CLINT BOWYER – 2018 Watkins Glen Race Report

Date: Aug. 5, 2018
Event: Go Bowling at The Glen (Round 22 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:  Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (11-turn, 2.45-mile road course)
Format: 90 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/50 laps)
Start/Finish: 18th/11th (Running, completed 90 of 90)
Point Standing: 5th (703 points, 231 out of first)

Race Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 20):

Bowyer started 18th and finished 27th.
● He reported his car was a little loose and was taking it easy in the opening laps.
● Bowyer climbed to 12th before pitting on lap 17 under green to gain track position for the start of Stage 2.

Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 40):

Bowyer started ninth and finished 31st.
He asked the crew for more grip to get around the road course.
Bowyer pitted from ninth on lap 37 in the hope of gaining track position for the final stage.

Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 90):

Bowyer started 14th and finished 11th.
Bowyer pitted from 10th under caution on lap 55 and restarted the race in 15th with 32 laps remaining.
He told the crew that he and every other driver struggled to pass on the track.
Bowyer climbed as high as 11th to finish the race.

Notes:

●  This was Bowyer’s 16th top-15 of 2018.
●  Chase Elliott won the Go Bowling at The Glen to score his first career Cup Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 7.560 seconds.
●  There were four caution periods for a total of 11 laps.
●  Twenty-four of the 37 drivers in the Go Bowling at The Glen finished on the lead lap.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion:

“That was a tough day for the Rush Truck Centers Ford, but we fought hard. It was hard to pass out there. We were struggling to make grip. We tried to play the strategy game, and that got us a decent finish. It was a long weekend, but everyone worked hard.”

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2018 Watkins Glen Race Report

Date: Aug. 5, 2018
Event: Go Bowling at The Glen (Round 22 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (11 turn, 2.45-mile road course)
Format: 90 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/50 laps)
Start/Finish: 7th/22nd (Running, completed 90 of 90 laps)
Point Standing: 12th (602 points, 332 out of first)

Race Winner:      Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner:  Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner:  Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):

● Aric Almirola started seventh and finished Stage 1 in the 32nd position.
● Three laps into the event, Almirola spun after contact with a competitor and received damage to the right-rear of the Go Bowling Ford.
● The spin brought the caution out, and Almirola visited pit road for repairs. He restarted 36th on lap five.
● The remainder of the stage ran under the green flag, and Almirola completed it in 32nd.
● Almirola pitted before the start of Stage 2 for more damage repairs, fuel and four tires.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):

● Almirola began Stage 2 in 32nd and completed it in 24th.
● The entire length of Stage 2 was run under the green flag, and Almirola worked his way forward in the damaged No. 10 Go Bowling Ford to gain six positions.
● Before the start of the final stage, Almirola pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with Ford’s loose-handling condition up through the esses.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 41-90):

● Almirola started the final stage in the 23rd position and ended it 22nd.
● Almirola pitted on lap 55 for fuel and four tires during the fourth caution of the race. Unfortunately, the No. 10 team received a penalty because a pit crew member was over the wall too soon.
● He restarted 27th on lap 58, and on lap 61 he was up to the 24th spot.
● The remainder of the race went caution free, and Almirola finished 22nd.

Notes:

● Chase Elliott won the Go Bowling at The Glen to score his first career Cup Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 7.560 seconds.
● There were four caution periods for a total of 11 laps.
● Twenty-four of the 37 drivers in the Go Bowling at The Glen finished on the lead lap.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2018 Watkins Glen Race Report

Date: Aug. 5, 2018
Event: Go Bowling at The Glen (Round 22 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (2.45-mile road course)
Format: 90 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/50 laps)
Start/Finish: 15th/10th (Running, completed 90 of 90 laps)
Point Standing: 2nd (864 points, 70 out of first)

Race Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):

● Kevin Harvick started 15th, finished 25th.
● After a caution on lap three, Harvick advanced to the 12th position.
● On lap 17, Harvick pitted the Busch Beer Ford Fusion under green-flag conditions for four tires and fuel.
● At the end of the stage, Harvick stayed out of the pits and advanced the Busch Beer Ford to the top-10.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):

● Started seventh, finished seventh, earning four bonus points.
● Harvick fell to the eighth position, where he piloted the Busch Beer Ford Fusion for the majority of Stage 2.
● He battled back into the seventh position and did not pit at the conclusion of the stage.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 41-90):

● Started seventh and finished 10th.
● During the opening laps of the final stage, Harvick was stuck in traffic and fell back to the 10th position.
● On lap 52, crew chief Rodney Childers radioed the Busch Beer Ford to the pits. Just as Harvick came within a car length from pit road, a caution was called, forcing him back on track.
● Harvick pitted under the caution period for four tires, fuel and adjustments to correct loose-handling conditions. He restarted in 10th place.
● Harvick battled to keep the Busch Beer Ford in and around the top-10 for the remainder of the race, finishing in 10th.

