COLE CUSTER – 2020 Indianapolis Race Report

Event: Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 (Round 16 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Note: Race extended one lap past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):             

● Cole Custer started 30th and finished 14th.
● During the lap-12 competition caution Custer reported his No. 41 HaasTooling.com/Autodesk Fusion 360 Ford was just a tick loose while running 21st.
● On lap 38, Custer picked up a piece of trash on the grille, but was able to continue on.
● The California native reported his Mustang was starting to get tight while running 16th on lap 40.
● The rookie driver ended the stage in 14th and reported his Mustang was, “a little tighter off,” but didn’t visit pit road.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

● Custer started in 10th and finished 13th.
● On the lap-74 caution, Custer pitted from 13th and restarted 14th on lap 83.
● With two cautions in a short span, Custer didn’t pit and ultimately restarted 16th on lap 91.
● By lap 97, Custer worked his way back up to 13th, where he ultimately ended the stage.
● During the Stage break, Custer pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments to free his Mustang up a little bit.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-161):

● Custer started 16th, finished fifth.
● As the front of the field began to make scheduled green-flag pit stops, Custer stayed out on the track allowing him to gain positions.
● “It’s starting to get too tight,” Custer radioed on lap 128 from fifth about his Ford Mustang.
● Under caution on lap 134, Custer pitted from the fourth position for fuel and four tires and restarted sixth.
● Custer was able to work his way back into the top-five just after the restart, and ran as high as fourth, before getting passed by teammate Aric Almirola on lap 145.
● On lap 154, the caution came out and moved Custer in to the fourth position.
● On the only attempt of a green-white-checkered finish, Custer lined up fourth behind teammate and leader Kevin Harvick.
● Custer nudged the rear of Harvick’s No. 4 machine to help push him to the lead on the restart and Custer ultimately finished fifth.

Notes:

● Custer’s fifth-place finish was his best result in 19 career NASCAR Cup Series starts, and it came in his first Cup Series start at Indianapolis.
● This was Custer’s first top-five and second top-10 of the season.
● Custer was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.
● Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Matt Kenseth was .743 of a second.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 43 laps.
● Only 19 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Indianapolis with an 85-point advantage over second-place Chase Elliott.

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

“It is awesome to have all of SHR running well here at Indy. It is Tony’s (Stewart) backyard so it is a huge race for us. For us, our team, this package has been exactly the opposite of what I am used to driving. For it to all come together today means a lot. Thanks to all of the guys at SHR for bringing great race cars. HaasTooling.com went national this week, so check them out. I am psyched. I am really happy we finally had it all come together.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Kentucky 400 on Sunday, July 12 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2020 Indianapolis Race Report

Event: Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 (Round 16 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish: 11th/1st (Running, completed 161 of 161 laps)
Point Standing: 1st with 637 points, 85 ahead of second place
Note: Race extended one lap past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: William Bryon of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

●  Kevin Harvick started 11th, finished fifth, earning him six bonus points.
●  The No. 4 Busch Light Patriotic Ford Mustang pitted on lap 13 for four tires and no fuel. Said car was loose early on, but became very good.
●  On lap 43, Harvick pitted for four tires and fuel. Said car was handling well and in the lead.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

●  Kevin Harvick started second and finished first, earning him 10 bonus points and a playoff point.
●  The No. 4 Busch Light Patriotic Ford Mustang pitted on lap 78 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. He was fourth, but said he was struggling with the front end of the car.
●  On lap 89, Harvick went three wide on the backstretch and got by Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillon to retake the lead.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-161):

●  Kevin Harvick started first and finished first.
●  The No. 4 Busch Light Patriotic Ford Mustang pitted on lap 124 for four tires and fuel while leading.
●  Hamlin pitted one lap prior and came out ahead of Harvick. After a caution, Hamlin maintained the lead on the restart with Harvick in second.
● On lap 193, Hamlin was leading but cut a tire and hit the SAFER Barrier on the outside retaining wall in turn one. Harvick was in second and took the lead due to the accident.
● On the final restart with two laps to go, Harvick maintained the lead and won his third Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400.

