CHASE BRISCOE – 2019 NXS Iowa II Race Report

Race Name: U.S. Cellular 250 (Race 19 of 33)
Venue: Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Race Winner: Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi (Ford)
Results: Chase Briscoe: 1st | Cole Custer: 29th
Point Standings:
– Cole Custer: 3rd with 760 points; trails points leader by 97 points
– Chase Briscoe: 7th with 625 points; trails points leader by 232 points

Chase Briscoe / Ford Performance Ford Mustang Recap:

– Briscoe qualified second and pitted under yellow on lap 45 running second. He restarted fourth and finished stage one in third to earn eight stage points.
– The No. 98 Ford Mustang stayed out at the conclusion of stage one and started stage two in third. He gained one position and finished the stage in second to earn an additional nine stage points.
– Briscoe pitted at the end of stage two for tires, fuel and minor adjustments and restarted the final stage in second.
– Yellow flag flew on lap 151. The No. 98 team pitted for fuel only and received a violation for running over the air hose. He restarted at the tail end of the lead lap cars in 17th.
– Briscoe advanced seven positions to 10th before caution flew once again on lap 200. He brought the car down pit road for his final set of tires and restarted 11th.
– Briscoe quickly advanced to fourth in the next 14 laps until the caution came out again on lap 214. 

– The race restarted with 22 laps remaining and Briscoe quickly moved to second position. He passed for the lead on lap 244 with six laps to go and held on for his first victory of the season.
– The win marks Briscoe’s second career victory. He also has eight top-five’s and 14 top-10’s in the 2019 season.

Next Up: Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York on August 3rd at 3:00 p.m. ET broadcast by NBCSN.

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 98 Ford Performance Ford Mustang:                                   

“Wow, it feels so good to finally break through and get this 98 car in victory lane. I couldn’t believe all those guys used their final set of tires with almost 100 laps to go – Boswell made the perfect call and we had the tires we needed at the end. I can’t thank this team enough for all their hard work and for believing in me. They deserve this win.”

COLE CUSTER – 2019 NXS Iowa II Race Report

Race Name: U.S. Cellular 250 (Race 19 of 33)
Venue: Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Race Winner: Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi (Ford)
Results: Chase Briscoe: 1st | Cole Custer: 29th
Point Standings:
– Cole Custer: 3rd with 760 points; trails points leader by 97 points
– Chase Briscoe: 7th with 625 points; trails points leader by 232 points

Cole Custer / Haas Automation Ford Mustang Recap:

– Custer qualified sixth and would run fourth the majority of Stage 1 before a yellow flag on lap 44.
– The No. 00 would pit for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. He would restart fifth and would gain three positions to finish second in Stage 1. He earned nine stage points.
– Custer would restart Stage 2 in second after not pitting. He would run around third until a yellow on lap 74. He would restart third and would finish Stage 2 in the fourth position, earning seven more stage points.
– The No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang would restart third in the final stage. He would run second the majority of the stage until a yellow on lap 151.
– Custer would be caught speeding on pit road and would restart 20th. He would gain seven positions before getting involved in a late-race incident on lap 161, ending his night in 29th.

Next Up: Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York on August 3rd at 3:00 p.m. ET broadcast by NBCSN.

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang:

“We had a good run going there before getting caught speeding on pit road. Mike Shiplett decided to have us come back down to pit road and put old tires back on, so we could save our new ones for a late yellow. We ended up getting caught in fluid or something but I lost the handle on the car and it ended our night early. I hate it for everyone at SHR but we will move on to Watkins Glen next week to get back on track.”

KEVIN HARVICK – 2019 Pocono II Race Advance

Prior to visiting victory lane in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 last Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon to secure his position in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Kevin Harvick was asked about the current state of NASCAR racing tactics.

His comment was very simple.

“If you drove like this 10 years ago, you’d have a fist in your mouth.”

Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is one of the last remaining Generation X drivers to experience such history in NASCAR, and he used his vast driving experience when he battled door-to-door and banged fenders with Denny Hamlin in the thrilling final lap at New Hampshire to score his first race win of the season. It put him in position to race for his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.

Generation X is pretty much defined as anyone born between the years 1965 and 1980. Harvick was born in 1975, grew up during the 1980s, and made his NASCAR touring series debut in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series in 1995 at the age of 19 and now stands as an elder statesman in the Cup Series.

