Riley Herbst Daytona NXS Race Report

Herbst Finishes 10th at Daytona
Monster Energy Driver’s Top-10 Streak Continues as Playoffs Loom

Date: Aug. 27-28, 2021
Event: Wawa 250 (Round 23 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 100 laps, broken into three stages (30 laps/30 laps/40 laps)
Start/Finish: 6th / 10th (Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
Point Standing: 11th (554 points, 371 out of first)

Race Winner: Justin Haley of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Jeb Burton of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Justin Haley of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)

Overview:
After two days of racing at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Riley Herbst and the No. 98 Monster Energy team kept its top-10 streak rolling for a third straight week. Herbst finished 10th in the Wawa 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series, which began on Friday night and ran only 19 laps before rain and lightning forced a stoppage, postponing the remainder of the race until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Herbst resumed the 250-mile race around the 2.5-mile oval in 37th, whereupon he drove his Monster Energy Ford Mustang up to 17th within five laps of the restart. The first stage ended under caution and Herbst was 13th. At the beginning of the second stage, the 22-year-old was second. He took the lead on the restart and held the point for nine laps before Brandon Brown took the top spot. Herbst stayed in the top-10 for the remainder of the stage and rallied to finish fourth, earning seven valuable bonus points. Herbst remained in the top-10 for the final stage and ran as high as fifth while jockeying for position among the draft. Two caution periods with subsequent restarts left Herbst 14th as he worked to make the bottom lane the preferred line to the front. It didn’t materialize quickly enough, but it did allow Herbst to break back into the top-10 to score his ninth top-10 of the season. The result, combined with Michael Annett’s 30th-place finish, allowed Herbst to expand his advantage over the top-12 cutoff to make the NASCAR Playoffs. While on the bubble in 12th, Herbst now has a 68-point margin over 13th-place Annett with three races remaining in the regular season before the NASCAR Playoffs begin Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“To be honest, we’re happy with a 10th-place finish, but it kind of sucks when we had a car capable of winning, but that’s just the racer in me. Overall, it was a really, really good day for our year and our points situation. We’ll take it, but, man, finishing 10th with a first-place car is always a gut punch. I think we had to play it safe, but I don’t know. I just want to win a race and show people that I can win a race in this series. We’ll go to Darlington.”

Notes:
● Herbst increased his laps led total at Daytona to 25.
● Justin Haley won the Wawa 250 to score his fourth career Xfinity Series victory, his first of the season and his second at Daytona. His margin over second-place AJ Allmendinger was .023 of a second.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 29 laps.
● Thirty-one of the 40 drivers in the Wawa 250 finished on the lead lap.
● Allmendinger leaves Daytona as the new championship leader by just a single point over second-place Austin Cindric.

Next Up:
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 on Saturday, Sept. 4 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

-SHR-

“In the Know” Daytona International Speedway

“In the Know”
Daytona International Speedway

Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona marks the end of the regular season for the Cup Series drivers. 15 drivers have already clinched a spot in the 16-driver postseason field, while 15 others still have a shot to clinch that final coveted Playoff spot, if one of them can produce a win this weekend. All eyes will be on the 2.5 mile paved oval Saturday, as Daytona is known for its unpredictable finishes.

The Details

● Event: Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Round 26 of 36)
● Time/Date: 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Aug. 28
● Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway
● Layout: 2.5-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 160 laps/400 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 50 laps / Stage 2: 50 laps / Final Stage: 60 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang

Describe the intensity of racing at Daytona.
“You have to be aggressive just for the fact that if you’re not aggressive, it always seems like you’re not going to be where you need to be. Nine times out of 10, the aggressor is going to be the guy who comes out on the good side of things just for the fact that you’re making things happen and you’re not waiting for something else to happen. When you wait for something else to happen, that’s usually when you get in trouble because it’s usually someone else’s mess. You can still get in trouble if you’re aggressive, but with this rules package and the way things are, it’s best to stay aggressive and try to stay up front.”

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

What does it take to win at Daytona?
“Survival. When you go to Daytona, that’s really it. We will have fast racecars – there is no doubt about that. Surviving the wrecks. There will be accidents. There are a lot of people in do-or-die situations to where they have to win to get in (the playoffs), so there is going to be a lot of desperation on the track and it will create a lot of intensity and drama. Just making sure you’re in the right place at the right time, which you can’t always predict, is the key – being there at the end.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

It’s the last chance to get in the playoffs. What is the strategy for the No. 14 team?
“I think it’s what my strategy has always been at Daytona and that’s to stay aggressive all day long. I don’t like to run in the back and wait it out. One conversation with Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. years ago really changed my thinking on how to race Daytona and Talladega. Every time I’ve followed his advice of just going for it from the start and staying aggressive, I’ve run well. You still have to stay out of trouble, but if you’re just hanging out in the back you don’t know what your balance is in the pack and what you need your car to do when you finally do get up there, so we’ll just try to get up front from the beginning and stay there.”

