20160723 ChaseFPhoto: Larry Chen

STATS (through 6 of 12 rounds): 9th in Lites points (85); 4 starts, 1 podium

POSITIVES: Despite missing the season-opening event in Phoenix, Chase proved he could adapt quickly to rallycross without missing a beat at his home event in Dallas. Coming out of a championship battle in sports car racing, the young Texan clawed his way into the main event via the last chance qualifier and earned a sixth place result.

But at Marine Corps Air Station New River, he managed to do something that he and the PMG Rallysport team likely didn’t expect so soon: earn a podium finish. Chase was running third in the Lites final when it was red flagged due to severe weather conditions, and held the position when the race was declared official that evening. Not bad for only four career starts.

20160723 ChaseF2Photo Larry Chen

NEGATIVES: Missing Phoenix essentially ended Chase’s bid for the championship before it could truly start; after all, giving up 110 points to the leader in the first weekend creates quite the deficit. He also failed to make it to the second Daytona final, but that hasn’t made Chase any less comfortable or confident in his new endeavor.

“It’s pretty much completely different, so I just throw all that out the window,” Chase said of the lack of crossover between sports cars and Lites. “Sports cars definitely help me in some of the tight stuff on the asphalt, compared to those other guys that are from truck stuff and the dirt, but it’s completely different. I just really want to get up top and beat everybody—I don’t really look out for anybody, except just me being the best.”

OUTLOOK: Nine drivers have taken Lites podiums so far this year, including four that had never raced in the series before this year, and Chase is able to count himself part of both categories. It makes him a compelling driving prospect to watch for the next few years, especially if he elects to shift his long-term focus to earning a Supercar promotion.

Photo credit: Larry Chen