Even his personal “Happy Harvick” logo of a smiley face with flames is a takeoff of the original smiley face logo created in the late 1960s and made popular in the 1970s. It was slightly altered to highlight his rather sunny disposition off the track while being known for his fiery personality behind the wheel.

The folks at Busch Beer, who read some comments Harvick made in 2018 about older guys being better than the heavily hyped younger guys in the Cup Series garage, came up with a pink Millennial Car for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway after millennial driver Joey Logano won the Cup Series championship in 2018.

Busch is at it again, but this time in a way more fitting for its driver’s generation – a No. 4 Busch Beer Gen X #4The Cup Ford Mustang. The car will sport images of things that Gen Xers once embraced, including boom boxes, skateboards, and words like “gnarly” and “fresh.” Generation X also is known for MTV (yes, there were music videos), 8-bit video games (Zelda anyone?), Miami Vice (White Suits rule), and making mix-tapes for their boom boxes or Sony Walkman (Hello, Huey Lewis and the News). While Gen Xers certainly have their gnarly style quirks, they also have a hardened edge to their personality.

Generation X is known for earning it, something Harvick is still looking to do for the first time at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, where the Cup Series Gander RV 400 takes place Sunday. He has won at every track on the NASCAR circuit save for Pocono and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. But he’s finished in the top-10 in eight of 11 races at Pocono since joining SHR, including four runner-up finishes.

In his six seasons with crew chief Rodney Childers at SHR, the duo has combined to produce 23 points-paying victories, a victory in the non-points-paying 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte, 22 poles, 100 top-five finishes and 139 top-10s while leading 9,140 laps.

They won the 2014 championship, finished runner-up in the 2015 title chase to champion Kyle Busch, finished eighth in 2016 and third in 2017 and 2018. The team has qualified for the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway four times in the last five years.

Perhaps, if Harvick wins at the 2.5-mile oval this week, he’ll play a little music – on his old Walkman, per chance? – to celebrate, something like “You’re the Best Around” by Joe Esposito from the 1984 movie, The Karate Kid.

Because a participation trophy is not needed – Harvick wants to earn this trophy.

That is what Gen Xers do.

 

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Gen X #4TheCup Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

 

When did this style of racing start with guys racing all over the track? Many people feel like it wasn’t that way 10 years ago.

“If you drove like this 10 years ago, you’d have had a fist in your mouth. What changed were the rules and, when every spot becomes that much more difficult to achieve, you have to defend the spots that you have because you know that you might not get it back, and you know that you have to block. Blocking is a part of what we do. Defending your position is a part of what we do and it’s just an evolution of where the rules package is. Heck, I had a blown motor (at Kentucky Speedway), a broken engine and was only three-tenths off the pace, so you’re talking about small amounts of time, especially on the mile-and-a-half racetracks, where you know if you can keep somebody behind you – and that comes with side-drafting and blocking and all those things – that if they’re directly behind you, there’s no way they’ll pass you because of the aero.”

There will be PJ1 at Pocono. What are your thoughts on that?

“Our car was extremely fast there last time and the steering box broke, so I feel like we had a lot to build on for us individually as an organization and team we’re still trying to recover from not being where we needed to be to start the season. The progression for us has been rapid. There have been a lot of different things that have been tried as we’ve gone over these last two months and we’re still building and trying to get the cars exactly where we’d like them to be, but Pocono was definitely a race we could have won with the circumstances going right, and it seems like on the days where we’ve had chances to win, we’ve just either made mistakes or we’ve had something go wrong. It’s probably been three or four, maybe five times this year, that we’ve had those opportunities and just haven’t capitalized on them, but Pocono was definitely one of those races. I feel like we’ve been able to hopefully make the car better than it was last time. I think we’ve done that every week, so I think as you go there with the PJ1, a lot of that came from the meeting at Daytona with the communication from the drivers and NASCAR and everybody trying to figure out how to make the racing better there. And, with these particular cars and the way that passing has been so difficult, lanes are a good option for all of us to make the racing better. I think, from the outside looking in, the race is OK to watch. From inside the car, it’s a little bit frustrating just because of how difficult it has been to pass at some of the racetracks, so I think with as much better as we are as a sport in adding the PJ1 at a lot of these racetracks and seeing the results. I mean, it was way better at Kentucky than it had been in the past. You look at this particular racetrack and Bristol and we’ve just done a lot better job. You look at the science that goes into when you spray it, how you spray it, all the things that come into play, the long and short of the story is we’ve just become a lot better at the traction compound and the things that we do, and when we put it down and where we put it down, and you see a lot more people open to it because it’s more consistent. We need lanes as drivers in order to go where the other car isn’t in order to pass, and I think that’s really the reasoning behind Pocono.”

