.  “We do have a test session coming up at Charlotte which I’m excited about because it will be our first time getting to go out and just test, feel things out and study.  Really looking forward to that and building into a program that could possibly turn into full time.”

Beyond NASCAR, Brown hopes to return to Martinsville for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, an event he has attempted four times previously. As of now, he has not found an open seat, despite past success at Old Dominion Speedway and Southern National Motorsports Park, but is still hoping to compete in the $25,000-to-win race.

“I was really trying to,” Brown commented.  “I was reaching out to a lot of people to see if anybody had an open seat.  It’s hard, everyone wants to be out here because now it’s going to be run under the lights which is huge, it’s historic for this track, so I think everybody’s that’s anybody is going to be here.  I’m still holding out hope that there’s a possibility that we can get into it.  I guess we’ll really see who has an open seat.”

The Alpha Energy Solutions at Martinsville Speedway will go green at 3pm EST and can be seen live on Fox and Fox Sports Go.

E-MAIL ANDY AT  andy.marquis@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Trucks

Timothy Peters Carries Confidence to Martinsville

Martinsville Speedway is a home race for Timothy Peters, and the 36-year-old veteran sees the half-mile track as a perfect opportunity to snap a winless drought dating back to November 2015.

Peters enters Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville sixth in points after finishing 17th at Daytona and a ninth at Atlanta.  This weekend, he heads to the site of his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory with a new truck and renewed optimism.

“I feel really good about our chances,” Peters told POPULAR SPEED.  “We’re bringing a brand new truck out of the Red Horse stable.  Excited to get on the racetrack.  Hopefully Mother Nature ill hold off.  I love short track racing, it’s what I grew up on.  Every time we go back to Martinsville, it puts a smile on my face.”

Martinsville has been good to Peters over the years.  Along with a victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series back in 2009, Peters is also a former winner of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 – Martinsville Speedway’s annual Late Model Stock Car fall classic.

When Peters won at Martinsville in 2005, it was his goal at the time to get to where he is now, racing professionally full-time in one of NASCAR’s top three touring series.

“That was the goal,” Peters recalled.  “You always have dreams to race professionally full time.  I had a lot of people make that happen for me throughout my racing career, a lot of people.  The list goes on and on and on.  If it wasn’t for Mac and Steven Bailey with S&M brands, when they were heavily involved, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”

In his Late Model Stock Car career, Peters won championships at South Boston Speedway in Virginia and Orange County Speedway in North Carolina.  While he is now one of the biggest names in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he has not forgotten his roots and still feels passionate about Late Model Stock Car racing.

Last season, he won a CARS Tour race at Orange County and, in 2015, he dueled Tommy Lemons, Jr. for the win in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville.

“I’m rooted deep into Late Model Stock Car racing and I love it,” Peters explained.  “A lot of the guys I raced with several years ago, I’m able to catch up and race with them again.  They are fierce competitors and deserve to be where I’m at but circumstances, they haven’t got there for whatever reason.  I enjoy going back and racing against tough competition.”

Peters still helps out the Nelson Motorsports team, which fields cars driven by up-and-comers Brandon Pierce and Bobby McCarty at South Boston Speedway. Occasionally, Peters shows up to compete himself, which he says helps keep him in good shape.

“I’m passionate about LMSC racing, I’m heavily involved with Nelson Motorsports,” Peters continued.  “We have two great drivers with Pierce and McCarty.  It puts a smile on my face to see both of these guys racing well and racing for wins.  I try to go back as much as I can when we have breaks in the first part of the schedule.  It keeps me in good shape and helps me evaluate the program so I can help them in the future.”

Peters was in contention for his second ValleyStar Credit Union 300 victory in 2015 but, instead of scoring the win, he ended up crashing into the inside SAFER barrier on the frontstretch.  Fortunately, Peters walked away from one of the most violent crashes of his career thanks to the safety improvements made to the cars and at the tracks.

Safety continues to be at the forefront of NASCAR racing after a concussion sidelined Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for much of the 2016 season.

“There’s no price on safety so, obviously, that was a pretty hard hit I took a couple years ago that I took,” Peters recalled.  “They built me a safe racecar, the guys mounted the seat properly.  I was a little sore but things happen.  They don’t call it racing or nothing.  You can’t stop improving on safety but it’s a lot more advanced than it was 20 years ago.”

This weekend, Peters is hoping to clinch a spot in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff with a victory.  A win on Saturday would be his first win since November 13, 2015, when he won a race at Phoenix International Raceway.

“Everybody at Red Horse has been working on our Tundras,” Peters remarked.  “Our owner, Tom DeLoach, has invested heavily in our equipment.  Not to say our equipment isn’t good, because it is, but we want to make it better so we’re one up on our competition.  We took a new truck to Atlanta.  We want to get back to victory lane and bring that championship home to Red Horse.”

While Peters has yet to score a victory in 2017, he is satisfied with the performance of the Red Horse Racing team so far.  He found himself in contention for the win in the season opener at Daytona back in February before getting swept up in the last lap crash.  He was able to rebound at Atlanta a week later, recovering from a pit road miscue to score a top-10 finish.

“Atlanta, we ended up ninth,” Peters commented.  “We were very, we had great potential for a top-five but had to come in and put a lug nut back on.  Daytona, it doesn’t get better than that.  You’re running second or third when you come across the line for the white flag and feel like you’re in good position.  We got caught up in that wreck coming out of two.  Our season is going good, we need it to be a little better.”

With his season going on the right track, Peters is now hoping to score his first win of 2017 in front of his hometown crowd at Martinsville Speedway.

Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250, the third race in the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series campaign, will commence at 3pm.  The race will be broadcast live on the Fox television network and can be streamed live on the Fox Sports GO app.

E-MAIL ANDY AT  andymarquis@gmail.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.