CLINT BOWYER – 2019 Martinsville II Race Report

Event:               First Data 500
Series:              Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format:             500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish:      7th/35th (Running, completed 449 of 500 laps)
Point Standing:  11th with 2,190 points 

Race Winner:    Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 130):

  • Bowyer started seventh and finished fourth to earn seven bonus points.
  • The No. 14 BlueDEF Ford driver moved from his seventh starting position to fifth in the opening two laps.
  • Bowyer pitted under caution for four tires and fuel on lap 30 and remained in the top-five.
  • Bowyer drove by teammate Daniel Suarez for fourth on lap 91.
  • Bowyer was the highest finishing non-playoff driver in the stage.
  • The crew made minor handling changes during the stage break after Bowyer reported his car was a little loose.

Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 260):

  • Bowyer started fourth and finished 29th.
  • The No. 14 BlueDEF Ford driver grabbed second place when Stage 2 began.
  • He held second place for most of the stage, even turning the fastest lap on the track a few times.
  • Seemed ready to finish second in the stage until contact with a lapped car caused a flat right-rear tire at the lap-250 mark.
  • Bowyer pitted twice for repairs and returned to the track in 29th two laps behind the leaders.

Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 500):

  • Bowyer started 29th and finished 35th.
  • Racing two laps behind the leaders, the No. 14 BlueDEF Ford team was hoping for a caution that would enable Bowyer to take a wave-around and make up one of the laps lost due to the flat tire.
  • Bowyer continued to turn impressive times, but circumstances offered no chance to make up laps on the leaders.
  • A broken track bar with 50 laps remaining in the race sent the No. 14 to the pits for repairs and ultimately to the garage, ending Bowyer’s race.

Notes:

  • Bowyer’s first win with SHR came at Martinsville in March 2018.
  • Martin Truex Jr. won the First Data 500 to score his 26th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his seventh of the season and his first at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place William Byron was .373 of a second.
  • There were 11 caution periods for a total of 69 laps.
  • Only 19 of the 38 drivers in the First Data 500 finished on the lead lap.
  • Ford took five of the top-10 finishing positions in the First Data 500.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 BlueDEF Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“That was so disappointing. Our BlueDEF Mustang was fast, and we were just cruising a lot today. We made contact with a lapped car, and I think that’s how we got the flat but I don’t know. The track bar broke at the end and ended our race. We had a great car all weekend, and we deserved better today.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday, Nov. 3 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It is the eighth race of the 10-race playoffs and the second race in the Round of 8. It starts at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2019 Martinsville II Race Advance

For the sixth consecutive year, Kevin Harvick has made it to the final eight of the NASCAR playoffs and, for the fifth time in six seasons, he’s looking to make the final four.

Harvick is hoping he can heat things up by scoring a win in Sunday’s Round of 8 openers at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and locking himself into the Nov. 17 winner-take-all Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has one win, five top-three finishes, 18 top-10s and has led a total of 628 laps in his 36 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville. His average start there is 14.0, his average finish is 15.1 and he has a lap-completion rate of 98.1 percent – 17,696 of the 18,039 laps available.

His only Martinsville Cup Series win came in April 2011, when he started ninth and led only six laps en route to the victory.

While he’s looking for his second Cup Series win at Martinsville, his sponsor, Hunt Brothers Pizza, is looking for its first at the .526-mile, paperclip-shaped oval.

Hunt Brothers Pizza has sponsored Harvick in NASCAR for 10 years and last visited victory lane with him when he won last year’s Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Harvick has also won two NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races with Hunt Brothers as a sponsor at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, both in 2011.

Sunday’s event at Martinsville is the third and final race of 2019 in which Hunt Brothers Pizza is sponsoring. The company also sponsored him in the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race in 2014 and 2015, which were conducted at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Harvick finished second in both races.

With more than 7,800 locations in 30 states, Hunt Brothers Pizza is the nation’s largest brand of made-to-order pizza in the convenience store industry. Hunt Brothers Pizza offers original and thin-crust pizzas available as a grab-and-go Hunk, perfect for today’s on-the-go lifestyle, or as a customizable whole pizza that is an exceptional value with “All Toppings No Extra Charge.” Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Hunt Brothers Pizza is family owned and operated with more than 25 years of experience serving great pizza to convenience store shoppers through its store partners.

Harvick, Hunt Brothers Pizza and the rest of the No. 4 team are hoping they can “cook up” a victory this week – and lock themselves into the final four.

