KURT BUSCH – 2018 Pocono I Race Report

Busch Finishes 19th at Pocono

Monster Energy/Haas Automation Driver Now Seventh in Points

 

Date:                 June 3, 2018
Event:               Pocono 400 (Round 14 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format:             160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish:      6th/19th (Running, completed 160 of 160 laps)
Point Standing:  7th (447 points, 177 out of first)

Race Winner:    Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

  • Kurt Busch started sixth and finished 11th.
  • The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) was loose into the turns and then tight on exit.
  • Busch pitted on lap 25 while in fifth place for four tires, fuel and wedge and tire pressure adjustments.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

  • Busch started 25th and finished 21st.
  • The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion pitted on lap 53 for four tires, fuel and a wedge and tire pressure adjustment.
  • On lap 55, Busch pitted and the team put a packer in the right-front shock.
  • Busch returned to pit road on lap 78 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):

  • Busch started 21st and finished 19th.
  • The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion pitted on lap 104 for four tires, fuel and a spring rubber in the left-rear suspension.
  • Also on the lap-104 pit stop, the crew changed Busch’s helmet, as there was an issue with the audio.
  • While 20th on lap 126, Busch pitted under caution for four tires, fuel and a wedge a tire pressure adjustment.
  • Busch finished 19th, completing all 160 laps.

Notes:

  • Martin Truex Jr. won the Pocono 400 to score his 17th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was 2.496 seconds.
  • There were six caution periods for a total of 23 laps.
  • Twenty-seven of the 38 drivers in the Pocono 400 finished on the lead lap.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2018 Pocono I Race Report

Almirola Captures Seventh Place at Pocono

Finish Marks Smithfield Ford Driver’s Best Cup Result at Pennsylvania Venue

 

Date:                 June 3, 2018
Event:               Pocono 400 (Round 14 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format:             160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish:      34th/7th (Running, completed 160 of 160 laps)
Point Standing: 11th (406 points, 218 out of first)

Race Winner:    Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

  • Aric Almirola started Stage 1 in the 34th position at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and completed it in the 15th spot.
  • After Almirola reported his Smithfield Ford Fusion was loose-handling, the pit crew made adjustments during the only pit stop of the 50-lap stage to address the issue. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

  • Before the start of Stage 2, Almirola visited pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to help with the No. 10 Ford Fusion’s handling. He started the second stage in the 19th position and ended it in 17th.
  • Almirola made his second scheduled green-flag pit stop from 14th on lap 73 to get fuel, four tires and adjustments after relaying to the No. 10 team that his racecar’s handling remained loose.
  • The race stayed green until the completion of Stage 2, and the Tampa native ended it in the 14th spot.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):

  • Before the start of the final stage, Almirola came down pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments and started the last stage in the 17th position.
  • After the green flag waved, the 34-year-old worked his way up to the 14th position.
  • The third caution came out on lap 125, and Almirola once again visited pit road. A speedy pit stop by the No. 10 Smithfield crew gained Almirola three positions.
  • After the restart Almirola once again worked his way forward and was in the ninth spot when the fourth caution was displayed. Crew chief John Klausmeier made the call for Almirola to visit pit road for two right-side tires.
  • The strategy call allowed Almirola to restart in the sixth position, and he quickly gained one spot to reach the top-five for the first time during the event.
  • The fifth yellow flag waved on lap 147; Almirola didn’t visit pit road and restarted fifth on lap 150. Shortly after the green flag, the caution came out once again, and Almirola was scored in the sixth spot.
  • Almirola was in a sprint to the finish when the green flag dropped on lap 153, and he ultimately finished seventh in the Smithfield Ford Fusion.

Notes:

  • This was Almirola’s sixth top-10 finish of 2018.
  • Almirola earned his first top-10 in 12 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono.
  • Martin Truex Jr. won the Pocono 400 to score his 17th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was 2.496 seconds.
  • There were six caution periods for a total of 23 laps.
  • Twenty-seven of the 38 drivers in the Pocono 400 finished on the lead lap.

