Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Chase Briscoe's skyrocket opportunity with Reverse Tony Stewart

Reverse Tony Stewart (noun): A departure from Stewart-Haas Racing to join Joe Gibbs Racing. Tony Stewart began his career with Joe Gibbs Racing. He left the team after the 2008 season to become co-owner at Stewart-Haas Racing.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Chase Briscoe's journey to Joe Gibbs Racing has only featured one trip to victory lane in the Cup Series, but the Indiana native hopes he can follow in the footsteps of a champion while pulling a Reverse Tony Stewart.

"Martin (Truex Jr.), when he came over here, I think he had two wins before Furniture Row and Joe Gibbs," Briscoe said Tuesday after Joe Gibbs Racing announced his move to the No. 19 Toyota in 2025.

"Kind of the same situation I'm in right now. So hopefully, I can have the same type of career as Martin, where this was kind of the skyrocket for him."

Truex, to Briscoe's point, won his first Cup race in his second full season with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. He went winless for five seasons before finally returning to victory lane with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2013.

Truex didn't become a perennial winner until the 2015 season, his first with crew chief Cole Pearn at Furniture Row Racing. He won one race in 2015, four in 2016, eight in 2017, four in 2018, seven in 2019, one in 2020, and four in 2021. Truex went winless in 2022 before winning three times last season.

This skyrocket, as Briscoe called it, began just before Truex's 35th birthday. It continued with him winning the championship in 2017 and finishing second in 2018, '19 and '21.

Truex becoming a proven winner was not a case of him suddenly becoming more talented. His peers have said numerous times that Truex was a natural talent. Denny Hamlin even compared him to seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.

The move to Furniture Row Racing was simply the perfect catalyst for Truex, who excelled with the Colorado-based team before moving to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019. He had winning equipment and a standout crew.

For comparison, Briscoe's move to the Cup Series took place in 2021. Fresh off a nine-win season with SHR in Xfinity, he took over the No. 14 Ford for the retiring Clint Bowyer.

Briscoe has since remained in the entry while posting one win, 12 top-five finishes, and 27 top-10s. He has made the playoffs once and finished a career-best ninth in points in 2022.

Chase Briscoe celebrates a win at Phoenix Raceway.

Briscoe's path has featured highs and lows alike as he has grown as a driver and as SHR has struggled with consistency. His average finish going from 17.3 to 20.3 to 16.3 serves as evidence of this.

Now Briscoe gets an opportunity to prove that he belongs at the top level of NASCAR. He will just have to do so while replacing yet another Cup champion in top-tier equipment.

This is a pressure-cooker situation, yet it doesn't seem to faze Briscoe.

"It's kind of ironic, I was a diehard Tony Stewart fan," Briscoe said in response to a question from AltDriver. "I'm kind of doing the Reverse Tony Stewart, going from SHR to Gibbs versus Gibbs to SHR. Yeah, I don't think it really matters who you're replacing, but it is nice to know that the car is fully capable, right?

"Martin's won championships. He's in contention to win. (He) won the regular season last year. So yeah, I think as a driver you feel like you can get the job done. It doesn't matter who you're replacing, but it is nice to know that you're coming into a situation that's obviously proven."