 

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

Does winning a Martinsville grandfather clock mean more to you than other trophies?

“The clock at Martinsville in pretty unique. I think, as you look at the clock and the history that comes with the clock and being represented by that particular trophy, it’s something that I like. I think some of the racetracks have boring and stale trophies and, when you go to Martinsville, they’re cool clocks that represent who Martinsville is. When you go to the Daytona 500 and win the Harley J. Earl Trophy, it represents who Daytona is. When you go to some tracks and have a Plexiglas and sticker trophy, well maybe that represents some of the racetracks that we go to and some of them are the same.”

Where do you want to be at Martinsville to help you avoid trouble on the racetrack?

“I think the best position to be in at any racetrack is in the lead. You want to be in control of the race and try to get yourself in a position to where you can have a good, clean restart and have as much clear track – especially at Martinsville – just for the fact that there is so much pushing and shoving on the restarts to get to the bottom lane that you want to try to be as far forward as possible.”

When you think of Martinsville, what comes to mind?

“Some guys just have a knack for Martinsville. There are some weekends when I show up and I feel good about where I’m at and some weekends I just feel like I’ve never been there before. You look at this little bitty racetrack and you think it would be so simple, and you go out there and it becomes so hard.”

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2019 Martinsville II Race Advance

Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) heads to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway this weekend with only four races to go in the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season.

Almirola drove to a ninth-place finish in his most recent start at the .526-mile paper clip last March while earning a total of 13 bonus points. His top-10 effort was his first at Martinsville since 2014 and his first at SHR.

“We had a great weekend in Martinsville earlier this year, “Almirola said. “Our car was fast, but we got tangled with the 18 car in Stage 2 that knocked us back to 12th, and we had to fight hard to get back to where we were. I’m excited to hopefully bring back that same speed to advance in the points. No matter what the situation is, we as racers always love going to short tracks. It’s what we grew up doing and it puts the outcome in the driver’s hands more than the superspeedway races. You can’t pass much there, so it’s extremely important that you stay mentally and physically focused throughout the entire run.”

In 21 career starts at Martinsville’s half-mile oval, the 35-year-old Almirola has four top-10 finishes, one top-five and has led 56 laps. His two Martinsville starts with SHR proved to be competitive, cracking the top-10 for the SHR organization, which has four victories, 10 top-five finishes and 27 top-10s and has led 720 laps in 64 starts there.

After 32 races this season, Almirola has one pole, two top-five finishes, 11 top-10s and has led 118 laps. That adds to a career total of two wins, two poles, 17 top-five finishes, 60 top-10s and 475 laps led in 311 starts.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for us,” he said. “We started the season so strong, then hit a rough patch in the middle of the season. We almost advanced to the Round of 12 (of the playoffs), too. It just shows you how competitive this series is. We’ll continue to learn and shoot for more consistency.”

Last weekend at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Almirola piloted the No. 10 Smithfield/Hy-Vee Ford Mustang in and around the top-10 until contact with the wall and a cut tire knocked him three laps down to finish 23rd.

As the season comes to a close, Almirola sits 13th in the season standings with 2,148 points, 17 behind 12th-place Alex Bowman.

Sunday’s 400-mile race at Martinsville marks the 29th points-paying event during which the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang this year. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, based 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.

Fans can get VIP, behind-the-scenes access in following “Aric ‘Beyond the 10′” by subscribing to his YouTube channel. 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. Tune in this weekend for full access to Almirola’s playoff media day, NASCAR Burnout Boulevard and the Vegas race weekend. Click here to subscribe on YouTube and watch the latest episode.

 

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

 

What is it like racing at Martinsville?

“Martinsville is a really challenging racetrack. It’s the smallest racetrack we go to on the circuit. One of the most challenging parts about Martinsville is that the tires wear out pretty rapidly and, when that happens, you really struggle to get the power down to the ground.”

This year, NASCAR mandated a new rules package allowing 750 horsepower at tracks 1 mile in length or shorter. What did you take from running that new package this season?

“We make about 750 horsepower now with this new rules package and we can spin the tires very easily when we push the gas pedal down. To get the traction in the rear tires and to keep that as best as you can throughout the course of a run as the tires wear out is really challenging.”