Notes:

● This was Harvick’s 18th top-10 finish of 2018 and his ninth top-10 in 18 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Watkins Glen.
● Harvick finished seventh in Stage 2 to earn an additional four bonus points.
● Chase Elliott won the Go Bowling at The Glen to score his first career Cup Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 7.560 seconds.
● There were four caution periods for a total of 11 laps.
● Twenty-four of the 37 drivers in the GoBowling at The Glen finished on the lead lap.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2018 NXS Watkins Glen Race Report

Date: Aug. 4, 2018
Event: Zippo 200 at The Glen (Round 20 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (2.45-mile road course)
Format: 82 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/42 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/5th (Running, completed 82 of 82 laps)

Race Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: AJ Allmendinger of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):

● Aric Almirola started ninth and finished 21st.
● The first caution of the race was displayed on lap five and the Tampa, Florida, native reported that his No. 98 Ford Mustang was loose. Crew chief Richard Boswell made the call for Almirola to stay out on the track.
● Almirola pitted just before the conclusion of the stage for fuel, four tires and adjustments to improve the No. 98 Go Bowling Mustang’s handling.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):           

● The Ford driver began Stage 2 from the third spot and ended it in 18th.
● When the third caution of the race came out on lap 28, NASCAR mandated wet conditions due to a passing rain shower and Almirola came down pit road to change from slick tires to rain tires.
● During the pit-road service NASCAR determined Almirola had too many crewmembers in contact with the pit service area and the Go Bowling driver had to restart at the tail end of the field on lap 32.
● On lap 37, Almirola pitted under caution from 19th to receive four slick tires and had to restart 25th after a pit-road violation for driving through too many pit stalls.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 41-82): 

● Almirola started the final stage in the eighth.
● On lap 52 Almirola pitted for fuel only to allow him to stay out on the track until the end of the race.
● Once pit stops cycled through, Almirola was in the fifth position.
● He eventually made it up to the fourth position, but ultimately finished in the fifth spot.

Notes:                   

● This marks Almirola’s second NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and 102nd career Xfinity start.
● Almirola qualified and scored his best Xfinity Series finish at The Glen.
●Seven cautions slowed the race for 20 laps.
●Only 23 of the 40 drivers finished on the lead lap.
●Joey Logano won the Zippo 200 at The Glen to score his 30th career Xfinity Series victory, second of the season and third at Watkins Glen. His margin of victory over second-place AJ Allmendinger was 3.362 seconds.

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 98 Go Bowling Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste:               

“It was a solid day for us for our Go Bowling Ford Mustang. We had to go to the back and to the front a couple of times, but we had a solid car. We didn’t have anything for the leaders. The 12 and 22 were lights-out and we were racing for third or fourth, but all in all it was a good day. We just didn’t have what we needed to go up there and compete for the win, but it was fun. I had a lot of fun and I feel like I learned a lot to get ready for the race tomorrow.”

COLE CUSTER – 2018 NXS Watkins Glen Race Report

Date:  August 4, 2018
EventZippo 200 (Round 20 of 33)
SeriesNASCAR Xfinity Series
LocationWatkins Glen (N.Y.) International (2.45-mile road course)
Format: 82 laps, broken into three stages 20 laps/20 laps/42 laps)
Start/Finish: 12th/6th (Running, completed 82 of 82 laps)
Point Standing: 2nd with 715 points

Race WinnerJoey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 WinnerJoey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 WinnerAJ Allmendinger of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):

● Custer started 12th, finished 23rd.
● Custer powered the Haas Automation Ford into the top-10 on lap 11.
● He pitted under green-flag conditions on lap 17 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.
● Custer noted tight-handling conditions throughout Stage 1 and opted not to pit at the conclusion of the stage.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):

● Custer started fifth, finished 17th.
● Custer fell to 10th place until a caution was brought out on lap 27. He advanced to eighth-place.
● On lap 30, inclement weather forced the field to the pits for Goodyear Eagle rain tires. During the caution, an issue placing the windshield wiper demoted the Haas Automation Ford to 14th place.
● The Haas Automation driver pitted on lap 36 under caution and switched back to slick tires along with a refill on fuel. He restarted in 18th place and conservatively ran inside the top-20 due to wet track conditions.
● He did not pit at the end of Stage 2.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 41-82):

● Custer started seventh, finished sixth.
● Custer climbed to the third position by lap 50.
● He pitted under green-flag conditions on lap 52 for fuel and exited pit road in the ninth spot.
● After a final caution on lap 71, Custer battled in the seventh position and advanced to sixth before the race concluded.

