By: Ashley McCubbin
This weekend at Darlington Raceway offered a little bit of everything for fans in NASCAR’s return to action. Everything began with a customary intermediate event (Cup Series on Sunday), rain delays (Tuesday and Wednesday), feuding and passion (Wednesday), followed by being capped off with one of the best finishes of the season.
Though it also touched the hearts of several fans across the nation.
As Chase Briscoe emerged from his No. 98 Ford Mustang as the winner of the Toyota 200, it was obvious that the emotions had gotten the best of him, and reasonably so. He found out on Tuesday that his wife Marissa had suffered a miscarriage, over the phone while sitting in the infield during the rain delay.
“This is for my wife,” Briscoe said post-race. “This has been the hardest week I’ve ever had to deal with and God is so good. Even when I took the lead with 50 to go I was crying inside the race car and just emotionally I wasn’t there at all. There’s nothing else to say other than God is just so glorious. Obviously, I’m happy to get HighPoint.com and Ford Performance Racing School in victory lane, but this is more than a race win.
“This is the biggest day of my life after the toughest day in my life, and to be able to beat the best there is is so satisfying.”
Briscoe admitted that he wasn’t sure how the day would go, but kept his faith the whole way through.
“God is so good,” he said. “To be able to do this and it’s all because of Him. Before when I got dressed I prayed that whatever His will is just let it be done today. I knew he was gonna have a high because of the low and it’s just unbelievable to win here at Darlington and to beat Kyle Busch doing it.”
Since the Briscoes shared the news over social media, the entire NASCAR community has bonded around them, offering messages of support.
“Even when we announced it you always hear in racing that it’s family and I’ve always seen that from other people whenever they suffer a loss or anything, how the whole community just really wraps their arms around them and me and my wife were so humbled by the amount of people that reached out,” Briscoe commented. “Fellow competitors, crew chiefs, engineers, people in the sport — officials. So many people somehow got my number and told me what they had went through, so it was just unbelievable to feel that finally. Obviously, I don’t wish that upon anybody to feel that, but it just shows how good the racing community is and to come back before the race and everybody coming up to me. Obviously, we can’t hug, but telling me they were there for me if I need anything, so it was definitely good to get back to the track and see people that really care about me.”
Briscoe did not have it easy on Thursday, either, as he had to out-race one of the best in the sport, battling side-by-side with Kyle Busch over the final laps right to the checkered flag. Busch was able to close the gap fairly quickly, thanks to the mistakes that Briscoe was making as a result of fighting his emotions. Though taking the white flag, Briscoe said he was going to make sure that Busch would not drive any deeper than him.
“I wasn’t gonna let it happen, and to be able to drive back around him and then he almost got there in three and four, but just feeling that weight on my shoulders. I knew what it would mean to my wife,” Briscoe commented. “Like I said, I knew that she was watching. I knew emotionally what she’s been going through. It’s been hard for me, but it’s nothing compared to what she feels just because it was inside of her — that connection, that motherly bond — so I was just trying to do everything I could to be there for my wife. I’m not the greatest at letting my emotions show in being there, so this is kind of my way of putting it all out there for her.”
Though considering everything, it’s almost fitting that it was the driver of the No. 54 M&M’s Camry that he beat.
For one, Briscoe was able to prove that he could handle the pressure against one of the best in the sport, showcasing that one day he could be someone we see move up to the NASCAR Cup Series. Though even more, Busch knows firsthand about what the Briscoes are dealing with.
During his NASCAR Cup Series Championship speech last year, Busch revealed that his wife Samantha Busch had suffered multiple miscarriages as she struggled with infertility issues. Samantha has already reached out to Marissa Briscoe to offer support, which Chase Briscoe says meant a lot.
“Obviously, Samantha is as close to what my wife can relate to,” Briscoe commented. “Both of their husbands do the same thing, obviously on a little different scale, but they had it even worse than we did. We were able to get pregnant fairly quick and they’ve struggled to be able to do that, so it was really good for my wife, Marissa, to be able to talk with Samantha.
“I want to thank the Busch family. I haven’t talked to Kyle, but for Samantha to reach out, she didn’t have to do that by any means, so for her to do that and seek out Marissa’s number — Marissa doesn’t really talk to anybody in the racing world, so for her to be able to find her number definitely meant a lot and we want to thank the Busch family for that.”