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Autodesk Fusion 360/HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

Does this Daytona race carry a sense of desperation, where drivers might look for opportunities that aren’t there simply because the clock is up?
“Yeah, there are going to be a lot of people on different agendas, I feel like. You’re going to have some guys who are going for all the stage points, and they’re going to race as hard as they can. You’re going to have some guys who are trying to play the safe approach and just make it to the end. So, it’s going to be a strange race to figure out who is on what agenda. The playoff cutoff line is there, so that adds a lot of tension. It’s a really crazy, unpredictable race anyway, so it might be tough for some guys to go into it with their head screwed on straight, if you will.”

SHR Stats

The Coke Zero 400 will mark Kevin Harvick’s 41st career NASCAR Cup Series start at Daytona. Harvick made his Cup Series debut at the track on July 7, 2001, starting 10th and finishing 25th, one spot ahead of his car owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart. In his 39 starts since, Harvick has won twice – the 2010 Coke Zero 400 and the 2017 Daytona 500 – and scored 11 top-fives and 16 top-10s while leading 279 laps. In his most recent drive on the 2.5-mile oval in this year’s Daytona 500, Harvick finished fourth. Outside of the NASCAR Cup Series, Harvick has made 19 career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Daytona and three IROC starts. Of Harvick’s 47 Xfinity Series wins, only one is at Daytona – the 2007 season opener. And Harvick’s best IROC finish at Daytona is seventh, earned twice (2003 and 2004). Harvick is a two-time Xfinity Series champion (2001 and 2006) and the 2002 IROC champion.

Aric Almirola scored his first career Cup Series win in the rain-shortened July 2014 race at Daytona, when he led 14 laps. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, he started on the pole in his first outing in July 2007, and he captured a win there while piloting the No. 98 Biagi-Den Beste Ford Mustang in July 2016. Almirola also has three Daytona starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with a best finish of 12th. This marks Almirola’s 20th points-paying Cup Series start at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

Chase Briscoe made his Cup Series debut in this year’s Daytona 500 and finished 19th after sustaining damage early in the race when the car in front of him had a tire go down and made contact with the No. 14. Outside of the Cup Series, Briscoe has made six starts at Daytona – four in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and one apiece in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the ARCA Menards Series. His best finish is third, earned twice – August 2020 in the Xfinity Series and February 2017 in the Truck Series.

Saturday’s 400-mile race will be Cole Custer’s 65th Cup Series start and his fourth on the Daytona oval. At this year’s season-opening Daytona 500, Custer led a lap and ran a majority of the final stage in the top-10 before finishing 11th. A year ago this weekend, he started 16th and was working his way toward the top-10 in the final laps before being collected in a multicar accident three laps short of the finish. In his Daytona 500 debut in February 2020, Custer started 12th but was forced to retire on lap 174 due to a rear-end mechanical issue.

In NASCAR Xfinity Series competition at Daytona, Custer made six starts from 2017 through 2019, all in SHR Fords. He had a best start of third in the August 2018 race, and best finishes of 14th in the 2018 and 2019 season openers, both seasons culminating with runner-up finishes in the series championship.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Daytona International Speedway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

SHR Post-Race Report: Michigan International Speedway

STEWART-HAAS RACING
FireKeepers Casino 400

Date: Aug. 22, 2021
Event: FireKeepers Casino 400 (Round 25 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)

Race Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

SHR Race Finish:
● Chase Briscoe (Started 21st, Finished 11th / Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
● Kevin Harvick (Started 8th, Finished 14th / Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 23rd, Finished 17th / Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 27th, Finished 23rd / Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (9th with 756 points, 248 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (22nd with 450 points, 554 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (23rd with 436 points, 568 out of first)
● Cole Custer(28th with 382 points, 622 out of first)
Note: With an insurmountable 104-point margin over 17th-place Austin Dillon in the championship standings, Harvick clinched his spot in the 16-driver NASCAR Playoffs with one race still remaining in the regular season. He joins teammate Almirola who earned his playoff spot by virtue of his win July 18 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

SHR Notes:
● Briscoe earned his seventh top-15 of the season and it came in his 25th career NASCAR Cup Series start and his first at Michigan.
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie for the 21st time this season.
● Harvick hasn’t finished outside the top-15 at Michigan since June 2015.