DANIEL SUÁREZ – 2019 Martinsville II Race Advance

Daniel Suárez and the No. 41 Haas Automation Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) make the relatively short jaunt north to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500. Suárez will return to the red-and-black Haas Automation livery after driving his ARRIS Ford Mustang last weekend at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.

At Kansas, Suárez qualified the ARRIS Mustang eighth, making him the highest qualifying SHR entry. He led nine laps and ran in the top-10 for a majority of the day but finished 32nd at the 1.5-mile track after late-race accident.

The Mexico native has two career top-10 finishes in his five starts at the half-mile, paperclip-shaped Virginia short track. In this year’s March race, he started ninth and finished 10th. He has an average starting position there of 14.8 and an average finishing position of 16.8.

Additionally, Suárez has four Martinsville starts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors NASCAR Truck Series, which he used to gain experience for his Cup Series endeavor as the Xfinity Series does not race at the venue. In the Truck Series, he has three top-10 starts, including one outside pole position, and two top-10 results, earning him an average starting position of 6.2 and an average finishing position of 11.5.

Haas Automation, founded in 1983 by SHR co-owner Gene Haas, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.

SHR has accumulated four wins at Martinsville, the most recent by Clint Bowyer in March 2018. In total, the Kannapolis, North Carolina-based team has 10 top-five finishes and 28 top-10s in 66 starts there.

At tracks 1 mile in length or less, Suárez has five top-10 finishes and 22 laps led, with an average starting position of 18.5 and an average finishing position of 14.6.

Fans have the chance to bid on Suárez’s Kansas race-worn helmet visor benefiting the Jimmie Johnson Foundation to help raise funds for K-12 public education programs. Fans can vote hereuntil noon EDT Friday.

The Virginia track is the shortest of the season for the Cup Series at .526 of a mile, and the second-to-last short track remaining on the calendar for the 2019 season. Should Suárez score the win Sunday, he’ll take home the unique Martinsville grandfather clock trophy.

The Haas Automation driver is 18th in the standings with 757 points and has three top-fives and 10 top-10s this season, along with 141 laps led. He has an average start of 14.5 and an average finish of 16.5. He earned his second career Cup Series pole, first with the No. 41 team, in July at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

 

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

 

What makes Martinsville unique?

“I love going to Martinsville. It’s just a different atmosphere and they have things so unique to them – the trophy, the style of track, etc. It’s one of those tracks that you have to go slow in order to make yourself fast. You have to back up the corner and go slow going into it, then you really get your speed coming off of it to pass people. There’s a lot of beating and banging between all of us on the track and it’s something really fun to watch for the fans.”

CLINT BOWYER – 2019 Martinsville II Race Advance

Clint Bowyer has an interesting plan for the future of Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

“If I could do anything in this sport,” said a probably joking Bowyer. “I would remove that track from Virginia and take it with us to every place we race throughout the country. We need more short tracks, and places just like Martinsville are exactly the ticket.”

The 40-year-old Bowyer, who grew up on Kansas short tracks, loves the rustic nature of the track that’s hosted 141 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races since 1949 and whose fans mix with drivers in the infield and sit close to the action in the grandstands. Plus, it’s only a 90-minute drive from his farm in Mocksville, North Carolina.

“I love getting up on a cold morning in October and driving my truck to Martinsville,” Bowyer said. “That’s old-school racing. When the cars aren’t running, you can hear the fans talking in the grandstands. You are right out there with everybody.”

The NASCAR Cup Series holds its 33rd race of the season and first of the three-race Round of 8 of this year’s playoffs Sunday on the flat, half-mile track in Southern Virginia. Although he fell out of the playoffs at the Round of 12 finale last weekend at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Bowyer still has a lot of racing left at the final four stops of the 2019 Cup Series tour.

He’s 11th in points and looking to climb into the top 10 and getting a jump on the 2020 season. Bowyer and Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) announced Thursday that Bowyer will continue to drive the No. 14 Ford Mustang in 2020, just as he has since replacing three-time champion Tony Stewart before the 2017 season.

“I race because I love to do it and I love to come back here and everything else,” Bowyer said. “There is a lot of pride to be a part of a sport like this, something you grew up doing since you were a little boy. A great deal of pride that goes into being a part of this. As far as the aspect of doing it another year, yes, that is great and according to plan. We kind of look at Martinsville as the first race in our bid to make the playoffs and go on to a championship in 2020. We feel confident we’ll be part of the playoffs again and return to victory lane. Stewart-Haas Racing is where I wanted to be and I can’t wait to get going on 2020, but let’s finish this year out right, and there’s no better place for me to do that than at Martinsville.”