Regarding your mental approach to each week and your capability of winning a race, was there some personal satisfaction that all of it was able to be put into place last week at New Hampshire?

“Honestly, I’m excited that we won, but it doesn’t really – we won’t have a different meeting than if we didn’t win. We won’t have different conversations. We won’t treat each other any differently. It really doesn’t change anything. I mean, honestly, this is what we’re supposed to do. This is what we get paid to do. And it’s our job, and we expect it. We expect to go out and win races, and on the days – and I said this for several weeks, now it’s almost a game of how do we fix it, how do we get to where we need to be, and how do we put ourselves in position to try to win a championship. Sometimes those years are more fun just because – more fun in the end. They aren’t more fun in the middle just because of the conversations, but the satisfaction that comes out of turning things around is sometimes more rewarding just because of the fact that it takes a lot of people to do it. Like you really have to step back and realize that I can drive the car, but there is no way I can do anything close to the amount of work that goes into putting these cars into production on the racetrack, changing things. I’m just a small, small sliver of it. But, I can tell you, confidence is never anything that we will lack.”

DANIEL SUÁREZ – 2019 Pocono II Race Advance

Daniel Suárez and the No. 41 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) return to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway this weekend for the season’s second race at the 2.5-mile track known as the “Tricky Triangle.” Suárez will pilot the No. 41 machine with the familiar, red-and-black Haas Automation livery.

At Pocono in June, Suárez started ninth in the 160-lap event and finished eighth. But, the day wasn’t without its challenges. The Haas driver had to overcome a pit-road speeding penalty during the break between Stages 1 and 2, which sent him from the top-10 to outside the top-20.

Suárez won his first Cup Series pole award at Pocono a year ago this weekend with a lap of 50.851 seconds at 176.988 mph. He was the first Mexican-born driver to win a Cup Series pole award and he captured it in only his 57th start in NASCAR’s premiere series. Suárez captured his second career Cup Series pole two weekends ago at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, SHR’s fifth of the season.

In the Haas driver’s five Cup Series starts at Pocono, he has a best finish of second earned last July, and three top-10 results. He’s led 39 laps in total at Pocono and has an average starting position of 10.0 and an average finishing position of 11.2.

Suárez has two starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Pocono with one top-five finish and two top-10s with an average starting position of 5.0 and an average finishing position of 7.0. He completed all possible laps in his Xfinity starts and led one lap in June 2017.

SHR has two Pocono victories. Team co-owner Tony Stewart earned the first in June 2009 and former SHR driver Kurt Busch captured the other in June 2016.

Suárez is in his third Cup Series season and has accumulated two top-five and seven top-10s, along with a total of 105 laps led. The 27-year-old has an average start of 15.7 and an average finish of 15.5 this season.

Ford has 23 all-time Cup Series victories at Pocono. The last two Ford winners at Pocono have been first-time victors in the Cup Series. Suárez hopes to be the third.

Suárez is currently 18th in the Cup Series standings and rounds out the four-driver SHR contingent. The top 16 drivers after the 26 regular-season races will earn a spot in the Cup Series playoffs. If Suárez captures a playoff position, it will be the first of his Cup Series career. Last year, all four SHR entries secured at least one regular-season win and a playoff spot. Suárez’s SHR teammate Kevin Harvick secured his playoff spot for this year by capturing the win last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

 

DANIEL SUÁREZ, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

Do you feel the pressure now that you’re currently outside the top-16 and a guaranteed playoff berth?

“I’m confident in the No. 41 team. We have a good group of guys who work hard. Unfortunately, we have had a few things that were out of our control that have happened during the races, which has made things more difficult for us. Other times, we’ve been trying different things to see if they’d work or not, and some of those things didn’t work. But we have some of my best tracks in Pocono and Watkins Glen coming up. We’re just going to keep focused and doing our jobs.”