Race Notes:
● Ryan Blaney won the FireKeepers Casino 400 to score his sixth career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Michigan. His margin over second-place William Byron was .077 of a second – the closest Cup Series finish in track history since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993.
● This was Ford’s 710th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory and its seventh straight at Michigan.
● This was Ford’s series-leading 42nd win at Michigan, which is the most at any track currently on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Ford scored its first Michigan win with NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson on Aug. 17, 1969.
● There were six caution periods for a total of 29 laps.
● Twenty-six of the 37 drivers in the FireKeepers Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Larson remains

Michigan Quotes

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We definitely didn’t start off how we wanted to. The guys kept working on it and making it better, and I felt like at the end we got two really good restarts. I thought I was going to be looking really good for a top-five finish, but Kurt (Busch) got loose and I had nowhere to go. It caved the nose in, and obviously we were struggling those last few laps. From where we started to where we finished it was great. I just thought for a second we would finish way better than 11th. We’ve made big gains the last month and a half. It’s really encouraging, and we have one more week to try to make it in the playoffs at Daytona, where anything can happen. So we’ll go there and try to get in.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Feeding America/Wow Wow Classic Waffles Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was a frustrating day, for the most part. We started out really, really loose with our Feeding America/Wow Wow Classic Waffles Mustang and kept working on it. We made improvements each time, but it never quite got to where we could make significant forward progress. This is a tough track to get everything right, especially with no practice or qualifying. It’s on to Daytona next week, where anything can happen, and we’re certainly going to try and make something happen in the last race before the playoffs.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Our Smithfield Ford Mustang had the handling we needed after making some adjustments, but we just didn’t have the speed to contend up front today. We had to really play defense on the restarts and then hope our long-run speed gave us a shot to pass more cars. Ready to head to my hometown race to cap off the regular season in Daytona and gear up for the playoffs.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday, Aug. 28 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The regular-season finale starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage on NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Subway Partners With Stewart-Haas Racing

World’s Largest Quick-Service Restaurant Brand Puts Eat Fresh Refresh on Fast Track

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Aug. 24, 2021) – Subway® restaurants has partnered with Stewart-Haas Racing to put its Eat Fresh Refresh on the fast track by becoming a primary partner of the championship-winning NASCAR team.

The world’s largest quick-service restaurant brand will begin its association with Stewart-Haas Racing when it debuts on the No. 4 Ford Mustang of Kevin Harvick during the Sept. 18 NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Subway will return as a primary partner of the No. 4 team Oct. 24 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. For all other races, Subway will be an associate sponsor on the No. 4 Ford.

“Subway is proud to team up with Stewart-Haas Racing, Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Ford to help us showcase the ongoing transformation happening at Subway restaurants across the country,” said Carrie Walsh, Chief Marketing Officer, Subway. “The track record of Stewart-Haas Racing, Kevin and the team mirrors Subway’s promises to guests of offering better choices, as well as the importance of refreshing to stay at the top of your game. We look forward to celebrating success on and off the track.”

Subway launched the Eat Fresh Refresh last month, which celebrates the biggest changes in the brand’s history, including improvements to almost every core product on the menu along with an enhanced digital and in-restaurant experience to deliver better choices every day.

The partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing reunites Subway with NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart. The “Stewart” in Stewart-Haas Racing scored the 33rd of his 49 career NASCAR Cup Series victories in a yellow-and-green Subway-sponsored racecar on Oct. 5, 2008 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. It was his last win before a refresh of his own, as he formed Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009 with machine tool magnate Gene Haas to become a driver/owner where he ultimately won his third and final NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2011.

“Sometimes you’ve got to change direction and, for me, becoming a driver/owner in the NASCAR Cup Series was exactly the refresh I needed,” Stewart said. “Quality, quickness and the ability to adapt drives everything we do at Stewart-Haas Racing. Subway operates very similarly. I admire what Subway is doing to strengthen its customer experience, from in store to online, and we’re very proud to help tell that story.”

Stewart embodies Subway’s mantra that to be fresh, you need to refresh. He is one of the most versatile racers in all of motorsports with 13 driving championships in various styles of racecars across an array of series. His business acumen matches his driving prowess, as his race teams have claimed 29 titles, three of which are by Stewart-Haas Racing – his own in 2011 and then a second via Harvick in 2014, along with a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship in 2018.

“This is an exciting partnership because of the intensity and creativity of Subway’s activation plans,” said Brett Frood, President, Stewart-Haas Racing. “To have the personalities within our team leverage our synergies with Subway on a national scale is an incredible opportunity for our organization and our sport. We look forward to delivering all of Subway’s improvements to our loyal fans and beyond.”