Bowyer arrives at Martinsville after finishing eighth in his home state of Kansas. The finish left him 21 points short of transferring to the Round of 8. Even outside the playoffs, Bowyer said winning a race is enough motivation for any driver the rest of this season.

“I want another one of those grandfather clocks at the house,” he said, referring to the unique “trophy” awarded to race winners at Martinsville. “Each of us is here to win. That’s what the fans pay to watch and we’ll all be digging to win Sunday.”

Bowyer’s best Martinsville moment came in March 2018, when he dominated the 500-lap race leading 215 laps on his way to winning his 10th of 11 career victories. Bowyer celebrated by drinking Busch beer with race fans in the stands that afternoon, as well as having his young family join him in victory lane.

Bowyer will pilot the No. 14 BlueDEF® Ford at Martinsville this weekend. BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is one of the key elements in the process used by diesel engine builders to meet environmental regulations. DEF is not a fuel or fuel additive. Instead, when injected into the exhaust stream and passed over a catalyst, DEF helps convert harmful gasses into nitrogen gas and water vapor – two harmless and natural components of the air we breathe.

The Martinsville race will mark the third of three primary races this season for Bowyer with Old World Industries, the parent company of the PEAK and BlueDEF® brands. PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze served as the No. 14 sponsor in May at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, and PEAK Lighting adorned the No. 14 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August.

PEAK’s legacy in motorsports spans 40 years and includes leading drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, Michael Waltrip and Kyle Petty. Besides Bowyer’s No. 14 car, PEAK is a partner with the Haas F1 team with drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, Clint Bowyer Racing’s two Dirt Late Models, and drag racing’s winningest driver John Force.

CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 BlueDEF Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

The No. 14 team battled to get into the playoffs and advanced until the second round. Your thoughts?

“Yeah, in the playoffs we stepped up in a big way. Not having a points pad or anything like that and going into these rounds is difficult. Those guys have 20 or 30 points on you, so to come with not the greatest fighting chance. Had that (losing two laps after spinning) not have happened at Talladega, I think we would be right there. You knew that was the opportunity that weekend but unfortunately it just wasn’t our day. Last week at Kansas, we ran well but it just wasn’t enough to get us into the next round.”

What are your thoughts on Martinsville?

“I love going to Martinsville. It’s a great racetrack with a lot of history. Martinsville has been hosting races for half a century and all the greats have raced there over the years. It really is a throwback in a lot of ways. It’s a flat short track like most of us grew up racing on. It’s tight, flat and fenders definitely get used. It always puts on an exciting show for the fans and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. As a fan of the sport, I don’t know how you can’t like Martinsville. And, in a lot of ways, it’s almost turned into the new go-to track for action and excitement. It doesn’t have the high banks like Bristol, but the racing, bumping, banging and all the fun stuff the fans look for has been every bit as good as anywhere we’ve gone the past few years.”

Martinsville seems to be the most difficult track for drivers to figure out. Why is that?

“It’s a short track, but it’s not like any other short track you’ve ever been to. It goes against everything your tendencies tell you to do. You have to back the corner up and let the car roll way around the corner before you get back on the gas. Your tendencies are to get in the corner as deep as you can and get back on the throttle as fast as possible. Those are two things that are catastrophic there, so you’ve got to discipline yourself and stay disciplined throughout the race.”

How quickly did you adapt to Martinsville?

“When I first went there the first couple of seasons in the sport, that was the one racetrack that I couldn’t wait to leave – I was terrible, I hated it, every aspect of it. Everything in your natural tendencies as a racecar driver doesn’t hold true there. Alright, I have to pass this guy in front of me. Well, I have to get in the corner deeper than him, I have to pick up the gas sooner than him, and both of those things took me about 27 times there before I ever figured it out.”

CLINT BOWYER – 2019 Kansas II Race Report

Event:               Hollywood Casino 400
Series:              Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Format:             267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish:      21st/8th (Running, completed 277 of 277 laps)
Point Standing:  12th with 3,083 points
Note:                 Race extended 10 laps past its scheduled 267-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish. 