Notes:

●  Harvick’s victory in the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 marked the 80th overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s 59th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series victory, its fourth of the season and its third at Indy.
●  SHR came into Indianapolis as the defending race winner as Harvick and the No. 4 team won last year’s Brickyard 400. The team’s first Indianapolis victory came in 2013 with former driver Ryan Newman.
●  This was SHR’s 23rd NASCAR Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when former driver Kurt Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
●  This was Ford’s series-leading ninth NASCAR Cup Series win of the season and its 695th all-time Cup Series victory.
●  This was Ford’s sixth NASCAR Cup Series victory at Indianapolis and its third straight, as Harvick won last year’s race and Brad Keselowski won in 2018.
●  This was Harvick’s 53rd career NASCAR Cup Series win. He is 12th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list, just one victory behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty.
●  This was Harvick’s 30th NASCAR Cup Series victory since joining SHR in 2014.
●  Harvick earned his fourth victory of the season and his third victory in 20 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Indianapolis.
●  This was Harvick’s third straight top-two and his fourth consecutive top-10. He won last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and finished second in Sunday’s return visit to the 2.5-mile triangle.
●  Harvick has finished among the top-10 in 13 of the 16 races held this year. He has only one finish outside the top-15.
●  Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has never finished outside the top-eight at Indianapolis.
●  This was Harvick’s second straight win at Indianapolis. He joins Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch as the only drivers to win back-to-back NASCAR Cup Series races at the Brickyard.
●  Harvick’s eight top-fives at Indianapolis are the second most among active NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Matt Kenseth leads with 10 top-fives.
●  Harvick’s 14 top-10s at Indianapolis are the most among active NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Next best is Kenseth with 13 top-10s.
●  Harvick finished fifth in Stage 1 to earn six bonus points. He won Stage 2 to earn 10 more bonus points and a valuable playoff point.
●  Harvick led three times for a race-high 68 laps to increase his laps-led total at Indianapolis to 389.
●  Harvick has now led 10,248 laps since joining SHR in 2014. He has led 14,674 laps in his entire NASCAR Cup Series career.

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

“We knew he (Denny) was going to be really close on tires and Rodney told me on the radio he said, ‘Just make sure you keep the pressure on him,’ and that was all the pressure I could give. Those guys do a really good job.  I’ve just got to thank everybody on my Busch Light Ford Mustang. Everybody from  Mobil 1, Haas Automation, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Jimmy John’s, everybody who is a part of this program and just keeps bringing good race cars to the race track. This is what I grew up wanting to do as a kid, win at the Brickyard and to be able to come here and have won for the third time is something that I could have never dreamed of.  I want to say hi to my family at home.  I know Keelan will be jacked up.  Piper is probably asleep.  If not, hello.  But just really, really proud of all these guys on this team.”

We think you’re at 22 Playoff points, you have a pretty good lead right now in the regular season points.  Did you start the season with a target of a number of Playoff points you wanted?  If so, are you close to it?

“I hadn’t even looked. I hadn’t had a goal. Our goal is to be competitive on a weekly basis. Usually that will take care of itself. Look, this whole thing right now, really even on a normal season, our season is so long, there’s so many things going on, it really just comes down to a week-to-week sort of situation of what you focus on, what you think about. You get too far ahead, you just start jumbling thoughts together. I know if we keep winning, the points will keep adding up. When it comes Playoff time, those will be very valuable. Right now everything is going so well, we’ve got momentum, you want to win as many races as you can while you’ve got that wave of momentum on your side.

What does it mean to have won this back-to-back and for a third time?

“Well, I can tell you today I was as excited as I’ve been of any of the races that we’ve won. Look, for me, I think you guys have all heard me talk about this, this is like living out your childhood dream, being able to race and win here. I know how many times we’ve had fast cars here, come out the other end. Now to have won it back-to-back, three times, is something that’s a little bit surreal. I kind of have to just laugh about it, think back to all of those times that you told somebody you were going to go win the Indy 500, race INDYCARS, whatever the case may be. Now you’re in a stockcar, 20 years into your career, still going strong. It’s a great place to come to. It’s a great place to race, something that I look forward to every year.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Kentucky 400 on Sunday, July 12 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