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Man, Pocono is a really challenging place, and I have run so bad here for six years. I just came here with an open mind and told myself I was going to study up and pay attention to what all three of my teammates did and try to learn and try to improve every practice. Qualifying we had whatever snafu we had with that set of tires, and it got us set way behind starting 34th, but the guys brought me an incredible racecar. I finally figured this place out, I feel like. I think the car has a lot to do with it, but I started changing some things that I was doing and really picked up a lot. I am really proud of everybody to get another top-10.”

KEVIN HARVICK – 2018 Pocono I Race Report

Harvick Finishes 4th at Pocono

Busch Beer Driver Scores 10th Top-Five of 2018, Adds Playoff Point

 

Date:                 June 3, 2018
Event:               Pocono 400 (Round 14 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format:             160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish:      2nd / 4th (Running, completed 160 of 160 laps)
Point Standing:  2nd (537 points, 87 out of first)                                      

Race Winner:    Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50): 

  • Kevin Harvick started second and finished second, scoring nine bonus points.
  • The No. 4 Busch Beer Ford raced to the lead on lap 12.
  • Harvick surrendered the lead on lap 25 to pit under green-flag conditions for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
  • He reclaimed the lead on lap 35 but fell to the second position, reporting the car was loose off the corner.
  • The Busch Beer team brought the car to pit road at the completion of Stage 1 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

  • Started second and finished first to earn 10 bonus points and a playoff point.
  • Harvick raced to the lead on the initial restart.
  • The No. 4 Ford surrendered the lead on lap 78 when Harvick came to pit road for four tires and fuel under green-flag conditions.
  • Harvick reclaimed the lead on lap 82 and held it for the remainder of the stage.
  • The Busch Beer team brought the No. 4 Ford to pit road for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments at the end of Stage 2.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160): 

  • Started first and finished fourth.
  • Harvick raced back out to the lead to start the final stage.
  • The team came to pit road under caution on lap 126 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments, but an issue on pit road caused the team to restart second on lap 129.
  • Following the lap-129 restart, Harvick fell back to the third position until the next caution on lap 139.
  • The team elected to stay out under caution on lap 139 to restart in the second position, but Harvick lost a position on the restart.
  • Harvick and the team elected to stay out for the final flurry of cautions on laps 146 and 150.
  • The team restarted in the fourth position on lap 153 and remained there until the checkered flag on lap 160. 

Notes:

  • This was Harvick’s 10th top-five and 11th top-10 finish of 2018.
  • Harvick earned his 11th top-five and 16th top-10 in 35 career Cup Series starts at Pocono.
  • Harvick finished second in Stage 1 to earn nine points and won in Stage 2 to earn an additional 10 bonus points and a playoff point.
  • Harvick led four times for a race-high 89 laps to increase his laps-led total at Pocono to 157.
  • Harvick has now led exactly 12,000 laps in his NASCAR career. He is the 15th driver to accomplish this feat.
  • Martin Truex Jr. won the Pocono 400 to score his 17th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was 2.496 seconds.
  • There were six caution periods for a total of 23 laps.
  • Twenty-seven of the 38 drivers in the Pocono 400 finished on the lead lap.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We just lost our track position of being in the lead and lost control of the race. That is what did us in there. We restarted second and then third and lost a spot on each restart as you start on the inside. Our Busch Ford was really fast, and the guys did a really great job. When you are racing the 18 and 78, you are splitting hairs, and they were just better than us on pit road today.”

CLINT BOWYER – 2018 Pocono I Race Report

Bowyer Finishes 20th at Pocono

Late-Race Missed Shift Thwarts Strong Showing for Busch Light Driver

Date: June 3, 2018
Event: Pocono 400 (Round 14 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-Triangle)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)

Start/Finish: 9th / 20th (Running, completed 160 of 160 laps)
Point Standing:  6th (453 points, 171 out of first)

Race Winner:     Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 50):

Clint Bowyer started ninth and finished fourth, scoring seven bonus points.
The No. 14 Busch Light driver steadily worked his way forward in the field, running sixth by lap 16.
● Bowyer’s team reported that he ran the fastest lap of the field several times during the first 20 laps of the race.
● The Busch Light driver battled a loose-handling condition the majority of the stage.
● Bowyer brought his Busch Light Ford down pit road for a scheduled stop on lap 25 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.
● Bowyer broke into the top-five in the final laps of the stage, ultimately ending Stage 1 in fourth.

Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 100):

Started sixth and finished third to earn eight bonus points.
Bowyer raced his way back into the fourth position after the Stage 2 restart.
● The No. 14 Busch Light team raced as high as third by lap 70.
Bowyer made a scheduled, green-flag stop on lap 78 for four tires and fuel. He was told to back up his entry in the tunnel to assist with handling.
Bowyer continued to battle a free-handling condition through Stage 2 as track temperatures changed.
The Busch Light driver raced his way up to third with 10 laps remaining in the stage, where he ultimately finished Stage 2.

Final Stage Recap (Ended at Lap 160):

Started seventh and finished 20th.
Bowyer worked his way back into the top-five early in the final stage but dropped back to ninth on the first restart.
The Busch Light driver made it three wide going into turn one with 17 laps remaining to earn back the 10th position.
● He continued working his way through the field, earning the seventh spot by lap 150.
● Unfortunately, Bowyer missed a shift on lap 155 and dropped back to 25th.
● The Busch Light team ended the race in the 20th spot.

Notes:

● Bowyer finished fourth in Stage 1 to earn seven bonus points and third in Stage 2 to earn eight bonus points.
● Martin Truex Jr. won the Pocono 400 to score his 17th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was 2.496 seconds.
● There were six caution periods for a total of 23 laps.
● Twenty-seven of the 38 drivers in the Pocono 400 finished on the lead lap.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Busch Light Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I’m sick to my stomach. I let my team down today. We had a fast Busch Light Ford and completely blew it. Missed a shift on the final restart and ruined our day.”

COLE CUSTER – 2018 Pocono I Race Report

Cole Custer Finishes Fifth at Pocono

Haas Automation Driver Now Second In Season Standings

Date:                 June 2, 2018
Event:               Pocono Green 250 (Round 12 of 33)
Series:               NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location:          Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format:             100 laps, broken into three stages (25 laps/25 laps/50 laps)
Start/Finish:      1st/5th (Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
Point Standing: 2nd with 412 points

Race Winner:    Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Paul Menard of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-25):

  • Cole Custer started first, finished 25th.
  • Custer piloted the Haas Automation Ford in the lead for the first two laps.
  • He raced inside the top-five until crew chief Jeff Meendering radioed him to the pits under green with three laps to go in Stage 1.
  • He stayed out of the pits when the stage ended.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 26-50):

  • Custer started first, finished second to earn nine bonus points.
  • Custer powered the Haas Automation Ford to a commanding lead until he noted tight-handling conditions and surrendered the lead on the final lap of Stage 2.
  • When the stage ended, he pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 51-100):

  • Custer started sixth, finished fifth.
  • Custer ran in second place for the majority of the final stage.
  • On lap 88, he was caught without help from behind and fell to the fifth position, where he ran for the remainder of the race.

Notes:              

  • Custer earned his and Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-Denbeste’s third Xfinity Series career pole.
  • This marks Custer’s ninth top-10 of the season and second top-10 at Pocono.
  • It was Custer’s third top-five of the season and first at Pocono.
  • Custer earned nine bonus points in the Pocono Green 250.
  • Custer led twice for a total of 23 laps.
  • Five cautions slowed the race for 18 laps with only 15 of the 40 drivers finishing on the lead lap.
  • Kyle Busch led 64 laps to win the Pocono Green 250 earning his 92nd career Xfinity Series victory. It is his first victory of the season and first at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliot was 2.852 seconds.

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

“We had a really fast Haas Automation Mustang . We just didn’t have really good long run speed –  that was our biggest problem. We just got too tight at the end of a run. It was interesting to run the package and try to learn it throughout the day. I just think we needed a little more there. We were close.”