Race Winner:    Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 80):

  • Bowyer started 21st and finished 21st.
  • The No. 14 DEKALB Ford driver said he liked his car in the early going but predicted it would get tight as the race progressed.
  • Bowyer moved from 21st to 12th in the opening 50 laps, turning top-six lap times.
  • A caution on lap 75 saw Bowyer move from 12th to first when he stayed on the track while the leaders pitted.
  • He hoped he could earn some stage points by staying in the top-10, but Bowyer couldn’t make the old tires work over the final two laps of green-flag racing and he fell back to 21st.
  • Bowyer suffered some damage from contact on the restart, and the crew made repairs during the stage break.

Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 160):

  • Bowyer started 21st and finished ninth to earn two bonus points.
  • The No. 14 DEKALB Ford had a vibration in the opening laps of the stage that continued for the rest of the race.
  • Bowyer moved into 10th on lap 131 despite reporting his car was tight off turns three and four.
  • He climbed to ninth before the stage ended.
  • Crew made handling adjustments to the car during the stage break and returned Bowyer to the track in ninth.

Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 277):

  • Bowyer started ninth and finished eighth.
  • He reported the No. 14 DEKALB Ford was tight in the opening laps.
  • By lap 210, Bowyer had faded to 12th. He made a scheduled green-flag stop on lap 214.
  • Bowyer held his position through a caution with less than 10 laps remaining and moved from 10th to eighth in a double-overtime finish.

Notes:

  • Bowyer earned his 16th top-10 of the season and his eighth top-10 in 23 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kansas.
  • This is Bowyer’s fourth consecutive top-15 at Kansas. He finished fifth in the series’ last visit to the track in May.
  • Bowyer finished ninth in Stage 2 to earn two bonus points.
  • Denny Hamlin won the Hollywood Casino 400 to score his 36th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his second at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .128 of a second.
  • There were seven caution periods for a total of 32 laps.
  • Only 21 of the 40 drivers in the Hollywood Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 DEKALB Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Obviously we wanted to be in victory lane. We got a little bit of damage there on that last stage. I don’t really think that affected it that much. It was a decent day. It wasn’t a stellar day by any means. I am proud of our effort. I am proud of trying something there and it working out.”

Playoff Standings (at the conclusion of the Round of 12):

  1. Kyle Busch (4,046 points)
  2. Martin Truex Jr. (4,042 points, -4)
  3. Denny Hamlin (4,037 points, -9)
  4. Joey Logano (4,030 points, -16)
  5. Kevin Harvick (4,028 points, -18)
  6. Chase Elliott (4,024 points, -22)
  7. Kyle Larson (4,011 points, -35)
  8. Ryan Blaney (4,009 points, -37)

Failed to Advance to Round of 8:

  1. Brad Keselowski (3,101 points)
  2. William Byron (3,088 points)
  3. Alex Bowman (3,084 points)
  4. Clint Bowyer (3,083 points)

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the First Data 500 on Sunday, Oct. 27 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It is the seventh race of the 10-race playoffs and the first race in the Round of 8. The event starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

DANIEL SUÁREZ – 2019 Kansas II Race Report

Event:               Hollywood Casino 400
Series:              Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Format:             267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Note:                 Race extended 10 laps past its scheduled 267-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Start/Finish:      8th/32nd  (Accident, completed 270 of 277 laps)
Point Standing:  18th with 757 points

Race Winner:    Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

  • Daniel Suárez started eighth and finished third to earn eight bonus points.
  • By lap two the Ford driver reached the top-five.
  • Suárez pitted from the second spot on lap 41 for fuel and four tires.
  • After green-flag pit stops cycled through, the ARRIS driver remained in the second spot until lap 67, when he slipped to third.
  • First caution was displayed on lap 76, and Suárez pitted from third for fuel and four tires. He restarted seventh after four cars stayed out.
  • After a sprint to end Stage 1, Suárez completed it in third.
  • Suárez didn’t pit during the Stage 1 break and started Stage 2 from the second position.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

  • Suárez started second and finished 13th.
  • He took the lead in turn two on the restart.
  • Slipped to second on lap 92.
  • Remained in the top-five on lap 115, when the second caution was displayed.
  • Pitted during the caution for fuel, four tires and adjustments, and restarted fifth.
  • During the stage break he pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his ill-handling Mustang and returned to the track in 16th.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-277):

  • Suárez started 16th and finished 32nd.
  • After a tough restart, Suárez dropped back to 20th.
  • On lap 200 he was back up to 17th.
  • On lap 213 the Ford driver pitted from 17th for fuel, four tires and adjustments.
  • After pit stops cycled through, the 27-year-old was 14th on lap 233.
  • On lap 255 Suárez pitted from 13th for fuel, four tires and adjustments and restarted 13th with nine laps remaining.
  • On lap 262 he was in the ninth spot when the next caution was displayed. He didn’t pit and restarted ninth for the first attempt at overtime.
  • The field was coming to the white flag when a multicar accident occurred involving Suárez and relegating him to a 32nd-place finish.