About Subway® Restaurants:
As the world’s largest quick-service restaurant brand, Subway serves freshly made-to-order sandwiches, wraps, salads and bowls to millions of guests, across more than 100 countries in nearly 40,000 restaurants every day. Every restaurant is owned and operated by Subway franchisees – a network of more than 20,000 dedicated entrepreneurs and small business owners – who are committed to delivering the best guest experience possible in their local communities.

About Stewart-Haas Racing:
Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based organization has won two NASCAR Cup Series titles, one NASCAR Xfinity Series championship and more than 90 NASCAR races, including such crown-jewel events as the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. For more information, please visit us online at StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram and on YouTube.

-SHR-

Riley Herbst Michigan NXS Race Report

Herbst Scores Seventh at Michigan
Driver of Monster Energy Ford Mustang Earns Second Straight Top-10 Finish

Date: Aug. 21, 2021
Event: New Holland 250 (Round 22 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)
Format: 125 laps, broken into three stages (30 laps/30 laps/65 laps)
Start/Finish: 8th / 7th (Running, completed 139 of 139 laps)
Point Standing: 11th (520 points, 387 out of first)
Note: Race extended 14 laps past its scheduled 125-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner: AJ Allmendinger of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: AJ Allmendinger of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)

Overview:
Riley Herbst threaded his way through a multicar accident and three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish to come home seventh in the New Holland 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Herbst started eighth in the 40-car field and deftly kept his No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang under him during the first 15 tours around the 2-mile oval. “I am white-knuckling this thing,” said Herbst just after the competition caution waved on lap 15. Chassis adjustments called by crew chief Richard Boswell on the team’s ensuing pit stop and another set of adjustments during a subsequent stop under caution on lap 32 aided Herbst greatly. This was evident on lap 37 when Herbst smartly maneuvered his Monster Energy machine through a seven-car melee off turn two and down the backstretch. After lining up 12th for the lap-46 restart, Herbst cracked the top-10 and held the spot through the end of the second stage, earning a valuable bonus point. From there, Herbst was a top-10 mainstay. When the checkered flag waved after the third attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Herbst was seventh. It was his eighth top-10 of the season and his second straight, as the 22-year-old from Las Vegas finished eighth last Saturday on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The solid run boosted Herbst’s playoff standing, too. While still holding onto the 12th and final playoff spot, Herbst increased his margin over 13th-place Michael Annett to 41 points.

Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I just was trying to bide my time and race smart today with our points scenario. I think we expanded on that a little bit and gained into the guy in front of us. All in all, it was a good day. I wish we could’ve ran just a little bit better though and finished in the top-five.”

Notes:
● AJ Allmendinger won the New Holland 250 to score his eighth career Xfinity Series victory, his third of the season and his first at Michigan. His margin over second-place Brandon Jones was .163 of a second.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 43 laps.
● Only 14 of the 40 drivers in the New Holland 250 finished on the lead lap.
● Austin Cindric remains the championship leader after Michigan with a 35-point advantage over second-place Allmendinger.

Next Up:
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Wawa 250 on Friday, Aug. 27 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

-SHR-

“In the Know” Michigan International Speedway

“In the Know”
Michigan International Speedway

MIS is one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR circuit, due to a repave in 2012. The long straightaways allow drivers to reach speeds in excess of 200 mph!
More than 8,000 campsites at MIS make it the largest registered campground in the State of Michigan. We look forward to seeing all the fans this weekend!

The Details

● Event: FireKeepers Casino 400 (Round 25 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Aug. 22
● Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn
● Layout: 2-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 200 laps / 400 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 60 laps / Stage 2: 60 laps / Final Stage: 80 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC SN/ MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

How satisfying were your back-to-back wins last year at Michigan?
“When you look at being able to do that two days in a row, it says a lot about the guys working on the cars and being able to turn that around. Being able to say, ‘Hey, we need to do this better or that better.’ After you just won the race literally less than 24 hours later, you go back out on the racetrack and be good with those changes to be confident enough to say the track is going to change, we need to make these changes and do that again. There’s an evolution that needs to take place, and the evolution that took place over the course of two days was definitely challenging – to be able to convince yourself that you needed to do better than you did the first day. But you had to know that everybody was going to get better the second day and the racetrack was going to be different. Those guys do a great job prepping the Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang and it makes my job easy.”