What do you feel is most important to be successful at Pocono this weekend?

“Track position is extremely important every weekend, but it’s especially important at Pocono. We saw that in the race at Pocono earlier this year. Obviously, qualifying well is important to starting off strong in the race. Stage points are extremely important in helping us with making the playoffs. Track position has always been important, but it’s more important than ever. If we make a mistake, it takes so much longer and is so much harder to recover from.”

COLE CUSTER – 2019 NXS Iowa II Race Advance

Race Name: US Cellular 250 (Race 19 of 33)
Venue: Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa
Television: 5:00 p.m. EDT on NBCSN
Point Standings: 
– Cole Custer: 3rd; trails points leader by 76 points
– Chase Briscoe: 7th; trails points leader by 244 points

Haas Automation, Inc., is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. Founded by Gene Haas in 1983, Haas Automation manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are built in the company’s 1,100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets that provides the industry’s best sales, service and support while offering unparalleled cost-to-performance value.

You won the pole and finished 2nd at Iowa back in June. What do you need to gain an edge on the 20 car?

“The June race was our best race I have had at Iowa since going there in the K&N Series back in 2013. We’ve always been strong here, but Christopher has been the guy to beat the last few years here. I think we hit on something in June that will carry over to the race this week to hopefully close that gap and give Iowa a new person to celebrate with in Victory Lane. It’s by far one of my favorite tracks, so it’s a place I can’t wait to get back to and hopefully we can finish one spot better this time around.”

CHASE BRISCOE -2019 NXS Iowa II Race Advance

Race Name: US Cellular 250 (Race 19 of 33)
Venue: Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa
Television: 5:00 p.m. EDT on NBCSN
Point Standings: 
– Cole Custer: 3rd; trails points leader by 76 points
– Chase Briscoe: 7th; trails points leader by 244 points

Ford’s racing program is part of the Ford Performance organization based in Dearborn, Mich. It is responsible for major racing operations globally, including NASCAR, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, FIA World Endurance Championship, FIA World Rally Championship, Virgin Australia Supercars, Formula Drift, and NHRA Funny Car and sportsman drag racing. In addition, the organization also oversees the development of Ford’s racing engines, as well as the outreach programs with all Ford Clubs and Ford enthusiasts. For more information regarding Ford racing’s activities, please visit www.fordperformance.comwww.facebook/FordPerformance, Ford Performance on Instagram and @FordPerformance on Twitter.

Iowa Speedway is one of your favorite tracks on the Xfinity Series schedule. You didn’t come away with the finish you wanted in June. What will it take to get you up front this time around?

“We are going to a lot of the tracks on the schedule for the first time together as a team and just really trying to build a notebook and learn each other. Thankfully, this is the second time we are going to Iowa this year, so we already have a race under our belt there and have something to build off of. I think we learned a good bit back in June that should help us this weekend and get us back into the top-5 and contending for a win.”

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2019 Pocono II Race Advance

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) returns to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, where he will race for his third career top-10 finish at the 2.5-mile triangle during Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander RV 400.

Before Almirola joined SHR, his best finish at Pocono was 18th. In two of his last three starts, he’s earned finishes of seventh and 10th.

“Pocono has not been my favorite track over the past several years, but the last few times racing there with Stewart-Haas Racing has been a lot more fun and competitive to run up front,” Almirola said. “I’m looking forward to going back there. I think going back there with some notes from the first race (in June) after finding decent speed there. At times, we were pretty competitive. But now, there are just more unknowns.”

The Smithfield Ford driver has two top-10s in 14 Cup Series starts at Pocono. In 20 Cup Series starts this season, Almirola has one pole, one top-five finish, 10 top-10s and has led 112 laps. In 300 career starts, Almirola has two wins, two poles, 16 top-five finishes, 59 top-10s and 469 laps led.

Almirola has qualified on the front row six times this season – one pole and five outside-front-row starts.

While Almirola has yet to earn a win on Pocono’s “Tricky Triangle,” crew chief Johnny Klausmeier has one win as a substitute crew chief while filling in for SHR’s Tony Gibson there in June 2016.

This weekend’s event at Pocono marks the 19thpoints-paying race during which the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang this year. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its eighth season with Almirola and its second 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.

