Chase Briscoe to JGR

Chase Briscoe has signed with Joe Gibbs Racing. He'll be taking over the #19 from the outgoing Martin Truex Jr. What is JGR getting?

I wrote an article the other day that talks about driver floors and ceilings, and whether drivers are championship or race-winning upside. I had Chase Briscoe in my low-variance category – he's a race winner who can take care of his car but doesn't have championship upside. I'm not sure that's enough for a top team like JGR, but it sounds like that's exactly what Joe Gibbs is looking for!

There's no doubt that Gibbs is going to get what he wants. Briscoe's a good driver who should be able to deliver a win or two every year. These are his stats on non-drafting ovals:

Season Age Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s ASP ARP AFP PFAE GR-LR
2021 26 31 0 0 3 22.13 20.41 20.06 0.028 -0.01
2022 27 29 1 5 8 13.76 15.83 16.90 -0.301 0.13
2023 28 29 0 2 6 20.76 20.21 20.66 -1.166 -0.38
2024 29 15 2 2 5 14.47 16.29 16.07 1.593 -0.01

As you can see, he probably nets out to a neutral driver in the Cup series. He takes what he gets and finishes where he runs.

In the above video, Gibbs cited Briscoe's nine-win 2020 Xfinity season as a reason to be excited. His Xfinity career:

Season Age Starts Wins Top 5s Top 10s ASP ARP AFP PFAE GR-LR
2018 23 16 1 1 4 15.19 N/A 18.38 -2.108 N/A
2019 24 30 1 12 25 8.67 N/A 7.33 5.629 N/A
2020 25 29 9 14 20 6.62 6.77 8.00 3.768 1.42

The problem with wins as a stat is only one guy in each race can get a win. There are only ~30 non-draft oval wins to go around in an Xfinity season. The guy who finishes second doesn't get a win, no matter how close he is or how often he's there (ask Sheldon Creed). So it's a flaky stat. When you look at the table above and you shift your eyes to the right, you see most of the other numbers between 2019 and 2020 are close! So why the massive difference in wins? 2019 had eight wins go to Christopher Bell, seven to Cole Custer, and five to Tyler Reddick; in 2020, those 20 wins were dispersed to Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones, and Justin Allgaier. Which group has been better in Cup? You can't take those nine wins away from Briscoe, but they don't carry as much weight as the rest of his stat line.

Again using wins, Gibbs speculated that Briscoe could see his career take off like Truex did when Furniture Row allied with JGR. Take a look at Truex's career prior to taking over the #78:

Season Age Wins ASP eARP AFP PFAE
2006 25 0 21.22 21.11 20.78 0.794
2007 26 1 15.17 15.10 16.36 3.035
2008 27 0 17.14 16.67 18.25 2.505
2009 28 0 16.39 18.74 21.86 -2.237
2010 29 0 17.14 16.84 18.75 1.410
2011 30 0 16.81 16.62 17.72 1.844
2012 31 0 12.06 11.22 12.11 4.809
2013 32 1 12.33 13.48 15.06 1.526

His PFAEs were stronger than Briscoe's have been, indicating he was getting more out of his equipment. To make this comparison is to set Briscoe up for failure from the jump. Truex is a Hall of Fame driver; Briscoe's in year four.

Driver floors and ceilings
It looks to me like JGR is replacing an elite, high ceiling driver with a pretty safe, low ceiling driver, and I don’t like it.

In the article the other day, I wrote about ambition, and for me, that's what it comes down to. To get a feel for the ambition of this signing, look at who statistically surrounds Briscoe. By average finish, it's Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez. By average running position, it's Suarez, Michael McDowell, Erik Jones. By PFAE, it's a similar group. Kyle Busch is in and around there too. The last few years haven't been great for him. This is not a spectacular group of drivers. How would they have been received as signings? Likely: flatly.

Chase Briscoe's a neutral signing. He should win a race or two each year, and it sounds like that will be considered a success by Joe Gibbs Racing.

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