CLINT BOWYER – 2020 Indianapolis Race Report

Event: Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 (Round 16 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Note: Race extended one lap past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Start/Finish: 22nd/16th (Running, completed 161 of 161 laps)
Point Standing: 15th with 411 points, 226 out of first

Race Winner:      Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner:  William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner:  Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

Clint Bowyer started 22nd and finished 10th to earn one bonus point.
● Bowyer drove from 22nd to 14th before the lap-12 competition caution.
● A pit road accident during the caution stopped the race for 11 minutes. Bowyer restarted the race in 11th.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford climbed to 10th before pitting during a lap-42 caution.
● After the restart, Bowyer drove from 14th to 10th in the final four laps of the stage.
● Bowyer stayed on the track during the stage break and moved to seventh.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):
Bowyer started seventh and finished 10th to earn one bonus point.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford ran in seventh until pitting during a lap-74 caution.
● After two more quick cautions, Bowyer restarted the race in ninth with nine laps left in the stage.
● Bowyer held on to finish 10th.
● During the stage break, Bowyer pitted for two right side tires.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101 -161):

Bowyer started 10th and finished 16th.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford moved to seventh on the opening lap of the final stage.
● Bowyer climbed as high as second midway through the stage as the field made green-flag stops.
● Bowyer made a routine green-flag stop with 33 laps remaining, but an untimely caution flew just six laps later.
● The caution dropped Bowyer off the lead lap and it forced him to take the wave around.
● It also meant Bowyer restarted the race on older tires in 17th with 24 laps to go.
● Bowyer fought back to 16th by the time the checkered flag flew.
Notes:
● This is Bowyer’s third straight top-20. He finished seventh and eighth, respectively in the June 27-28 doubleheader at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
● Kevin Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Matt Kenseth was .743 of a second.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 43 laps.
● Only 19 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Indianapolis with an 85-point advantage over second-place Chase Elliott.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We had a good car today, but just had some bad luck with the caution. I think we were looking at least a sixth- or seventh-place finish, but that caution (with 26 to go) came out right after we pitted. It dropped us back in the field and we didn’t have a lot of laps to fight back. We were fast today and got some bonus points. We’ll go to Kentucky and have a good run.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Kentucky 400 on Sunday, July 12 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2020 Indianapolis Race Report

Event: Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 (Round 16 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish: 5th/3rd (Running, completed 161 of 161 laps)
Point Standing: 9th (465 points, 172 out of first)
Note: Race extended one lap past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

●  Aric Almirola started fifth and finished 20th.
●  The No. 10 Smithfield Patriotic Ford drove to third place on lap 21 after pitting for two tires under the competition caution.
●  Almirola reported a vibration and pitted for four tires and fuel on lap 30.
●  Almirola pitted again on lap 42 under caution. He was scored back on the lead lap.
●  He pitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

●  Almirola started 19th and finished 11th.
●  The No. 10 Ford driver reported more vibrations on lap 76 and pitted under the caution period for four tires and fuel.
●  Almirola restarted 12th on lap 91.
●  He drove as high as 10th place before reporting tight-handling conditions.
●  Almirola pitted the Smithfield Ford at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and adjustments.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-161):

●  Almirola started 14th and finished third.
●  Almirola pitted on lap 134 under caution for four tires, fuel and adjustments. He came off pit road eighth.
●  The Smithfield Ford driver battled his way to fifth on lap 139.
●  Almirola passed teammate Cole Custer for fourth on lap 145.
●  The caution was called on lap 153 with Almirola scored in third.
●  On the two-lap shootout, Almirola held his third-place position to earn his best Brickyard 400 result.

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

“This Smithfield Ford team continues to impress me. We have such hard working people at the shop making us better and working insane hours. We’re at a point now that every track we show up to is expected to be a top-five run. This was my best finish at Indy. To have a shot at winning one of the most historic races in NASCAR and, as a young boy aspiring to race here, it’s such a good feeling to have our best finish – especially with the day we had. We’re headed to tracks that I feel confident at. We have been finishing top-five at some of my worst tracks statistically. We’re in a points position now that allows us to gamble a little more. A win is coming.”