Notes:               

● This marks Custer’s 15th top-10 of the season and first at Watkins Glen.
● Seven cautions slowed the race for 20 laps.
● Only 23 of the 40 drivers finished on the lead lap.
● Joey Logano won the Zippo 200 to score his 30th career Xfinity Series victory, second of the season and third at Watkins Glen. His margin of victory over second-place AJ Allmendinger was 3.362 seconds.

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

“It wasn’t a good day, but we ended up good. I probably wasn’t doing my best and the car wasn’t the best from not practicing. It was just kind of a mess and with it raining and everything it was an eventful day. We found track position and ended up earning a solid finish.”

Cummins Joins Stewart-Haas Racing

Global power leader Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) is returning to motorsports with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the championship-winning NASCAR team.

Cummins will debut on the No. 14 Ford Fusion of driver Clint Bowyer in the Aug. 18 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, sharing the primary sponsorship with Rush Truck Centers, the premier solutions provider for the commercial vehicle industry. Cummins will return to the No. 14 Ford for the Oct. 14 race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

Cummins has a motorsports lineage dating back to the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911 when company founder Clessie Cummins was on the pit crew of the race-winning Marmon Wasp of driver Ray Harroun.

“Cummins is a global brand and category leader and we’re very proud to have them back in racing,” said Mike Verlander, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, SHR. “It’s a win for our industry and a win for Stewart-Haas Racing.”

While Cummins is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions, it is best known for its diesel truck engines. Rush Truck Centers is the nation’s largest provider of premium products and services for the commercial vehicle market, with the largest truck inventory in North America.

“Cummins has a nearly 100-year commitment of developing innovative technologies that enable our customers’ success,” said Amy Boerger, Vice President of Sales, Cummins Inc. “We are pleased to partner with Stewart-Haas Racing, a company that shares this deep commitment to innovation and success, as we add another chapter to our rich heritage in auto racing. Personally, I cannot wait to see the Cummins brand back on the racetrack with Clint Bowyer and the No. 14 team.”

When a Cummins customer is in need of maintenance at a Rush Truck Centers location, RushCare Service Connect automatically provides information to Cummins, expediting and facilitating Cummins support and engagement when necessary. All correspondence is captured and can be viewed on the Service Connect portal, allowing customers and service advisors to see the entire maintenance history associated with any vehicle in the system.

“Our relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing has provided the opportunity for us to strengthen business relationships with our suppliers, and this partnership with Cummins is an excellent example,” said W.M. “Rusty” Rush, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Rush Enterprises, Inc. “This is why our presence in NASCAR makes so much sense. We’re able to align our core objectives with companies like Cummins and ExxonMobil, where wins on the racetrack are accompanied by wins in the marketplace.”

Tony Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas, is a native of Columbus, Indiana, the global headquarters for Cummins.

“For as long as I can remember, Cummins and motorsports were one in the same,” said Stewart, the three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, 1997 IndyCar Series champion and four-time USAC champion. “Cummins always had a presence in the Indianapolis 500 and I remember seeing their logo in NASCAR for years with Mark Martin. To be able to team up with a hometown company and help Cummins grow its business with another SHR partner in Rush Truck Centers is something I take a lot of personal pride in. I know what winning feels like as a driver, but this is what winning feels like when you’re a team owner.”

 

About Cummins Inc.:
Cummins Inc., a global power leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from diesel and natural gas engines to hybrid and electric platforms, as well as related technologies, including battery systems, fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, since its founding in 1919, Cummins currently employs approximately 58,600 people committed to powering a more prosperous world. Cummins serves customers in about 190 countries and territories through a network of some 500 company-ownedand independent distributor locations and approximately 7,500 dealer locations. Cummins earned $1 billion on sales of $20.4 billion in 2017. Press releases can be found on the Web at www.cummins.com. Follow Cummins on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cumminsand on YouTube at www.youtube.com/cumminsinc.

