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Chase Briscoe: SHR at 'disadvantage' as end draws near

With Stewart-Haas Racing closing at the end of the season, its drivers are on the hunt for new opportunities. This is no small feat, however, considering that there is an impact on performance from outside distractions.

"I'd be lying if I said we're not at a disadvantage when we show up at the race track," Chase Briscoe said ahead of NASCAR's weekend in Iowa. "Every other team that we're racing against, all they focus on week in and week out is how to make the race car go fast that weekend.

"In our place, we're trying to figure out how we're going to provide for our families next year, where we're going to work next year. And on top of all of that, how am I going to get a fast race car to the race track? so yeah, 100% it's a real thing."

To Briscoe's point, teams like Hendrick Motorsports, Trackhouse Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Team Penske are in the sport for the long haul. Their employees know there will be opportunities as the years progress.

This was the case for Stewart-Haas Racing, which officially launched ahead of the 2009 season after Tony Stewart joined forces with Gene Haas. Now, however, the future is uncertain for the employees and drivers.

Multiple factors help a driver secure a spot in one of the three national NASCAR series. Wins in Truck, Xfinity, or Cup are high on the list, something that every driver in the SHR lineup has delivered to varying degrees.

Briscoe's team has helped him win at the Cup level, but there is no guarantee that they will still be together at the end of the season. Some employees have been taking interviews since Stewart informed them on May 28 that the organization would close.

"I was over in the shop (on Tuesday) and one of the guys told me this is his last week," Briscoe said. "He's going to work somewhere else. So yeah, I mean, it's real. It's 100% real, but I do think as far as the road crew guys go, I'm pretty confident that all of them are committed for the long haul."

Sponsorship also plays a major role. Drivers need backing to secure a full-time ride in one of the three series. Briscoe has longtime supporters in Mahindra Tractors and HighPoint, but there is no current deal in place to keep them with him as he seeks another opportunity in NASCAR.

Briscoe has already had conversations with Mahindra Tractors. He said the company doesn't want to be the center of attention as he seeks another opportunity. According to Briscoe, Mahindra wants a team to hire him for his driving talents. This will make it easier on Mahindra's end to pitch the sponsorship internally.

"Nothing on paper, but I am pretty confident that I have a great enough relationship with the Mahindra Tractors and and all these people that whatever I end up finding and landing I'm sure that there's going to be discussions there."

The bottom line is that Briscoe doesn't yet know where he will end up next season. It could be in Cup or Xfinity. It could be with a rebuilding team or one that is already set up to contend. The only thing he can do right now is just focus on trying to win his first race since Phoenix in 2022.

"That's what I told our guys when all this went down," Briscoe said. "I said, 'Look, at the end of the day, we can pout and whine about it, but the circumstances aren't going to change. All that we can do is control what we can control.

"'I can assure you guys that if we're winning races and running up front, it's going to be way easier for us to find a job than the guys that aren't winning races and running up front.'"