Notes:

  • Suárez led once for six laps – his first at Kansas.
  • Denny Hamlin won the Hollywood Casino 400 to score his 36th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his second at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .128 of a second.
  • There were seven caution periods for a total of 32 laps.
  • Only 21 of the 40 drivers in the Hollywood Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.

Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 ARRIS Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We had a really good ARRIS Mustang to start the race. We held our position up front, and then I got shuffled back on one of the restarts. We were working on adjusting the car and trying to make up our track position, and towards the end we had made a lot of ground. Unfortunately, we got in an accident getting ready to take the white flag.” 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the First Data 500 on Sunday, Oct. 27 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It is the seventh race of the 10-race playoffs and the first race in the Round of 8. The event starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2019 Kansas II Race Report

Event:               Hollywood Casino 400
Series:              Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Format:             267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish:      13th/23rd (Running, completed 274 of 277 laps)
Point Standing:  13th with 2,148 points
Note:                 Race extended 10 laps past its scheduled 267-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner:    Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80): 

  • Aric Almirola started 13th and finished 18th.
  • The Smithfield/Hy-Vee Ford driver was caught in traffic during the start of the race and fell outside the top-15.
  • Almirola noted loose-handling conditions by lap 26 but was able to drive back to 13th.
  • He pitted under green for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments on lap 44.
  • When a caution was thrown on lap 73 for a spin by the No. 6 car, Almirola pitted again from 13th place for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
  • Almirola drove to the bottom line after contact at the front forced the middle line to slow down.
  • He pitted again at the end of the stage for four tires and fuel. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

  • Almirola started 16th and finished 12th.
  • He continued to note loose-handling conditions from the No. 10 Ford Mustang.
  • The No. 10 Smithfield/Hy-Vee Ford visited pit road on lap 117 under caution.
  • Almirola drove back inside the top-15 by lap 133.
  • He battled back through traffic and said he was the most loose in turn three.
  • Almirola pitted the No. 10 Ford at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and wedge adjustments. Quick work by the Smithfield/Hy-Vee crew gained Almirola two spots.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-277): 

  • Almirola started 10th and finished 23rd.
  • Almirola held the Smithfield/Hy-Vee Ford inside the top-10 on the restart.
  • On lap 207, Almirola made contact with the wall. He pitted for four fresh tires and fuel to resume racing under green.
  • Bad luck continued when Almirola suffered a cut right-rear tire on lap 217 and had to serve a pass-through penalty for an uncontrolled tire in the ensuing pit stop.
  • After multiple cautions at the end of the race, Almirola finished 23rd, three laps down.

Notes:

  • Denny Hamlin won the Hollywood Casino 400 to score his 36th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his second at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .128 of a second.
  • There were seven caution periods for a total of 32 laps.
  • Only 21 of the 40 drivers in the Hollywood Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the First Data 500 on Sunday, Oct. 27 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It is the seventh race of the 10-race playoffs and the first race in the Round of 8. The event starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2019 Kansas II Race Report

Event:               Hollywood Casino 400
Series:              Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Format:             267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish:      40th/9th (Running, completed 277 of 277 laps)
Point Standing:  5th with 4,028 points, 18 out of first – advances to Round of 8
Note:                 Race extended 10 laps past its scheduled 267-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner:    Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80): 

  • Kevin Harvick started 40th and finished 14th.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s 3 Dollar Little John Ford Mustang was plowing tight early on.
  • On lap 43, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He reported a possible loose wheel, but the team reviewed footage and told him the lug nuts looked tight.
  • Harvick pitted again on lap 76 for four tires and fuel. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160): 

  • Harvick started 10th and finished sixth, earning five bonus points.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s 3 Dollar Little John Ford Mustang reported again to be “plowing tight.”
  • On lap 117, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. He was in 11th place but advanced to finish the stage in sixth.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-277): 

  • Harvick started 12th and finished ninth.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s 3 Dollar Little John Ford Mustang pitted on lap 164 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
  • Harvick pitted on lap 214 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure and chassis adjustment.
  • On lap 255, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