About Stewart-Haas Racing:

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The organization fields four entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – the No. 4 Ford Fusion for Kevin Harvick, the No. 10 Ford Fusion for Aric Almirola, the No. 14 Ford Fusion for Clint Bowyer and the No. 41 Ford Fusion for Kurt Busch. The team also competes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series by fielding a full-time entry – the No. 00 Ford Mustang for Cole Custer – and one part-time entry – the No. 98 Ford Mustang. Based in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Stewart-Haas Racing operates out of a 200,000-square-foot facility with approximately 380 employees. For more information, please visit us online at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter @StewartHaasRcng and on Instagram @StewartHaasRacing.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2018 Watkins Glen Race Advance

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series head to Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International this weekend. In addition to his usual role behind the wheel of the No. 10 Go Bowling Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in Sunday’s Cup Series race, Almirola will also compete this weekend in the No. 98 Go Bowling Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race. It’s all in an effort to continue to hone his road-course-racing skills.

Watkins Glen is the second road course on the Cup Series schedule this season and it marks the first for the Xfinity Series. The 2.45-mile, seven-turn circuit is located in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York and is quite different from Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, the first road course stop each June. “Watkins Glen is a really fast racetrack,” Almirola said. “I would compare Sonoma to a Martinsville. It’s slow, technical, and wears the tires out really bad – bumping and banging, very physical. Watkins Glen to me is like racing at Dover. It’s still very technical, but incredibly fast. You’ve got to have a car that’s really stuck to the racetrack, has good downforce and is able to run up through the esses.”

While the road courses have been a challenge for Almirola over the years, he posted his best career Cup Series road-course finish of eighth at Sonoma this year in his No. 10 Ford Fusion.

Heading into this weekend, Almirola has made just one previous Xfinity Series start at Watkins Glen, in August 2011, when he started 17th and finished eighth.

The 34-year-old will make his eighth Cup Series start at The Glen this weekend, looking to improve on his best Watkins Glen finish of 16th. He’s completed 597 of the 630 possible laps at the facility, and hopes the extra seat time he’s getting in the No. 98 Xfinity Series entry will allow him improve his Cup Series performance this weekend.

This weekend at The Glen, professional bowler Jason Belmonte of Orange, Australia will be attendance. He’s also known for his bowling trick shots that can be seen here from Dude Perfect. Belmonte will be showcasing his skills on the two fully operational lanes Go Bowling has set up at The Glen for the fans during the weekend. Almirola will also display his bowling skills at the bowling lanes on Friday and Saturday.

Almirola and the No. 10 Go Bowling Ford Fusion also will give the fans a chance to get a little extra money for their bank account this weekend. If he wins at Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen, one lucky fan will win $10,000. If Almirola doesn’t win Sunday, one fan still has the chance to win $1,000. To enter the contest, visit GoBowling.com/10k.

Meanwhile, safe to say Almirola is having a career year in the Cup Series, and his confidence continues to grow as his on-track performance has improved. “It has given me a tremendous amount of confidence and belief in myself,” he said. “I have talked a lot this year, and especially the last couple of weeks, just about the last six years. I have always been unsure if it was the equipment, my team, or me. Do I just not stack up? Am I holding the team back? I think it’s natural as a human being to question everything, and particularly yourself. Having this opportunity to drive the best equipment in the garage at Stewart-Haas Racing and me being able to rise to the challenge, and go out there and run up front and lead laps and be competitive, it gives me a lot of confidence in myself and in my ability. It’s good to know that, given the right circumstances and the right opportunity, I can go and compete with the best.”

In 21 Cup Series starts this year, Almirola has accrued an average start of 19.7 and an average finish of 13.1, with one top-five finish and eight top-10s. He’s also led 113 laps this season, already a career best. Almirola rounds out the four-driver SHR contingent at 11th in the point standings.

 

ARIC ALMIROLA, Driver of the Go Bowling Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

Can you talk about what it’s like making a lap at Watkins Glen and what it takes to get around the track?

“I would say maybe 80 percent of the passes are made getting into the Bus Stop. So you’ve got to be able to set that pass up coming through the esses, and that is one of the fastest, trickiest spots on the racetrack. It’s very challenging to get up through there and carry a lot of speed. Your car gets kind of light and out of control, and you’re running 150 or 160 miles an hour through there, and then reaching a top speed of 180 or 185 miles per hour before a very, very heavy braking zone going through the Bus Stop. It’s a fun racetrack, its fast. For a road course, I would say it’s probably one of the fastest road courses in the country. It’s definitely the fastest road course that we race on in NASCAR.”

What is the highest score you’ve bowled?

“The highest game that I’ve bowled was just over 200. I think I bowled something like a 204 or 205. I’m consistent in the 150 to 170 range but, on occasion, I’ve bowled above 200 – maybe a handful of times.”

How do you feel going into the road-course race? With one coming in the playoffs, is it more important to you? 

