NASCAR’s Chase Briscoe talks his dog Ricky and racing life

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 19: Chase Briscoe, driver of the #98 Nutri Chomps Ford, practices for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on October 19, 2018 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 19: Chase Briscoe, driver of the #98 Nutri Chomps Ford, practices for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on October 19, 2018 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images) /

Chase Briscoe is running with the big dogs in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Chase Briscoe is running up front with the big dogs in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (think Triple-A baseball), and he’s doing it powered by canine fuel (so to speak). His No. 98 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing is sponsored by Nutri Chomps dog snacks.

(NASCAR is pretty dog-friendly for pro sports – for more, see our explanation here. Also, be sure to check our our review of The Art of Racing in the Rain, the movie version will be out in theaters in August.)

With Easter this Sunday, it’s a rare off weekend for all three of NASCAR’s national series, so Chase had time to do an email interview with us.

Dog O’Day –  How and when did you get your dog Ricky, and what is his personality like? He’s a Boston Terrier, correct?

Chase Briscoe – “He is a French Bulldog, got him November 24th of 2018. On the same day I proposed to my fiancée Marissa, I brought him home and put a collar on him that said ‘Will you marry us?’ He has an awesome personality; he’s pretty hilarious.”

Is he named after Will Ferrell’s character in Talladega Nights

“Yes he is.”

Have you always been a dog person?

“I always grew up with a dog in my house. When I was really little we had a Cocker Spaniel named Risky, and then in my teen years we had a chocolate Lab named Harley.”

How did your relationship with Nutri Chomps come about, and what is it like to work with them? They’re an Indiana company, does it tie into your dirt-racing background?

“My relationship with them [parent company Scott Pet] started in ARCA [roughly equivalent to Single-A baseball] in 2016 [Briscoe won the series championship that year]. They had heard about me and actually sponsored me with a different brand they have [hunting aid Big Tine, a deer attractant] and also sponsored my dirt car.

“It’s been great, the family that runs the company has made my family and I feel like a part of theirs, they are incredible and great. It’s been really neat with them being from Indiana as well; it feels like all people from Indiana always just have a special connection.”

Obviously it’s a race team first and foremost, but from social media, there seems to be a definite canine culture at SHR. Is that accurate?

“Absolutely! A few other sponsors at SHR are dog related, and it’s not unlikely to go in the offices at SHR and see multiple dogs, [Team owner] Tony [Stewart] is also a huge dog person, so it’s a perfect fit for all.”

Each weekend a different dog is featured on the car, and often fans can vote through a Twitter poll on who gets to be the next canine of honor.

Dog O’Day – As a human, not as a driver, what are some of your goals for this year?

Chase Briscoe – “I’m getting married later this year, so just being the best husband I can be, and soon after being the best father possible.”

As a driver, what are some areas you’re hoping to improve on this season? What can you learn from Cup Series veterans like Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer?

“Just not being so rough around the edges, I have a lot to learn and still am quite a bit behind on experience when it comes to the people I’m racing against, so just polishing everything up and being able to tell the team what I need to go faster.

“Harvick has been great, he’s the first guy I go to practically every single weekend about getting around these racetracks when I go to them for the first time.”

Which track are you most looking forward to racing again? (Doesn’t have to be NASCAR) 

“My personal favorite is a sprint car track in Haubstadt, Indiana, called Tri State Speedway, I’ve always loved that place, so hopefully I can get back. Also I’m hoping I can race the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Eldora again this year.” [Briscoe is the defending winner of that event, the only NASCAR national series race on dirt.]

Petcare and canines in general have become more of a mainstay in NASCAR over the past several years, with Pedigree and their cousins at JGR/KBM, Nutri Chomps with you, Best Bully Sticks chews have gotten involved a little, and security/training company iK9 is working with Jeffrey Earnhardt, not to mention high-profile pets like Ricky or Erik Jones’s pup Oscar. What are your thoughts on this trend, and do doggos ever come up as conversation topics among the garage? 

“It’s crazy driving through the infield of these tracks or through the campgrounds outside and just seeing how many dogs are at the track each and every week.

“It’s been such an untapped market, and I think people are finally realizing how much potential is there. I would say 75 percent of the drivers have a dog, so it’s not a talking point every single week amongst the garage, but when you see them out and about in the campground playing with their dog you certainly stop and play with the dog and talk for a while.”

Next. Animal Planet's Antonio Ballatore talks rescue dogs. dark

Chase Briscoe is currently eighth in the Xfinity Series standings through eight races, well positioned to make the 12-driver playoffs, with three top-fives, six top-10s and no finish worse than 15th.

He’ll compete next on Saturday, April 27, in the MoneyLion 300 at Talladega Superspeedway, which will go green around 1 p.m. ET, with TV coverage on Fox Sports 1.

For more NASCAR news and opinion, see independent news site Frontstretch, or Beyond The Flag, FanSided’s home for all things racing.