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Chase Briscoe joins Roper Racing for Bristol dirt, first Truck race since 2019, as ringer

 by Justin Nguyen, thecheckeredflag.co.uk

Chase Briscoe will run his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in two years when he heads to Bristol Motor Speedway later this month. On Thursday, Huffy Bicycles announced the Cup Series rookie has joined Roper Racing for the Bristol dirt race on Saturday, 27 March. He will drive the #04 Ford F-150.Huffy Bicycles, a bicycle manufacturer that began sponsoring Briscoe in 2021, tweeted a series of dirt-related jokes in the hours before confirming they will sponsor Briscoe and the #04 for the Bristol dirt event. TexaCon Cut Stone, based in Briscoe’s native Indiana, will also provide sponsorship.

“Dirt jokes aside, we’re excited to announce Huffy is sponsoring the No. 04 @RoperRacingTeam Truck w/ @TexaConCutStone wheeled by @ChaseBriscoe_14 in the #Bristol #CampingWorld #TruckRace,” read the announcement tweet.

Briscoe posted in a quote tweet“Excited to be back in the truck series! Looking forward to it with some great partners and team! What does everyone think of the truck?!”

The race will be Briscoe’s first in the Truck Series since 2019. He ran his lone full Truck campaign in 2017, during which he won the season finale and finished sixth in points, before spending the next three years in the Xfinity Series. In 2018 and 2019, he returned to the Trucks for the Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway, which was the lone dirt race in the NASCAR national series at the time. Driving for ThorSport Racing, he led the most laps in both editions, won the 2018 race, and finished seventh in 2019.

Briscoe is perhaps an unsurprising choice for the dirt race as he grew up racing on the surface. As a 13-year-old, he became the youngest driver to win a 410 sprint car race, beating NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon. The Truck start will also provide additional seat time for Briscoe on Bristol’s dirt layout before running the Cup race the following day.

Although Bristol’s dirt configuration is new for NASCAR, Briscoe has enjoyed success on its regular concrete version. In six career Xfinity starts at the short track, he has four top-five finishes and a win in the 2020 fall race. He finished the 2020 season with a series-high nine wins and a fourth-place points finish.

While Eldora was removed from the Truck schedule for 2021, the series will visit a second dirt track in July at Knoxville Raceway, the site of the famed Knoxville Nationals. It was not announced if Briscoe will also run the Knoxville race, especially as the Cup Series’ Road America event is two days later. Three races into his rookie year at the top level for Stewart-Haas Racing, Briscoe is currently twenty-fifth in points with a best finish of eighteenth at Homestead last Sunday.

Briscoe will be Roper Racing’s first driver besides owner/driver Cory Roper since Roger Reuse ran the 2019 Mosport race in the #04. However, Briscoe is the first to do so in a “true” effort for the team as Reuse’s start came in a Jordan Anderson Racing truck that utilised Roper Racing’s points. Roper finished a career-best third in the 2021 season opener at Daytona; his team is currently in their first full season after running part-time for the last three years, and Roper will start twenty-seventh in Friday night’s race at Las Vegas.

Other dirt track ringers will likely be revealed as race day approaches. Jake Griffin has long planned to compete in both dirt events for Reaume Brothers Racing, while Devon Rouse has publicly expressed hopes to do but has not finalised his plans. At the Cup level, Chris Windom and Shane Golobic have been confirmed as specialists for the Sunday race.

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