Notes:

●  This was Almirola’s fifth straight top-five. He finished fifth June 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, third June 22 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, third June 27 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and fifth last Sunday at Pocono.
●  This was Almirola’s eighth top-10 of the season and his first top-10 in nine career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Indianapolis.
●  Almirola’s third-place result bettered his previous best finish at Indianapolis – 13th, earned in 2017.
●  Kevin Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Matt Kenseth was .743 of a second.
●  There were nine caution periods for a total of 43 laps.
●  Only 19 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
●  Harvick remains the championship leader after Indianapolis with an 85-point advantage over second-place Chase Elliott.

Next Up: 

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Kentucky 400 on Sunday, July 12 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

CLINT BOWYER – 2020 Indianapolis Race Advance

It’s good that Clint Bowyer knows and appreciates his racing history, because he’s going to live it this Fourth of July weekend at the 111-year-old Indianapolis Motor Speedway when the NASCAR Cup Series holds its annual Brickyard 400.

Bowyer will drive the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang co-owned by Gene Haas and the Hoosier-state’s favorite son, Tony Stewart, in the 27th annual Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400. Bowyer knows driving the three-time champion Stewart’s entry, which carries the No. 14 made famous at the Brickyard by four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt, is an honor and a lot to live up to.

While racing at Indy is no longer new for NASCAR, for the first time since 1969, the Cup Series has moved from its traditional July 4 weekend 400-mile race from Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway to Indianapolis.

“There’s just a lot of pride that goes into all those things,” said Bowyer, the 41-year old Emporia, Kansas native. “Driving that Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), and you know what Tony Stewart means at this track and to everyone at Indy. Carrying the No. 14 ratchets it up a whole other level. A.J. Foyt is a badass who is as cool outside the racecar as he was driving it. Two legendary drivers and a legendary car number. The fact we are doing this on the Fourth of July weekend makes it even better.”

Bowyer knows a win Sunday afternoon would top the list of his career accomplishments in the Cup Series. Only 15 drivers have their likeness on the Brickyard 400 trophy permanently housed in the track’s infield museum. History isn’t just limited to the competition on the track. Bowyer’s paint scheme Sunday will feature Rush Truck Centers and Cummins.

Rush Truck Centers has been the primary partner for the No. 14 team since Bowyer arrived at SHR in 2017 and has been with the organization since 2010. With Bowyer’s background working in his dad’s towing service in Emporia, Kansas, Bowyer understands the importance of keeping trucks up and running. That is why Rush is proud to partner with Bowyer and support the trucks that haul the racecars, as well as customers across the country with its total service management package, RushCare Complete. This all-inclusive solution provides dedicated concierge service, vehicle telematics, mobile service, express routine maintenance, real-time service updates and a comprehensive source for all-makes parts.

Cummins makes its second appearance of the 2020 season with Bowyer. The Indiana-based company from Stewart’s hometown of Columbus is no stranger to victory lane with its racing lineage dating back to the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, when company founder Clessie Cummins was on the pit crew of the race-winning Marmon Wasp of driver Ray Harroun. Since its founding in 1919, the company now employs approximately 61,600 people and serves customers in about 190 countries and territories through a network of some 8,000 wholly owned and independent dealer and distributor locations.

While Cummins is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions, it is best known for its diesel truck engines.

“Rush Truck Centers is one of the biggest reasons we race and, through the years at SHR, we haven’t gotten to victory lane with them, yet,” Bowyer said. “So, when we do it’s going to be epic. Cummins has been to victory lane so many times and probably has more history at Indianapolis than just about anyone.”

Bowyer said Indy is a difficult track for the stock-car crowd, whose cars lack the downforce of their open-wheel counterparts in the IndyCar Series. The rectangular oval track includes two 5/8-mile straightaways and four nearly identical quarter-mile turns connected by short, eighth-mile straightaways. The turns are banked about nine degrees – far flatter than the 30-plus-degree banking at tracks like Daytona, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and others that are part of the NASCAR schedule.

“Indy is just so unique,” said Bowyer, who has posted back-to-back fifth-place finishes at Indy the last two years and four-top 10 finishes in 14 starts. “You’re going so fast. The corners are so flat. You’ve got to have that baby flat to the floor, all the way around. It’s just a hard, hard track to get around.”

