COLE CUSTER – 2018 Texas Race Report

Event: My Bariatric Solutions 300 (Round 6 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 10th/4th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 6th with 181 points

Race Winner:    Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brandon Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

  • Cole Custer started 10th, finished seventh. Earned four bonus points.
  • Custer piloted the Thompson Pipe Group Ford inside the top-10 for the majority of the stage.
  • He noted tight-handling conditions throughout the stage.
  • Custer pitted at the conclusion of the stage for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. He gained five positions on pit road.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):

  • Custer started second, finished 14th.
  • Custer maintained his car inside the top-four until he was caught behind a loose-handling car on a lap-74 restart.
  • During a lap-84 caution, Custer pitted for four tires and fuel along with the majority of the cars in the top-10. He restarted 17th.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):

  • Custer started fourth, finished fourth.
  • He continued to run inside the top-five, but noted tight-handling conditions during the first half of the stage.
  • Crew chief Jeff Meendering radioed Custer to the pits on lap 142 for four tires and fuel. He was in the third position.
  • After green-flag pit stops cycled through, Custer was scored in fourth place.
  • Custer battled the Thompson Pipe Group Ford Mustang in the top-five for the remainder of the race and qualified for the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus at Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend.

Notes:              

  • This marks Custer’s third top-five at Texas, first top-five of the season and fourth straight top-10 of the season.
  • This was Custer’s third straight top-five at Texas.
  • This was Custer’s best Xfinity Series finish at Texas.
  • Custer earned four bonus points in the My Bariatric Solutions 300.
  • Only 10 of the 40 cars entered into the race finished on the lead lap.
  • The race featured eight cautions for a total of 42 laps.
  • Ryan Blaney won the My Bariatric Solutions 300 to score his seventh career Xfinity Series victory, first of the season and first at Texas. His margin of victory over second-place Christopher Bell was 2.327 seconds.

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Thompson Pipe Group Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing With Biagi-DenBeste:          

“I was happy with our day. We were definitely a top-three car today. Our Thompson Pipe Group Mustang just ran solid all day. It is pretty amazing to be able to compete in the Dash 4 Cash prize at Bristol and it’s a really awesome thing that Xfinity does for the series. You get to race hard and race for a lot of money. We are going to get after it. We have been good there in the past and I’m looking forward to going there and try to win $100,000 for our team. That would be pretty awesome.”

Next Up:          

The next event on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 on Saturday, April 14 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FS1.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2018 Texas I Race Advance

Kevin Harvick is headed to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for this Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 ready for a showdown.

The driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) is off to one of the best starts of his Cup Series career, but that fresh start actually began with Harvick’s Cup Series win at Texas Motor Speedway in November 2017. In the nine Cup Series races since the series last visited the Lone Star State, Harvick has scored a series-best four wins and 471 laps led, as well as seven top-five finishes. In fact, only Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Busch have scored more than Harvick’s 338 points over that span.

Last November, Harvick started third, led 38 laps and took the lead with only 10 laps remaining to secure his first Cup Series victory at Texas by 1.580 seconds over Truex.

The native of Bakersfield, California, has three Cup Series wins early in the 2018 Cup Series campaign, scored in back-to-back-to-back fashion at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway near Phoenix, both over runner-up Kyle Busch, and Atlanta Motor Speedway, where Brad Keselowski was the runner-up.

While Harvick and the No. 4 team have visited victory lane a series-best three times in six 2018 events, the team ranks seventh in the Cup Series standings, 45 points behind leader Kyle Busch and 37 points behind second-place Truex.

What should make this weekend at Texas truly a showdown among Harvick, Truex and Busch is their history over the last 10 races on 1.5-mile racetracks. Truex ranks first with six wins, 940 laps led, 10 top-five finishes, 492 points and a 2.0 average finish over that span, while Harvick ranks second with three wins, 733 laps led, 462 points, seven top-five finishes, 10 top-10s and a 4.1 average finish. Busch ranks third with 387 points, 522 laps led, while scoring five top-five finishes, seven top-10s and three poles.

Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion, continues to put together strong performances at Texas. He has scored five top-five finishes in his last seven Cup Series starts there. He has also started in the top-five in seven of the last eight races at Texas, including from the pole in April 2017.

Harvick will also see added track time this weekend as he runs the No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang Saturday afternoon in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He swept his only double-duty attempt so far in 2018, capturing his 98th and 99th career wins in NASCAR’s top-three series with wins in the Xfinity and Cup Series at Atlanta in February.

While Harvick leads the Cup Series with three wins and 11 playoff points through the first six races, he still would love nothing more than to win the race and both stages to add some space in the playoff standings over second-ranked Truex and close the points gap to leader Busch.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

What makes Texas such a unique racetrack since the repave? 

“Texas has become a very unique racetrack. I know we have a different left-side tire that we’ll have to get used to this weekend. When they repaved the racetrack, they made the two ends of the racetrack so different – turns one and two have become very challenging, especially in the Cup Series car because of how flat it is. Really, the hardest thing about turns one and two at Texas is that it’s so wide when you get to the entry that you have a hard time picking up the bottom of the corner. When you enter the corner, you don’t use the entire racetrack anymore because they put the bottom of the corner so far down the racetrack. It’s very unique and different. You have to make your car turn well and not be too loose into the corner of turn one, and it has to turn well in the middle of the corner in order to carry speed off, otherwise you’re just lugging up off the corner. As you get to turns three and four, it’s about letting off the throttle halfway and hope you can put it right back down. There are already a few bumps in the corner that, when you’re trying to maintain speed, it either hits the splitter or bounces a little bit. That end of the racetrack has always been very fast through turns three and four but, once the repave came, it’s become really fast every lap.” 

What are the most challenging parts of the Texas Motor Speedway racetrack?

 “Turns three and four have always been fast, but now they’re what I’d call scary fast because of the small amount of time you’re out of the throttle. If you look at turns one and two, it’s become a lot different than what it used to be just because it’s so much flatter and wider. It’s become a very unique corner that we don’t experience a lot. When you saw SMI (Speedway Motorsports, Inc.) take the two different ends at Kentucky and made turns one and two a lot different than three and four, they kept three and four flat and you have a hard time getting into the corner because you get loose as the track gets flat. Turns one and two at Texas actually remind me of turns one and two at Kentucky – what they used to be – and they left the high-banked fast part in turns three and four.”

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2018 Texas I Race Advance

Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) are ready to head to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth where they, alongside their SHR teammates, will mark the 1,000 race start milestone for SHR as the green flag waves on Sunday after the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to the track from a week-long hiatus. Almirola is rejuvenated for the upcoming 10-week stretch of races after vacationing with family.

Almirola returns to Texas this weekend after having already visited the track earlier this year. He participated in a two-day Goodyear Tire test Jan. 9 and 10 with the No. 10 team and crew chief Johnny Klausmeier. Before the Tampa native climbs behind the wheel of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion on Friday, he will participate in Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding to Read Program at two elementary schools in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. As part of the educational program, Lionel Racing has students design their own paint scheme for a Cup Series stock car. Almirola will crown the overall champion at Diamond Hill Elementary School as well as the kindergarten through second-grade winner at B.B. Owen Elementary as part of Lionel’s “Design a Die-Cast” program. The overall champion’s car design will be sent into production by Lionel and will be available for purchase at major retailers throughout the country at a later date.

Texas is the third mile-and-a-half track in the first seven stops on the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series tour and Almirola has finishes of 13th at Atlanta Motor Speedway and 10th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the first two venues. The 34-year-old driver will make his 15th Cup Series start this weekend at the Lone Star State track. He earned a best finish there of seventh in April 2013. In last year’s events at the Fort Worth track, Almirola captured finishes of 18th and 15th, respectively.

