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In a long year, a long road (without a long drive) ends in Phoenix for Chase Briscoe

Chase Briscoe unpacks his seventh-place finish at Martinsville Speedway and looks ahead to the Championship 4 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

After an “up and down year on and off the racetrack” – to put it mildly – Chase and Marissa Briscoe hope to end their 2020 NASCAR season with a memorable celebration after the Xfinity Series finale Saturday at Phoenix Raceway.

Getting Marissa from their North Carolina home to Arizona might be just as memorable, though.

“She does not want to fly at all,” Chase Briscoe told NBC Sports. “She even talked about driving. I told her there is no way in a million years I’m driving to Phoenix and coming back.

“So she’s going to try (flying). She’s going to try to stay up the whole day before leading up to it. And that way she’ll just be super tired on the way there and maybe sleep on the plane. So we’ll see how it goes. It’s going to be exciting to say the least of her freaking out for four and a half hours trying to get out there.”

It will mark the latest chapter in a year marked by some tribulations for the couple, who will celebrate their first wedding anniversary Nov. 30.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Draft Top 250

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - OCTOBER 31: Chase Briscoe, driver of the #98 Ford, waits on the grid prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Draft Top 250 at Martinsville Speedway on October 31, 2020 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Chase Briscoe announced April 21 that they were expecting their first child Dec. 1. Nearly a month later, while the driver was in his motorhome at Darlington Raceway and watching via FaceTime, Marissa learned during a routine checkup that the daughter they were expecting was gone. Two days later, Chase Briscoe scored an emotional victory at Darlington Raceway.

The Briscoes learned Marissa was pregnant again Oct. 19 – the day that Chase learned he would be promoted to a Cup Series ride with Stewart-Haas Racing next season. But they received bad news again last week.

“The first miscarriage was really hard; we didn’t see it coming,” Chase Briscoe said. “Not that we were super far along, but we were way farther along than when it just happened this past week. To find out we lost another one, it’s tough trying to balance all that out.

“The hardest part is my wife and trying to be there for her while you’re trying to balance all the things off the track you’re trying to do for the team. The focus and preparation, it’s obviously hard to balance. We’ve been through a lot our first year of marriage, more than I thought we’d go through in 10 years. It’s definitely challenging and stressful and all those things, but as long as we’re able to get through it, it’s only going to make us stronger in the long run.”

Surpassing a preseason goal of eight, Briscoe has a series-high nine victories entering Saturday’s Championship 4 race that will pit him against Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier and Justin Haley for the title.

If Marissa Briscoe is able to make the trip, she will be allowed to celebrate with her husband like they haven’t yet this year. The only victory she’s attended this year was Sept. 18 at Bristol Motor Speedway, where she wasn’t allowed to be in victory lane because of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols.

Chase Briscoe said those restrictions will be relaxed postrace at Phoenix, where he is hoping to score his first NASCAR victory at the 1-mile track with Marissa by his side.

“Everything my wife and I went through this this year, it would be special to cap off the year with a championship for sure,” he said. “It’s nice to have on-track success to distract us from the stuff happening off the racetrack.

“The championship, if we’re able to win it, hopefully will be the same way. Definitely been a lot harder on her than me. But it’s been really hard on me seeing how hard it is on her. It’s tough all the way around. It’s something we’ve had to lean into our faith and trust the process and hopefully get through it.”