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NASCAR Cup Series

Clint Bowyer retirement clears path for Chase Briscoe

Chase Briscoe
Chase Briscoe. Credit: 2/23/2020 | Matt Sullivan | Getty Images Via NASCAR Media

Chase Briscoe has made his case to move up to the Cup Series, and now Stewart-Haas Racing has an open seat

Look at it this way. You get hit with a major snowstorm, and you need to get from one point to another. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a plow comes through and creates an opening directly to where you want to go. The ‘you’ is Chase Briscoe, and the ‘plow’ is the retirement of Stewart-Hass Racing driver Clint Bowyer.

In NASCAR’s 2020 silly season, there has never been a more obvious choice to fill a vacancy in its Premier Series. On Thursday, Clint Bowyer retired to take a job that has been waiting for him for years at Fox Sports. Any day now, you can expect an announcement that promotes Briscoe from his SHR ride in the XFINITY Series to an SHR car in the Cup Series.

DIDN’T GO AS PLANNED

SHR had maintained it didn’t expect any changes to their 2021 lineup of Kevin Harvick, Cole Custer, Aric Almirola, and Bowyer despite the latter two being free agents at season’s end. There was already speculation that Almirola would get an extension, and Bowyer was a question mark because Briscoe was an SHR driver in waiting, or more to the point, a Ford driver.

Briscoe’s contract is with the Blue Oval. SHR runs four Fords in Cup and the No. 98 he drives in XFINITY. If there wasn’t a more perfect engagement that would lead to a marriage of convenience, it was Briscoe and Stewart-Haas. How could it not?

TRADING FIRESUIT FOR SUIT AND TIE

Bowyer may not have wanted to call it a career quite so fast, even if Fox was willing to wait a year or two until he said enough was enough. But with some writing on the wall, and maybe a nudge from Tony Stewart, that time was perfect for him to slide into a more leisurely job while still staying connected to the sport he loves.

Meanwhile, Briscoe’s calling card is a series leading eight wins, the eighth two weeks ago at Las Vegas; he’s second in top-fives (15) and tied for third in top-tens (19) in 28 starts. Throw in just one DNF, and you have an idea of how consistent he has been. Stats notwithstanding, Briscoe made good on his predictions that he needed eight wins to move up.

Briscoe oozes confidence without the need to brag. He has all the ingredients to be successful, and sponsors should fall in love with him if they haven’t already.

The 25-year old is ready for prime time.

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