Texas marks the sixth weekend the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Fusion. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its seventh season with Almirola and its first with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.

With a wildly successful start to the season, SHR was once again the victor at the most recent Cup Series race two weekends ago at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. This time, it was Almirola’s teammate Clint Bowyer capturing his first win for the Kannapolis, North Carolina-based team. Almirola continued his solid start to the season coming off of a 14th-place finish at Martinsville after running in the top-10. The Ford driver was also the Mobil 1 Performance Award winner for his strong day after 45 passes in the weather-delayed event. With Mobil 1’s technology all four SHR entries completed the 500-lap race in the top-14 and maintained four of the top-11 spots in the driver point standings. Bowyer’s victory was the 47th in SHR’s 10-year history.

Almirola also has his eye on victory lane as he continues to surpass his early performance from his previous 10 Cup Series seasons with an average finishing position of 11.2 through the first six races of 2018. To this point in the season, Almirola has completed a combined total of 1,808 laps around the first six venues on the Cup Series schedule for a completion rate of 99.8 percent. In addition to Almirola’s strong finishes at 1.5-mile tracks this season, he has had solid performances at varying track styles with finishes of 11th at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, seventh at ISM Raceway near Phoenix, 12th at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and 14th at Martinsville.

In addition to his Cup Series experience at Texas, Almirola has four Xfinity Series starts with four top-20 finishes, along with five laps led. He’s also made nine Camping World Truck Series starts at the 1.5-mile track with two top-10 finishes and 14 laps led.

Ford has won four of the season’s six events to mark the manufacturer’s best start to a season since 1997, when it captured four victories in the first six races. At Texas, Ford is tied for the most all-time Cup Series victories by a manufacturer with 13. Almirola’s teammate Kevin Harvick is the most recent Texas winner. Ford also maintains the top spot in the manufacturer standings with a six-point lead.

This weekend’s race at Texas marks Almirola’s 251st career Cup Series start.

 

 

ARIC ALMIROLA, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

What makes Texas Motor Speedway unique?

“Texas is a really, really fast racetrack that we go to and it’s really unique. It’s incredibly fast since the repave. I think everything is bigger and better in Texas and, wow, are the speeds higher. We’re running 215 or 216 mph getting into the turn one. It’s just a really fast racetrack. The challenge with that, now that you’re running fast after a repave is the air. You need clean air. You’ve got to qualify up front, run up front, have good pit strategy, and all of those things really come into effect at a racetrack like Texas.”

How noticeably different are the four turns at Texas from your seat in the car?  

“Turn one is flat and very, very wide, but you only use 8 feet of it. If you miss that bottom part of the racetrack, you’re going to be holding on for dear life. In turns three and four, the groove has actually already widened out some, but it’s high-banked and incredibly fast. You barely even lift off of the throttle in those turns. The two corners are drastically different and it does create some setup challenges for the engineers and crew chiefs.”

Do you notice that the track surface is different from year to year there?

“It really hasn’t shown many signs of aging or wearing, yet. The repave is still rather fresh and it seems to be holding onto a lot of grip.”

KEVIN HARVICK – 2018 Texas I XFINITY Race Advance

Event:               My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas
Date:                 April 7, 2018
Location:          Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
Layout:             1.5-mile oval

Kevin Harvick Notes of Interest

 

  • The No. 98 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste (SHR) makes its third appearance of 2018.
  • Hunt Brothers Pizza makes its second appearance as the primary sponsor of the No. 98 Ford with driver Kevin Harvick.
  • In their first race of the season, Harvick and the No. 98 team scored the win at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb. 24, 2018. Harvick started fifth, won both stages, led a race-high 141 of 163 total laps and beat runner-up Joey Logano by 4.183 seconds.
  • Harvick is scheduled to make five Xfinity Series starts in the No. 98 Ford Mustang for SHR in 2018.
  • Harvick has five Xfinity Series wins at Texas (March 2001 and November 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2012). He also won the pole award at the track in April 2014 with a lap clocked at 184.963 mph.
  • In addition to his five wins, Harvick has 11 top-five finishes and 18 top-10s in his 20 Xfinity Series starts at Texas.
  • In 342 career Xfinity Series starts, Harvick has 47 wins, 184 top-five finishes, 257 top-10s, 25 poles and 9,639 laps led.
  • Harvick will be joined in the Texas field by SHR teammate Cole Custer in the No. 00 Thompson Pipe Group Ford Mustang.