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

You’re officially locked into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. What does that mean to you after such a crazy year?
“Man, if you look back at the year we have had, being in the NASCAR playoffs is everything. I relate not getting into the playoffs like not getting picked on a team to play pickup basketball when you’re back in school. You feel left out while everyone else is playing the game to win even though you know you’re good enough. To be so far back in the standings and finally capitalize in a must-win situation is a highlight of my career. We hope we’re peaking at the right time – especially since the first round hosts the 750 (horsepower) package, which seems to be some of our best tracks this year.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

Now we go from road course to a 2-mile speedway. Is there anything that can carry over to Michigan?
“From a confidence standpoint, yes. If I do end up in front at Michigan, I know I can run with these guys. I don’t have a ton of experience racing Martin Truex Jr., or these other guys who run up front every week. I don’t know their tendencies in certain situations, what they do and how they race. Now, if we get up there, I understand a little more how they’re going to run the restarts and protect their line. The 550 (horsepower) package hasn’t been our strong suit, but it’s a big weekend for Ford and we want to perform well. So, like I’ve said before, if we can hit all those things right, we are capable of running up front and that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Feeding America®/Wow Wow Classic Waffles Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

You looked like you were headed to a solid top-10 finish on the road course at Indy last weekend, and then it seemed like another case of bad luck ruining a good effort by you and the team. Your thoughts?
“I feel like we’re executing really well during races. It’s at the end where we get caught up in other peoples’ chaos and mess, or something happens that completely turns the race upside down for us. There really isn’t one thing you can point to in terms of what we need to do differently. Look at Indy last week, where we were so strong and it really felt like we had a chance to come out with a good finish. Then you get so many cautions and red flags at the end.”

SHR Stats

Aric Almirola is officially locked into the 2021 NASCAR playoffs. This is the fourth consecutive playoff appearance in Almirola’s four years at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) and fifth playoff appearance of his 12-year career. In 17 NASCAR Cup series starts at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Almirola has two top-10 finishes and 13 laps led. He has three NASCAR Xfinity series starts there with a best finish of eighth and has one win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series in only two starts. Last year, the speedway hosted its first doubleheader weekend. Almirola finished 16th and sixth in the Saturday and Sunday races, respectively.

Kevin Harvick has won the past three races at MIS, including a sweep of the double-header last year. In taking back-to-back checkered flags on Aug. 8-9 at Michigan, Harvick became the first driver to win two NASCAR Cup Series races on consecutive days since Richard Petty in 1971 when Petty won July 14 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, New York, and July 15 at Islip (N.Y.) Speedway. The FireKeepers Casino 400 will mark Harvick’s 41st career NASCAR Cup Series start at Michigan, tying him with Kurt Busch for the most among active drivers. Since making his first start at the track on June 10, 2001, Harvick has scored five wins, 15 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes while leading 699 laps, all of which are series bests.

Sunday’s 400-mile race will be Cole Custer’s 64th Cup Series start and third at Michigan. In three Xfinity Series appearances at Michigan from 2017 through 2019, all in the No. 00 SHR Ford, Custer never finished outside the top-12 or qualified worse than seventh. His best outing was a third-place finish from the fourth starting position in 2018. He finished 10th from seventh on the grid in 2017, and finished 12th from sixth on the grid in 2019.

Chase Briscoe will make his first Cup Series start at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn during Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400. It will be his third overall NASCAR national series start at the 2-mile oval. While it has been two years since Briscoe last visited the track, he has plenty of experience to tap into as he has never finished outside of the top-10 there. In his lone NASCAR Xfinity Series start in 2019, Briscoe started 14th and finished seventh.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Michigan International Speedway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

SHR Post-Race Report: Indianapolis Road Course

STEWART-HAAS RACING
Inaugural Verizon 200 at the Brickyard
Date: Aug. 15, 2021
Event: Inaugural Verizon 200 at the Brickyard (Round 24 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.439-mile, 14-turn road course)
Format: 82 laps, broken into three stages (15 laps/20 laps/47 laps)
Note: Race extended 13 laps past its scheduled 82-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner: AJ Allmendinger of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 25th, Finished 14th / Running, completed 95 of 95 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 18th, Finished 19th / Running, completed 95 of 95 laps)
● Cole Custer(Started 10th, Finished 25th / Running, completed 94 of 95 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 2nd, Finished 26th / Running, completed 94 of 95 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (9th with 733 points, 220 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (22nd with 424 points, 529 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (23rd with 416 points, 537 out of first)
● Cole Custer(28th with 368 points, 585 out of first)

SHR Notes:
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie for the 20th time this season.
● Briscoe finished ninth in Stage 1 to earn two bonus points.
● Briscoe led once for 12 laps.

Race Notes:
● AJ Allmendinger won the inaugural Verizon 200 at the Brickyard to score his second career NASCAR Cup Series victory and his first of the season. His margin over second-place Ryan Blaney was .929 of a second.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 25 laps.
● Only 24 of the 40 drivers in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Larson remains the championship leader after Indianapolis with a 22-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.