Also, fans can now get VIP, behind-the-scenes access in following “Aric ‘Beyond the 10’” by subscribing to his YouTube channel and following episodes on Facebook and Instagram TV. Episodes showcase never-before-seen footage of Almirola at the racetrack, on family trips, and “A Day in the Life” during the week, as well as all that goes into a NASCAR Cup Series driver’s season. Click hereto subscribe on YouTube and watch the latest episode.

Almirola sits ninth in the championship standings heading to Pocono, 197 points out of first.

While top-10 finishes keep Almirola safe in the playoff point standings, a win is the only thing on the Smithfield driver’s agenda this weekend at Pocono.

 

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

 

How will the racing be different this weekend compared to the past at Pocono? 

“They’re putting down some of the traction compound on all three corners and that’s going to change the racing, for sure. We’ve seen it change the dynamic at many of the other tracks. I think that will be interesting and it will put on a great race. The restarts are already wild and crazy and now, with the outer groove being more of an option, that is really going to open up a lot of opportunities on restarts and being able to run side by side.”

CLINT BOWYER – 2019 Pocono II Race Advance

Seconds after Clint Bowyer climbed from his No. 14 Ford Mustang June 2 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, he had a few words to summarize his fifth-place finish in the 400-mile Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

“That was all about track position,” said Bowyer, who has the same view more than a month later as the Cup Series returns to Pocono for Sunday’s 400-mile race.

“We weren’t happy with the finish in June because we were better than fifth – we had a really good Mustang that day,” Bowyer said. “It was really hard to pass, so it kind of came down to track position throughout. We lost a lot of stage points because of track position. I think you will see track position be just as important at Pocono again this weekend.”

Bonus points and track position will likely be key words repeated a lot this weekend at Pocono as the urgency builds in the Cup Series garage with the end of the 26-race regular season fast approaching.

With just five races remaining, Bowyer and a host of other drivers are on the cusp of securing or losing a berth in the 16-driver playoffs.

Bowyer arrives at Pocono 16th in the standings, but just 17 points ahead of 17th-place Jimmie Johnson and 72 points behind 10th-place Alex Bowman. He knows there is time to fall outside of playoff-clinching position, but also time to gain positions.

It all continues Sunday at Pocono, a track that has been kind to Bowyer over his career. He owns two top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 26 career starts at the Pennsylvania 2.5-mile triangle. His Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team has also done well there. SHR has two victories at Pocono – Tony Stewart in June 2009 and Kurt Busch in June 2016 – and has 22 top-fives and 32 top-10s in 62 starts.

“We need to put together a good run in each of the next five races,” said Bowyer, who arrives at Pocono after a 20th-place finish last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. He started 16th and finished fourth in Stage 1 and appeared destined for a top-10 finish but contact with another car late in Stage 2 damaged his car ruining his chances for a good finish.

“We have been fast this year but something has seemed to happen and we shoot ourselves in the foot or get some type of bad luck,” Bowyer said.

“We aren’t giving up and we know we can run up front. With no mistakes, we are a top team. This is getting to the money time in our season. That’s when the pay window’s open, the money’s on the line, it’s go time. Let’s see what we’re made of. Let’s line these things up and get after it.”

At Pocono this weekend, Bowyer will carry the colors of Toco Warranty, whose Toco All-Star Sweepstakes offers fans a chance to get to Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. One lucky winner and guest will attend the season finales of the World of Outlaws World Nov. 8 to 9 at The Dirt Track near Charlotte, North Carolina, as guests of Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) before jetting off to South Florida to see the NASCAR season finale Nov. 16 and 17 with Bowyer and SHR.

To register, fans simply need to go to www.TocoWarranty.com. A winner will be drawn by 5 p.m. EDT on Sept. 16.

Toco Warranty partnered with SHR and TSR earlier this year. The provider of pay-as-you-go vehicle repair coverage is a primary partner of Bowyer and the No. 14 team of SHR and the co-primary partner of Donny Schatz and TSR’s No. 15 Winged Sprint car. Toco Warranty is also an associate sponsor of Tony Stewart, who is competing in more than 90 Winged Sprint car races this year.