Kevin Harvick, Driver No. 98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang 

 

“The last time we had the No. 98 Hunt Brothers Ford Mustang out at Atlanta Motor Speedway, we won the 98th race of my career. I’m looking forward to getting to the racetrack. I know the Hunt Brothers people are excited to see their car on the racetrack again – and I’m excited to drive it.”

COLE CUSTER – 2018 Texas I Race Advance

Event:               My Bariatric Solutions 300 (Round 6 of 33)
Date:                 April 7, 2018
Location:          Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
Layout:             1.5-mile oval

Cole Custer Notes of Interest 

  • The My Bariatric Solutions 300 will mark Custer’s third Xfinity Series start at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
  • Texas Motor Speedway is the third of 11 1.5-mile tracks on the 2018 Xfinity Series schedule. In Custer’s two Xfinity Series starts at Texas, he has secured two top-five finishes. They were Custer’s best 1.5-mile finishes before the 2017 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he secured a dominating victory by 15.405 seconds while also sweeping both stage wins to earn a perfect driver rating of 150. It was Custer’s first Xfinity Series win. 
  • In 13 Xfinity Series starts and nine NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at 1.5-mile ovals, Custer has one win, six top-five finishes and 15 top-10s.
  • Custer led the 2017 Xfinity Series in points at 1.5-mile tracks with 422.
  • Custer’s best finish in the five Xfinity Series races run this season is sixth, earned at his home track, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, when the series last competed three weekends ago.
  • Last November at Texas, Custer battled in and out of the top-five before securing his second consecutive top-five finish at the track. He was the highest finishing rookie.
  • Custer has one win, eight top-five finishes, 24 top-10s and has led 306 laps in 43 career Xfinity Series starts.
  • Custer’s best qualifying effort in the five Xfinity Series races run this season is third, earned at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. Custer has four top-four starts this season.
  • Thompson Pipe Group (TPG) will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 00 Ford Mustang at Texas. TPG is one of the largest providers of pressure and gravity pipe solutions in North America. Privately owned, TPG production plants are located throughout the U.S. along with an extensive transportation, technical and field support network. Its footprint extends across all of North America, enabling the company to provide the right solution, together with the trusted engineering and on-site support to back it up, no matter where an installation is planned.

 

Cole Custer, Driver Q&A

 

What is different about Texas versus the other 1.5-mile tracks? 

“Texas is unique because there are two different corners. It’s a tough one to get ahold of because of the repave, but it’s a really fast track and, if we can dial in the Thompson Pipe Group Ford Mustang during practice, we’ll have a solid weekend.”

With two top-five finishes at Texas last season, it’s arguably your best track in the Xfinity Series. Why do you feel your team has excelled there, and are you confident you’ll continue the streak?  

“The mile-and-a-half tracks have been really good to our team, so Texas is definitely a place we have excelled at. It’s a hard place to figure out because both ends are different, but I feel like we’ve done a good job managing that in the past.” 

You sit sixth in the playoff point standings. After bad luck at Daytona and Atlanta, and following that up with three top-10 finishes, are you where you need to be in the standings to contend for a championship?

“Now that we’re a little bit more solid in the standings, I would say we can be more aggressive. I feel like we’ve been building some momentum the last few races, and now it’s just going out there and getting everything right. It’s nice heading to a track that we know we’ll have speed at after finishing as consistently as we have there in the past.”