Indianapolis Quotes

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com/Ford Performance Racing School Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“There at the (final) restart, everybody is trying to outbrake each other getting into (turn) one, and we all kind of missed it to a certain extent. I was getting run wide and had nowhere else to go. I knew I was going to go through the grass. It was just a matter of do you go through it slow or gas it wide open and hope you get through it. I don’t know if there would have been a penalty if I had gone through it slow, but that was my only chance to win the race at that point. I went for that and stayed on (Denny Hamlin) tight and knew the 16 (AJ Allmendinger) was right behind me. He was on newer tires.

“A lot of guys were getting lazy through that turn and would just swing it out wide and leave the bottom wide open. So I was kind of all over him (Hamlin) in the esses, and when I went to go underneath him, I just clipped him in the right rear. He was already trying to get back to the left, so it just turned him right around. It is unfortunate for them. They were probably going to win the race if the 16 didn’t get to him. For us, we got a penalty, and I don’t even know where we (would have) finished. It is frustrating to be that close. You can taste it and imagine what it would be like, and then it gets taken away. I have a lot to be proud of. I feel like I showed that I belong here and I will get another chance next year.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Autodesk Fusion 360/HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We had a really good day in terms of execution and sticking to our plan. Unfortunately, that changed toward the end and we were involved in a wreck during overtime. Our Autodesk Fusion 360/HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang was a top-five car but luck wasn’t on our side, so we’ll head to Michigan and give it another shot.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Not the day we wanted for our Mobil 1 Ford team, but we certainly made the most of it. We got caught up there with nowhere to go and took on a lot of damage. The guys worked hard all day to keep us on the lead lap. We never gave up all day with a torn-up racecar to get ourselves a top-20. On to Michigan.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday, Aug. 22, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage on NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

-SHR-

Riley Herbst Indy Road Course NXS Race Report

Herbst Finishes Eighth at Indianapolis
Monster Energy Driver Rebounds from Incident to Score Seventh Top-10 of Season
Date: Aug. 14, 2021
Event: Indianapolis 150 at the Brickyard (Round 21 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.439-mile, 14-turn road course)
Format: 62 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/22 laps)
Start/Finish: 6th / 8th (Running, completed 62 of 62 laps)
Point Standing: 11th (489 points, 407 out of first)

Race Winner: Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Justin Haley of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: A.J. Allmendinger of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)

Overview:
Riley Herbst and the No. 98 Monster Energy team rebounded from a mid-race incident to finish eighth in the Indianapolis 150 at the Brickyard. Herbst started sixth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and climbed to fourth after a lap-five restart. An opportunity arose when the caution flag came out again on lap 17 – just five laps before the end of the stage. Crew chief Richard Boswell opted to keep Herbst out on the track when the leaders pitted, allowing Herbst to inherit the lead on the ensuing restart. With only two laps to go in the stage when the race went back green, Herbst was in contention for the stage win until being passed on the final lap by Justin Haley. But Herbst’s runner-up result in the stage earned him nine valuable bonus points. The No. 98 team pitted during the break for four tires and fuel before trouble came at the start of the second stage. Herbst was moving his way up through the field after restarting 21st when he was hit by another car that had gone off track. Herbst continued to pass cars despite damage to the left-front corner of his Monster Energy Ford Mustang, along with damage to the rear of his car. Herbst made it up to 12th before the lap-30 caution. The team pitted to fix the damage and restarted the race in 24th. Herbst continued to pass cars, and a strategy call to stay out again when the leaders pitted ended up in Herbst’s favor as the caution came out with two to go in the second stage. Herbst finished ninth in the penultimate stage to gain two bonus points. When the race restarted on lap 44, Herbst was 16th. He made quick work of the drivers in front of him, rising to 13th in three laps. In the final few tours around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course, Herbst continued his drive toward the front, passing five more cars to earn his seventh top-10 of the season and gain enough points to put his name above the cutline in the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs standings.

Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It feels really good to be above the playoff cutline after the day we had at Indy. Our Monster Energy Ford Mustang was fast and it’s been that way all season. Glad we could showcase it at Indy and, hopefully, we’ll take that speed over to Michigan next weekend. These next few tracks have been good to us, so we just have to put the races together to get the success.”

Notes:
● Herbst finished second in Stage 1 to earn nine bonus points and ninth in Stage 2 to earn an additional two bonus points.
● Austin Cindric won the Indianapolis 150 at the Brickyard to score his 13th career Xfinity Series victory, his series-leading fifth of the season and his first at Indianapolis. His margin over second-place A.J. Allmendinger was 2.108 seconds.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 15 laps.
● Twenty-three of the 36 drivers in the Indianapolis 150 at the Brickyard finished on the lead lap.
● Cindric remains the championship leader after Indianapolis with an 82-point advantage over second-place Allmendinger.