Consumers demand affordable monthly payments and Toco Warranty offers an easy online experience via its website, www.TocoWarranty.com.  It is where customers can purchase and review their vehicle service contract, manage online payments and access dedicated customer concierge services.

 

CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Toco Warranty/Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

What are your thoughts on Pocono Raceway?

“Pocono is a really tough track with three different turns. I want to make sure we qualify well so we can get a good starting position and pit stall. As we saw in June, passing is pretty tough there, so track position is everything. We had a good car there last time and I expect we will again. Where we are in points (16th), we need to score as many bonus points as we can.”

What would it mean to win at Pocono with Mike Bugarewicz as your crew chief?

“I know that’s a dream of Buga’s to win at Pocono with his friends and family in the stands so, yes, it would be cool to win for him. But winning anywhere right now would be a celebration. I don’t care if it’s at Pocono, Watkins Glen or Michigan. So, to answer your question, yes, a win for Buga on Sunday at Pocono would make him, me, the 14 crew, everyone at SHR, Toco Warranty, Ford and everyone in the grandstands happy. Let’s do it.”

 

MIKE BUGAREWICZ, Crew Chief of the No. 14 Toco Warranty/Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

What does Pocono mean to you?

“There’s a simple, one-word description I have of Pocono, and it’s ‘home.’ I grew up about 20 minutes from the racetrack. I’ve raced up in the Northeast and attended many of the races at Pocono. I used to go to qualifying all the time there. Pocono means a lot to me. It would really mean a lot to me to have a win there at some point in my career. I haven’t been successful with that, yet, but I hope to change that shortly.”

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2019 New Hampshire Race Report

Event: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (Round 20 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (1.058-mile oval)
Format: 301 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/151 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/11th(Running, completed 301 of 301 laps)
Point standing: 9th with 586 points, 197 out of first

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

● Aric Almirola started ninth and finished third, earning eight bonus points.
● The No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang gained two positions by lap 10.
● On lap 29, Almirola noted loose-handling conditions, but crew chief Johnny Klausmeier said he was turning the fastest laps on the track.
● Almirola drove to sixth before the caution on lap 46 was called. He pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments to tighten the No. 10 Ford.
● During the restart Almirola battled to second place before continuing to report loose conditions and finishing the stage in third.
● At the conclusion of the stage, he pitted for four fresh tires, fuel, and air pressure and chassis adjustments.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):

● Almirola started sixth and finished first, earning 10 bonus points and one playoff point.
● The No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang advanced to fourth place during the restart.
● On lap 101, Almirola held his car inside the top-five but continued to note loose-handling conditions.
● During the caution on lap 110, he pitted for only two tires and fuel. Almirola restarted sixth and drove to fourth past teammate Clint Bowyer. On lap 120 he made the pass for third.
● Almirola was instructed to stay out of the pits during a lap-137 caution, enabling him to assume the lead.
● When the green flag waved Almirola held the lead, but the caution was called again for a spin. When racing resumed, he held onto the top spot to earn his first stage win of the season.
● When Almirola came to pit road at the conclusion of the stage, the No. 21 car slid through the No. 10’s pit box and tangled the air hose, slowing the pit stop.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-301):

● Started 20th and finished 11th.
● Almirola weaved the Smithfield Ford through traffic to enter the top-15 by lap 188.
● The caution was called on lap 214 with Almirola in 14th. He pitted for four tires, fuel, and air pressure and chassis adjustments, and came off pit road in 13th.
● After another caution just a few laps later, Almirola restarted 12th. He raced to ninth place by lap 231.
● During the final caution period on lap 266, Almirola pitted from eighth place for two tires, fuel and right-rear air pressure. Contact on pit road with the No. 18 car slightly damaged the nose of the No. 10 Ford.
● When Almirola restarted from ninth place he was caught in traffic, ultimately pushing him a spot outside the top-10 by the time the checkered flag waved.

Notes:

● Almirola earned his 12th top-12 of the season and his fourth top-12 in 17 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at New Hampshire.
● This was Almirola’s third straight top-15. He finished 14th in the series’ last race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
● The Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 marked Almirola’s 300th career start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
● This was Almirola’s second straight top-12 at New Hampshire. He finished third in the series’ previous visit to the track last July.
● Almirola led once for 12 laps to increase his laps-led total at New Hampshire to 54.
● Harvick won the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 to score his 46th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his fourth at New Hampshire. His margin of victory over second-place Hamlin was .210 of a second.
● Harvick is now tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker for 16th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list.
● This was Harvick’s 23rd Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory and his milestone 100th top-10 since joining SHR in 2014.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 48 laps.
● Only 18 of the 37 drivers in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 finished on the lead lap.
● Joey Logano remains the championship leader after New Hampshire with a three-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.