 

Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A

 

You had two top-five finishes last year at Texas. What is it going to take to give the No. 00 Thompson Pipe Group Ford enough speed to cross the finish line first like you did at Homestead last November? 

“Texas was definitely one of our better tracks last season. With the second race at this track being late in the playoffs, it is important for us to have a strong run. We built a brand new car for this race with all of our latest updates, so this should be a good opportunity to get a win.”

KURT BUSCH – 2018 Texas I Race Advance

Tom Sneva was the fastest qualifier for the 1977 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.

He set a one-lap record of 200.535 mph and a record four-lap average of 198.884 mph during his May 1977 run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where a qualifying run is made up of four laps.

What did he do when he came back to Indianapolis in 1978?

Set new one- and four-lap records.

In May 1978, Sneva upped his one-lap record to 203.620 mph and his record four-lap average to 202.156 mph.

Kurt Busch, who finished sixth in the 2014 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, is looking to repeat Sneva’s accomplishments this week at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

While Sneva set records in an Indy car, Busch is hoping his No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion stock car fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), will set another record at the 1.5-mile Texas oval.

In November 2017, Busch posted a lap of 200.915 mph, the fastest ever in a stock car on a 1.5-mile oval, to win his 22nd career pole.

Busch is hoping he can up his game in this week’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas and get his 23rd career pole and his 30th career win in NASCAR’s top series.

Busch has two poles, one win, three top-five finishes and 17 top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 295 laps, has an average starting position of 14.2, an average finish of 15.1, and has completed 98.4 percent – 9,845 of 10,003 – of the laps he’s contested there.

Texas native Pat Green once sang that he had “Texas On My Mind.”

Busch just has speed on his mind.

 

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

Talk about how challenging Texas Motor Speedway is. 

“It was an incredible qualifying run last year and to set a track record. The feel of the tire and the asphalt were better in the fall than the spring. So, now that it’s aged even more through the wintertime with the rain and the cold and the track settling a little bit more, the track will be that much better. And, what I saw last year during the playoff race at Texas was a textbook pass for the lead with Kevin Harvick passing (Martin) Truex (Jr.) going into turn one. He was able to cut underneath him in turn two. Then you get that run through the fast sections between turns three and four. Texas Motor Speedway has a very unique layout with the speed differences between three and four and one and two.” 

Overall thoughts heading to Texas this week?  

“Texas is a good track for us and a good market. I always enjoy coming out to Texas. Hopefully, the weather will look perfect for this weekend. It’s a great track.”

Talk about your record-setting lap last year at Texas.

“(Turns) three and four are an incredible sensation. Once the car goes into the banking, it travels. The suspension collapses in the car and the car gets lower to the ground and picks up speed because you are lower to the ground and have less drag. It is a sensation that is hard to describe. When you have that grip level in the car, it gives you the feeling that you can just put it down to the floor and there won’t be any consequences. Turns one and two are where I think the lap times come from – if you can get it to hook and stay right on the bottom because that end of the track is a lot flatter. You have to back out of the gas all the way. Then, in three and four, you can hold it wide open. Both ends of the track are very different. It is a cool sensation going through three and four almost holding it wide open.”

CLINT BOWYER – 2018 Texas I Race Advance

Gene Haas and Tony Stewart’s Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) organization is still considered the new kid on the block compared to the other Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams it competes against each weekend. So, it might be surprising to learn SHR is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018 and will mark its 1,000th Cup Series start when all four drivers fire-up their Roush-Yates powered Fords for the April 8 race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

“That makes me feel really, really old,” SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli said with a laugh. “Seriously, a thousand starts is a sign of longevity and that’s an accomplishment. It helps in keeping good people and recruiting good people.”

Since its first season in 2009, the SHR driver lineup has at one time included Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick on a full-time basis while drivers like Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Brian Vickers, Regan Smith, Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon and Max Papis have served as substitute drivers.