Next Up:
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the New Holland 250 on Saturday, Aug. 21 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

-SHR-

“In the Know” Indianapolis Motor Speedway

“In the Know”
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course

After 27 consecutive years of racing the 2.5 mile oval at Indianapolis, the NASCAR Cup Series will switch gears on Sunday August 15th and race the 14-turn, 2.439 mile road course for the very first time. The weekend will also feature a new NTT INDYCAR Series race on Saturday August 14th on the road course, prepping for another history making NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend.

The Details

● Event: Verizon 200 at the Brickyard (Round 24 of 36)
● Time/Date: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 15
● Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
● Layout: 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course
● Laps/Miles: 82 laps / 200 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 15 laps / Stage 2: 20 laps / Final Stage: 47 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC / IMS Radio Network / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang

For 20 years you’ve driven through the tunnel and into Indianapolis Motor Speedway knowing that you would be racing on the oval. This year when you arrive at Indy, you’ll be racing on the road course. What will that be like?
“For me, driving through that tunnel and understanding the history and everything that comes with racing on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is something that I always look forward to. I can’t imagine driving backward on the frontstretch and driving the road course in the infield. It’s an oval thing for me. When you look at the oval and you look at the history of the racetrack and everything that comes with that – some guys may not have grown up like that, so some people will have a much different opinion – but for me the oval just holds a huge place in racing and it holds a huge place in the things that I look forward to every year. I remember the first time I pulled in there for a test in 2001 and you roll into the racetrack and you think, ‘Man, I just accomplished everything in my childhood dreams, rolling into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.’ Getting to go out on that racetrack and hearing the echoes of the cars through the grandstand is something that I’ll never forget, standing there on the front straightaway. I’m sure I’ll get over it as we start to get into practice and realize it’s just another race but, for me, it’s going to be a difficult hurdle to overcome.”

Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

What are your thoughts on racing the Indianapolis road course this weekend instead of the oval?
“If I’m being honest, I’m sad about it – to be just honest. I think racing on the oval was so cool just because I was a kid and went and watched an Indy 500 back in the late ’90s. It was a special place and to race on the oval was just special. I mean, you think about the history of that racetrack and the people that have run around that rectangular racetrack and crossed that yard of bricks and all those things, and all the races that went on before you dating back to the early 1900s, it’s just a very special place. So, to not race on the oval is weird. I’ll certainly miss it, but I have no doubt that we will put on an exciting race on the road course and it will be a lot of fun to try and figure that place out. These new road courses have been favorable with the fans, so I hope we put on a good show for them.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com/Ford Performance Racing School Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

When you revisit last year’s Xfinity Series win on the road course, what sticks out in your mind the most?
“It’s still hard to believe it happened. I thought I threw it away and then, somehow, we were three-wide. I’m still not sure how that happened, but once we got to the final corner on the final lap I knew that we had it. It was a special moment and I remember heading toward the line and the yard of bricks and just thinking, ‘Man, I wish we had fans here.’ I knew I wanted to climb the fence, I had been telling everyone all week that, if we won, I was doing it and I was kissing the bricks. It didn’t matter to me that it wasn’t the oval, I won at Indy and I may never win again, so I’m not skipping that. I had no idea at the time that it was the first race at Indy with Hoosiers finishing first and second. It was really cool to be able to be a part of that with Justin (Haley). The other piece that, of course, added to how special it was, was to get that win with Zippy. Never in a million years did I think I’d win at Indy for Stewart-Haas Racing with Greg Zipadelli as my crew chief.”

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Autodesk Fusion 360/HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

It’s almost everyone’s first time on the Indy road course this weekend. Is there anything from the previous road-course races this year that can carry over into your performance this weekend?
“The Glen is a little bit of its own animal, I feel like, just because it’s so fast and a little bit different than everywhere else. Indy, I think you can take some of the stuff we’ve learned this year and apply it there. Obviously, this is the year we’ve run the most road courses and we’ve been able to see a lot of different things and I think you’re able to hone in on what you will need. I expect the Indy road course will be difficult. The simulator work we’ve been doing is to try and get ready and get acquainted with the corners, and then we’ll try and adapt as quickly as we can once we get there. That’s been the name of the game – you have to adapt once you get to the racetrack. We’ll have practice and qualifying, so that’s better than just showing up and racing.”

SHR Stats

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, has made a total of 47 NASCAR Cup Series starts on road courses. He has 20 starts at Sonoma, 20 at Watkins Glen, three at the Charlotte Roval, two on the Daytona road course, one at COTA and one at Road America. He has scored two wins – Watkins Glen in 2006 and Sonoma in 2017 – along with 10 top-fives and 24 top-10s with 195 laps led.

