KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A year ago, Chase Briscoe was showing up at racetracks looking for a ride.
Now he’s the ARCA champion.
The 22-year-old newcomer from Mitchell, Indiana, wrapped up the series title Friday night when he took to the track for the series finale, a race he went on to win. Briscoe only needed to start to give owners Briggs Cunningham and Kerry Sherer the championship that has long eluded them.
“Last year I was just going to the stops, going to the races. Really didn’t know what I was doing — probably still don’t,” Briscoe said. “I was just trying to get an opportunity, and this has totally changed my life. I’ve met a lot of people I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t get this opportunity.”
Sherer said he hadn’t even heard of Briscoe, who came up through sprint cars, before hearing his name twice in a one-week stretch last year. So, his Cunningham Motorsports team decided to give him a test ride in Alabama, then were impressed to give him another try at Fairgrounds Speedway in Tennessee.
“I didn’t know him, but I called him and asked if he’d be interested,” Sherer said. “He’s the kind of kid guys like me like to have around because he’s so respectful.
“I saw the likeability first,” Sherer said, “and then saw the race-ability.”
That ability manifest itself in six wins and 14 top-five finishes this season, and a big margin in the point standings. He was so far ahead of Tom Hessert and Matt Kurzejewski that Briscoe merely had to unload his car and climb in at Kansas to lock up the championship.
It was a long time coming for Cunningham Motorsports, which formed in the mid-90s and had won numerous races but never a series title. And while Cunningham himself could not be at the track for the series finale, it was still an opportunity for the team to revel in its success.
“I feel like an overnight sensation,” Sherer said. “It only took us 21 years to win a championship.”
Austin Cindric was second, and Michael Self third.