“Road-course racing has been arguably my Achilles heel throughout my career, and I don’t claim to be very good at road-course racing at all. I have always worked really hard at it to try and be better. As a racecar driver, you want to be versatile. You want to be able to contend for wins on superspeedways and intermediate tracks and short tracks – challenging tracks and road-course tracks. You don’t want to be weak in any one area. For me, it has been a big challenge to conquer road-course racing. I have put a lot of effort into this year to be a better road-course racer and had a lot of help with it. With Ford, they have helped me a lot with a lot of time in the simulator with our race team at Stewart-Haas Racing, and they’ve provided a lot of data to look at and a lot of things to study. On top of that, running the K&N race out in Sonoma before the Cup race, I feel like that helped me a lot to get ready for Sunday. I got my first-ever top-10 on a road course out at Sonoma and had a really good run and was really fast. Same thing going into Watkins Glen. I have worked really hard studying data and getting ready in the Ford simulator. We are fortunate enough to have Go Bowling on the car for the weekend because it is the Go Bowling weekend at the Glen. We are going to have a Go Bowling car on the racetrack on Saturday in the Xfinity race. I feel that will help me get in a rhythm for Sunday and hopefully that will pay off for Sunday at Watkins Glen. Road-course racing is definitely not something that I am overly comfortable with, or something I claim to be good at by any means, but through hard work I am trying to get a lot better at it and I feel like I have.”

KEVIN HARVICK – 2018 Watkins Glen Race Advance

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), will make his 36th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at a road course this weekend when the series visits Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International for Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen.

The Bakersfield, California native is one of only three active drivers to claim a NASCAR Cup Series victory at both Watkins Glen International and Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are the others to make that claim.

Harvick added his first-career win at Sonoma in June 2017, when he started 12th, led 24 laps and finished ahead of SHR teammate Clint Bowyer when the race ended under caution. He also won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma the day before.

The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion scored his lone Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen in 2006, when he started seventh and led 28 of 90 laps and beat current SHR co-owner Tony Stewart to the finish line by .892 of a second.

In 2015, Harvick started fourth, led 29 laps and appeared to have the race won with a sizable lead on the final lap. But he ran out of fuel in the final turn and coasted to a third-place finish behind race winner Joey Logano and runner-up Kyle Busch.

Harvick also visited victory lane in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Watkins Glen in August 2007. He started 11th and turned in a dominant performance after quickly racing his way to the front, leading 49 of 82 laps and beating runner-up Jeff Burton by 3.529 seconds.

Harvick will get additional seat time this weekend on the 2.45-mile road course as he seeks his second win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at The Glen. He will be behind the wheel of the No. 41 FIELDS, Inc. Ford Mustang for SHR on Saturday afternoon.

What is most important for Harvick coming into this weekend at Watkins Glen and the four races that follow is the accumulation of playoff points that are so critical at this point in the season. Thus, even more pressure to start up front and, ultimately, to try to win the Busch Pole Award. Harvick ranks second with 33 playoff points heading to The Glen,  just two markers behind Kyle Busch’s 35 and seven ahead of Martin Truex Jr.

The “Big Three” of Harvick, Busch and Truex has accounted for 16 of the 21 race wins in 2018 and 67 percent of the total playoff points accumulated – 94 of 140 available through 21 races.

The best way to score maximum playoff points in a race is to start up front, earn stage points and win races. Harvick and the No. 4 team can accomplish all of those goals with a win this weekend in the team’s only visit to Watkins Glen in 2018.

 

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion:

 

What is the key to having a good race at Watkins Glen International?

“Watkins Glen is really fast, so the biggest thing there is to get your car good under braking so you can make passes during the race. Usually, where you can gain the most time is in the braking zones.”

Are the road courses still odd-ball races, or do they seem like just another race, now?

“They are pretty much just another race, now. I think everybody knows that you are going to a road course and you’ve got a lot of different aspects from a driver’s standpoint and the team standpoint that you have to pay attention to.”

What sections or turns are the most challenging at Watkins Glen?

“It just depends on how your car is handling. I think they can all present problems. As the race goes on, turn one becomes more of an issue because it’s downhill and the brakes start to get worn out. The wheel hop becomes more prevalent as the race goes on. For me, that is the one you’ve got to watch during the race, but they all present different challenges.”

How does Watkins Glen International differ from Sonoma Raceway?

“There is a lot of speed difference. At Watkins Glen, you go from turn one, up through the esses and into the inner loop and end up running about 170 to 180 miles per hour down the backstretch. At Sonoma, you’re lucky to get above 100 miles per hour, so speed is definitely the biggest difference.”