Last weekend on the road course at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Aric Almirola started eighth and ran in and around the top-15 for the majority of the race, ultimately crossing the finish line 16th. Almirola has 27 road-course starts in the NASCAR Cup Series. He has two top-10 finishes with a best of eighth at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, five top-20s at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International with a best finish of 12th, three top-20s on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval with a best finish of 14th, and a top-12 finish in the non-points Busch Clash Feb. 9 on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course – his best road-course finish of the year.

Sunday’s 82-lap race will be Cole Custer’s 63rd Cup Series start. He drove to an impressive fifth-place finish in last year’s Brickyard 400 on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. It was his first of two top-fives during his Cup Series Rookie of the Year campaign, which he followed up with a dramatic victory the following weekend at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Custer will be making his eighth points-paying Cup Series race on a road course. In his seven previous points-paying Cup Series starts on road courses, Custer’s best was a ninth-place run on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval last October.

Chase Briscoe returns to Indiana already a winner at the Brickyard. Last year, when the NASCAR Xfinity Series competed on the Indianapolis road course, he fulfilled a childhood dream by winning the Brickyard 150 on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn layout. The win made Briscoe the first driver to do so on the Indianapolis road course in a stock car.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

SHR Post-Race Report: Watkins Glen

STEWART-HAAS RACING
Go Bowling at The Glen
Date: Aug. 8, 2021
Event: Go Bowling at The Glen (Round 23 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (7-turn, 2.45-mile road course)
Format: 90 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/50 laps)

Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr., of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 5th, Finished 8th / Running, completed 90 of 90 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 27th, Finished 9th / Running, completed 90 of 90 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 8th, Finished 16th / Running, completed 90 of 90 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 19th, Finished 18th / Running, completed 90 of 90 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (9th with 710 points, 207 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (22nd with 411 points, 506 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (24th with 398 points, 519 out of first)
● Cole Custer (28th with 356 points, 561 out of first)

SHR Notes:
● Harvick earned his 16th top-10 of the season and his 11th top-10 in 20 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Watkins Glen.
● This was Harvick’s third straight top-10 at Watkins Glen.
● This was Harvick’s second straight top-10. He finished sixth in the series’ prior race July 18 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
● Harvick finished third in Stage 2 to earn eight bonus points.
● Briscoe earned his third top-10 of the season and it came in his first career NASCAR Cup Series start at Watkins Glen.
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie for the 19th time this season.
● Briscoe finished fifth in Stage 2 to earn six bonus points.

Race Notes:
● Kyle Larson won the Go Bowling at The Glen to score his 11th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his series-leading fifth of the season and his first at Watkins Glen. His margin over second-place Chase Elliott was 2.430 seconds.
● There were four caution periods for a total of six laps.
● Twenty-four of the 37 drivers in the Go Bowling at The Glen finished on the lead lap.
● Larson and Denny Hamlin are tied for the championship lead after Watkins Glen with each having 917 points. Their margin over nearest pursuer William Byron is 131 points.

Watkins Glen Quotes

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Our Busch Light Apple Ford was decent today. We just had to go into fuel mileage savings as soon as we came in the pits that last run, and just kind of ran our pace and finished where we finished because we couldn’t afford to run out of gas. So, they did a good job and had a good strategy. We scored a few stage points and had a solid finish, so we’ll go to the next one.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We’ve only got three top-10s now, but you’ll take any of them you can get. We ran up front a lot of the day but still weren’t quite good enough. I felt like earlier in the race I was a little bit better. And as the race went on, I don’t know if the other guys got better or we just got worse. Obviously, we’re in a position where we’ve got to go win, so ninth doesn’t necessarily cut it for us, but overall it was a good day. We got stage points and finished in the top-10, so we’ll go on to Indy. We know we’ve got to get it better if we’re gonna win one of these, and just from a balance standpoint I’ve still got to get better, too. We’ll go on to Indy and back home next week. Obviously, that one is super special, so we’ll try to capitalize there.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Go Bowling Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Overall, it was a good learning day for our No. 10 Ford team. We’re continually trying to build notes on our road course program. We just didn’t have the rear grip we needed today. It was nice going to a road course with no pressure coming off the win to try some things to improve. Thank you to Go Bowling for continuing to support us. I hope the fans had a great day at the Go Bowling at the Glen.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Our HaasTooling.com Ford was solid at the end of the race, and I have to thank Mike Shiplett and the guys for that. We had some work to do with a few issues involving wheel hop and brack lockup early in the race, but we made the right adjustments there at the end. The penalty on pit road didn’t help our cause, but we were able to rally back for a top-20. We’ll stay in road-race mode for another week and see what we can do at Indy next week.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 15 on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

-SHR-