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

“We scored a lot of points, but we just got behind. It’s kind of a double-edged sword when the caution comes out late like that in the stage. You’ve got to make a decision on scoring points or trying to win the race, and we chose to score stage points and that paid off.  We won the stage, but in the end we got behind and couldn’t recover from track position.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Gander RV 400 on Sunday, July 28 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2019 New Hampshire Race Report

Event: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (Round 20 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (1.058-mile oval)
Format: 301 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/151 laps)
Start/Finish: 14th/1st (Running, completed 301 of 301 laps)
Point Standing: 3rd (691 points, 92 out of first)

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

Kevin Harvick started 14th and finished eighth to earn three bonus points.
● The No. 4 Busch Beer / National Forest Foundation Ford Mustang was tight center-off early on but was in the top-10 by lap 40.
● On lap 47, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire-pressure adjustment. He resumed in seventh.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):

Harvick started seventh and finished eighth to earn another three bonus points.
● The No. 4 Busch Beer / National Forest Foundation Ford Mustang pitted on lap 78 for four tires, fuel and tire and chassis adjustments.
● On lap 110 as he ran in seventh, Harvick said the car was “a bit too loose.” Most cars pitted, but Harvick stayed out and took over the lead for the first time.
● Harvick was in the lead on the lap-116 restart, but Kyle Busch moved from third into the lead on the backstretch.
● On lap 127, while in second place, Harvick said he “needed rear grip all the way through.”
● Harvick pitted on lap 140 from second place for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment. He restarted 13th.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-301):

Harvick started second and finished first to earn five playoff points.
● On lap 198, Harvick was 1.3 seconds behind Denny Hamlin. He said the car was too tight.
● Harvick was 1.7 seconds behind Hamlin when the caution came out on lap 214. He pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment but had a little trouble getting into the pit box, and one of his crew members slipped coming around the car. Harvick resumed in fifth place.
● On lap 227, Harvick moved past Erik Jones into fourth place. He was 1.8 seconds behind leader Hamlin.
● After a caution came out on lap 266, Harvick stayed on track and assumed the lead on lap 267 while those ahead of him pitted, including Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney.
● Harvick had a solid launch on the race’s final restart on lap 273 and despite last lap contact with second-place Denny Hamlin, Harvick led the final 29 laps for the victory.

Notes:

● Harvick’s victory in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 was his first win of the season and his fourth victory in 36 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at New Hampshire.
● Harvick’s four wins at New Hampshire are the most among active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers.
● Harvick’s 20 top-10s at New Hampshire are the second most among active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Jimmie Johnson leads the series with 22 top-10s at New Hampshire.
● Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has finished in the top-five seven times at New Hampshire – a span of 10 races.
● Harvick is tied with Kurt Busch for the most top-fives (11) among active drivers at New Hampshire.
● Harvick led three times for 41 laps to increase his laps-led total at New Hampshire to 759.
● Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Denny Hamlin was .210 of a second.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 48 laps.
● Only 18 of the 37 drivers in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301finished on the lead lap.
● Joey Logano remains the championship leader after New Hampshire with a three-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer / National Forest Foundation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We’ve run well enough a few times this year to win, but we’ve just made mistakes, and to finally battle and get over that hump is a great day for everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing and everybody on the 4 car. I thought it was really questionable about how that (final restart) was going to go, and the thing took right off. The only thing that wasn’t good was we got the traffic, and my car started pushing. I knew that he (Hamlin) was going to take a shot. I would have taken a shot. I stood on the brakes and just tried to keep it straight. I just didn’t want to let him back to the inside and let him have another shot. I wanted to at least be in control of who was going to have contact in turns three and four. It was a heck of a finish – closer than what we wanted – but it was our only chance. I would have never done it (stayed out), but that’s why he (crew chief Rodney Childers) is on the box and not me.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Gander RV 400 on Sunday, July 28 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.