Harvick and Stewart won championships at SHR in 2014 and 2011, respectively, while five drivers have divvied up SHR victories: 17 for Harvick, 16 for Stewart, five for Busch, four for Newman, and Clint Bowyer added his name to the list Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, notching his ninth career victory and first for SHR.

“That’s pretty good company,” said Bowyer, who has also finished second three times since joining SHR in 2017. “Gene Haas and Tony Stewart and all their partners and employees have shown a lot of faith in me. It was so great to be able to celebrate with them in victory lane Monday night.”

The 1,000 starts might seem like a lot, but Hendrick Motorsports and Roush-Fenway Racing own more than 3,000 starts each while Joe Gibbs Racing has more than doubled SHR’s total.

SHR’s winning ways began in May 2009, when Stewart won his only NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Since then, SHR has gone on to accumulate 43 points-paying victories, three non-points victories, 199 top-fives, 378 top-10s, 35 poles and two championships in 996 starts. SHR owns victories at every current track except Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

SHR isn’t done. In fact, it might be at its best right now. In 2018, SHR Fords have led 723 of a possible 1,811 laps and won four of the first six races. All four SHR drivers are in the top-11 in the driver standings.

“Make no mistake, all four Stewart-Haas cars have been good all year long,” Bowyer said. “Kevin led that charge when he won three races in a row, but we’ve been ‘Steady Eddie’ with our 14 car and the things that I’ve always been accustomed to. Consistency and things like that I’m starting to see, knowing our strengths, knowing our weaknesses from last year, focusing on those weaknesses and then, all of a sudden, it starts to click in and putting things together, and you have those conversations. You feel confidence.”

Bowyer will drive the No. 14 Mobil 1/Rush Truck Centers Ford at the 1.5-mile Texas oval. Like SHR, both Mobil 1 and Rush Truck Centers cite longevity as keys to their business success. Mobil 1 Annual Protection ultimate full synthetic motor oils feature advanced lubricant technology that provides proven protection for 20,000 miles or one full year between oil changes. Rush Truck Centers has transported SHR’s racecars to the track since 2009 and serviced its customers for more than 50 years.

Bowyer hopes to take both Mobil 1 and Rush Truck Centers to victory lane at the 1.5-mile Texas oval, where he has posted three top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 24 races. In 2006, Bowyer won a Camping World Truck Series race at Texas. In 2017 Cup Series competition for SHR, Bowyer started third at Texas in April and raced as high as fourth in the final stage before finishing 11th. In October he spent 30 laps behind the wall, ruining what was shaping up to be a top-10 finish.

“Texas is one of those big, fast, high-banked tracks – you just have to go,” Bowyer said. “You better be good rolling off the truck. Normally, you can tell in the first few minutes of practice who will be good in the race.”

CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Rush Truck Centers Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

What are your thoughts on Texas?

“We’ve been close there a number of times over the years. At Texas, it’s all about having the sheer speed. On those 1.5-mile tracks, you have to have a car that unloads fast. You can be a little bit tight or a little bit loose but, if that car isn’t making grip, making downforce and having the speed on the racetrack, then you are going to struggle. Unloading a fast hot rod right off the truck is going to be so important because you are going to have to qualify well and have that track position to be a contender.” 

What role does Mobil 1 play at SHR? 

“Obviously, Mobil 1 is one of the corporate partners that you see on the car and I think everyone understands that role. What you might not know is Mobil 1 helps us out a ton on the competition side. The lubricant technology they bring to us translates into improved speed, fuel mileage and horsepower. Our racing is so close these days that we’ll do anything for just a slight advantage. Because of that, we value the edge Mobil 1 gives us with information as important as what we learn in the wind tunnel or tire testing. Here is the other thing about Mobil 1: they do a lot of on-track testing that leads to new technology developments for race fans. That Mobil 1 Annual Protection – the oil you see Harvick advertising on television – now allows drivers to travel up to 20,000 miles, or one full year, between oil changes. That’s lubricant technology that racing helped create.”