Notes:

  • Harvick earned his 22nd top-10 of the season and his series-leading 15th top-10 in 28 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kansas.
  • Harvick’s 15 top-10s at Kansas are the second-most among active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. (Jimmie Johnson has the most top-10s with 18. Trailing Harvick are Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski, who have 10 top-10s apiece.)
  • This is Harvick’s eighth consecutive top-15 at Kansas. He finished 13th in the series’ last visit to the track in May.
  • Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has only finished outside the top-15 once at Kansas. He has never finished worse than 16th with the No. 4 team.
  • Harvick is one of just three drivers who have started all 28 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas. Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman are the other two drivers.
  • Denny Hamlin won the Hollywood Casino 400 to score his 36th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his second at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .128 of a second.
  • There were seven caution periods for a total of 32 laps.
  • Only 21 of the 40 drivers in the Hollywood Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s 3 Dollar Little John Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“That was not a very good weekend from top to bottom. I just didn’t have a very good car today and didn’t have a very good day on pit road. Nothing went right all weekend. It was definitely one of the worst weekends we have had in awhile. We had to start in the back and had a tough day getting through traffic. A couple times we got up there and then had bad stops and got mired in traffic. It didn’t go as planned with our Jimmy John’s Ford, but we did what we needed to do to get to the next round, and now we get to start over.”

Playoff Standings (at the conclusion of the Round of 12):

  1. Kyle Busch (4,046 points)
  2. Martin Truex Jr. (4,042 points, -4)
  3. Denny Hamlin (4,037 points, -9)
  4. Joey Logano (4,030 points, -16)
  5. Kevin Harvick (4,028 points, -18)
  6. Chase Elliott (4,024 points, -22)
  7. Kyle Larson (4,011 points, -35)
  8. Ryan Blaney (4,009 points, -37) 

Failed to Advance to Round of 8:

  1. Brad Keselowski (3,101 points)
  2. William Byron (3,088 points)
  3. Alex Bowman (3,084 points)
  4. Clint Bowyer (3,083 points)

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the First Data 500 on Sunday, Oct. 27 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It is the seventh race of the 10-race playoffs and the first race in the Round of 8. The event starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

COLE CUSTER – 2019 NXS Kansas Race Report

Race Name: Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Stages: 45 laps / 45 laps / 110 laps (200 Total Laps)
Race Winner:  Brandon Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Results: Chase Briscoe: 3rd | Cole Custer: 11th
Point Standings:
– Cole Custer: 2nd with 3,095 points; 38 points above the cut line. 
– Chase Briscoe: 6th with 3,013 points; 2 points below the cut line

Cole Custer / Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang Recap:

– Custer started fifth and raced up to the third position on the initial start.
– The No. 00 Production Alliance Group Mustang stayed out under caution on Lap 3.
– The No. 00 restarted third on Lap 12 and raced his way to the second position by the conclusion of Stage 1.
– Custer scored nine points in Stage 1, before coming to pit road for routine service at the end of the stage.
– The No. 00 Ford started second in Stage 2, and immediately raced to the lead by passing Christopher Bell. 

– Custer scored the Stage 2 victory to pick up 10 points and a playoff point.
– The No. 00 team started the final stage from the second position, but reclaimed the lead on Lap 102.
– Custer had an issue on the Lap 150 restart and got shuffled back to the 11th position.
– The No. 00 Ford came to pit road under caution on Lap 163 for four tires and fuel before coming off pit road in the ninth position.
– Custer raced his way back to the third position when a caution flag waved for an incident between the leader and second-place car.
– Custer restarted from the lead on lap 188 and held it for two laps before getting shuffled back to the ninth position.
– The No. 00 Ford restarted ninth on lap 196 and crossed the finish line in 11th.
– Custer scored one stage win and led five times for a race-high 85 laps.

Next Up: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2nd at 8:30 p.m. ET broadcast by NBCSN.

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang:                            

“We had a really fast Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang. I wish we could have had an easier day. We had a really fast car and could have competed for a win but a lot of things went wrong. We went through one and two there and Reddick couldn’t hold his car on the bottom and washed us up into the fence. I just wasn’t very happy with it and was just going to tell him that and he went berserk on me. I guess that is part of it. I just wasn’t very happy with it. He just said, ‘Don’t touch me,’ then he started grabbing on me.”