Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chase Briscoe Caps ARCA Championship Season With Kansas Win

Chase Briscoe got his 6th win of 2016 at Kansas
The last ARCA race of the 2016 season was run last Friday night at Kansas Speedway and 21 year old rookie Chase Briscoe put an indelible stamp on his championship season by taking a convincing win in the Kansas 150. I was happy for him and for Cunningham Motorsports as they have been great to work with this year. It also made our jobs as photographers easier since we only had to shoot one post race celebration rather than two. This kid is going places in racing and I hope he is able to move up into NASCAR trucks or Xfinity next season. I'm sure he will do well. That will be good for him but I will miss him. This season has been amazing in itself for Chase, considering that he had only run two pavement races in his career prior to 2016, and both of those were last year. 

Briscoe got his first win on the fast half mile at Winchester
It was obvious early this season that Briscoe and Cunningham were the class of the ARCA field. Once Chase got that first victory at Winchester at the end of June, you just knew that more were going to follow in short order. And they did as he rolled through July and early August with wins at Iowa, Lucas Oil Raceway and then Pocono. Surprisingly with his sprint car and dirt track background, he didn't win at either of the mile dirt tracks on which ARCA races, but he came back and grabbed win number five at Chicagoland Speedway in September. Kansas was the icing on the cake and he showed a real adaptability this season by excelling on the short tracks (3 wins) while also winning on a big track (Pocono) and two 1.5 mile tracks at season's end. I'm sure he learned a lot and I loved how low he would sit in the cockpit of that Big Tine Ford. For a rookie with virtually no pavement experience, having only one wreck all year (that was not of his doing) and earning a season championship is quite impressive.

This Is Talladega
My trip to Kansas was the next to last race of my season this year. I have big plans for 2017 which include the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in January, of course the Indy 500 in May, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in June. I am not getting any younger after all and while I might not be able to do 14 ARCA races next year as I have done this year and last, I will be quite busy and on the road a lot again. I am headed to Talladega Friday for my last 2016 race which involves shooting the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday and the Sprint Cup race on Sunday for Associated Press. I love going to the big track in Alabama and since it is a cutoff race for the Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship, I'm sure it will be wild so I should have a chance to make some pictures. I realized yesterday that I haven't shot the fall race at Dega since 2013 and that one included getting photos of flipping trucks and cars so maybe I will get lucky again with something spectacular.

2016 ARCA Champion Chase Briscoe has a bright future
Since September of last year when I got my Civic Si, I have put over 24,000 miles on her, with most of it coming on ARCA road trips. This Talladega trip will put her over 25,000 miles for sure. On the road, there are always interesting sights and town names to grab my attention. Thankfully there were no close calls on the Kansas trip but I did see some hawks and drove past some interesting little burgs en route. There were Paris and Kansas, Illinois. Then I saw a sign for Louisiana, Missouri. I always wonder how towns get those names but I guess it's not that much different than seeing Mexico, Indiana pop up on a highway sign either or stopping for gas in Brazil, Indiana. On the way west last Thursday, I had a fun night drive along with someone in a white Audi who seemed happy to play lead/follow with me as we made our way through traffic on I-70. On the way home Saturday, I saw a place called "Redneck Fireworks, LLC" outside Columbia, Missouri which gave me pause and I loved the fans at Kansas Speedway who ended the national anthem with "Home of the CHIEFS!"And why is it that all the other states I drive through seem to have roads in better shape than in Indiana? I'm sure my trip south this weekend will generate more memories and I always love driving through Nashville on I-65 as it twists, turns, dips and dives through the city. Just please move out of the fast lane when you see me coming!

I could go on and on about my latest road adventure but I will save some stories for my season reviews which will follow between now and the end of 2016. In the meantime, I hope you will click on the following link to check out my photo gallery from ARCA Kansas and other races I've shot this year. It's been a blast and I am so blessed to have these opportunities. Thanks to all my friends and family for the support. See you at a racetrack somewhere soon!
Tom Hessert finished 2nd to Chase Briscoe on the season, one of four drivers to make all 20 races this year
Dalton Sargeant (55) won Rookie of the Year honors with Venturini Motorsports
Chase Briscoe did a burnout worthy of a champion after winning at Kansas

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