He said the key to racing success there is managing risk behind the steering wheel.

“The challenge is trying to be patient,” Bowyer said. “You just have to be patient. You push it to the edge there. You come off of them corners and you’re like, ‘There’s no way. I’m gonna hit the wall. Whoo.’ By the way, I gotta do that 400 more miles.”

Sunday’s race marks the 12th Cup Series race since returning from a 10-week hiatus due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic May 17. As it did at the previous 11 races, NASCAR series and team personnel in the infield will continue to operate under a comprehensive health and safety plan at Indianapolis that permits no fans, limited crew, strict social distancing, and mandated personal protective equipment and health screenings for all.

While racing without fans is disappointing to Bowyer, he knows the race results are just as important. He arrives at Indianapolis 13th in points after finishing seventh and eighth in last weekend’s doubleheader at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

Only 11 more races remain in what is expected to be NASCAR’s 26-race regular season. A win will vault Bowyer into the NASCAR playoffs that begin in September and secure a spot in the NASCAR All-Star Race July 15 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Without a win between now and July 15, Bowyer will race in the NASCAR All-Star Open with hopes a good run will transfer him to the All-Star Race.

As a backup plan, he is relying on the online fan vote that will send the most popular remaining driver from the Open to the All-Star Race. Fans can cast their ballots daily for Bowyer at NASCAR.com/fanvote, or by clicking here.

Bowyer knows there’s a lot on the line Sunday at Indianapolis. He also knows he has history on his side.

 

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

Spending the Fourth of July Weekend in Indianapolis – how special is that?

“When I think of the Fourth of July in NASCAR, I think of Daytona. I think, ‘Oh my God,’ you walk out of your bus headed to the grid and you can’t even put your sunglasses on because they are so fogged up. You are sweating so much you wonder, ‘Why the hell did I just take a shower?’ It is stupid hot outside. I have a waterfall running off of me just walking to the car, and that’s before you even think about climbing into that oven.

What makes winning at Indianapolis so special?

“Oh, I think it’s the racetrack, man. It’s the history behind it. It’s a hard race. It’s a hard place to get around, as a driver. But it all comes down to the history, the people who have won that race and won at that racetrack before you. That’s why you want to win there so badly.”

KEVIN HARVICK – 2020 Pocono II Race Report

Event: Pocono 350 (Round 15 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format: 140 laps, broken into three stages (30 laps/55 laps/55 laps)
Start/Finish: 20th/2nd (Running, completed 140 of 140 laps)
Point Standing: 1st with 581 points, 52 ahead of second place

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kurt Busch of Chip Gannasi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30):

●  Kevin Harvick started 20th and finished fourth, earning seven bonus points.
●  The No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang was in the top-10 by lap 15 and in the top-five by lap 20.
●  Harvick said his car was loose.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-85):

●  Kevin Harvick started 18th and finished sixth, earning five bonus points.
●  The No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang pitted on lap 34 while in fourth place for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.
●  By lap 38, Harvick was back in the top-10.
●  Harvick was in second place for much of the second stage, but on lap 78 Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a air pressure adjustment.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 86-140):

●  Kevin Harvick started third and finished second.
●  The No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang took the lead with 45 laps to go as leader Brad Keselowski pitted.
●  On lap 105, Harvick pitted for right-side tires and fuel. He was in the first position.
●  After pit stops cycled out, Harvick was in second-place behind Denny Hamlin and could not catch him before the checkered flag flew.

Notes:

●  Hamlin won the Pocono 350 to score his 41st career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his series-leading fourth of the season and his record-tying sixth at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Harvick was 3.068 seconds.
●  There were eight caution periods for a total of 31 laps.
●  Only 17 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
●  Harvick remains the championship leader after Pocono with a 52-point advantage over second-place Ryan Blaney.
●  Harvick earned his eighth top-five and 12th top-10 of the season, and his 14th top-five and 20th top-10 in 40 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono.
●  This was Harvick’s second straight top-two and his third consecutive top-10. He finished 10th June 22 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and won yesterday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono.
●  Harvick has finished among the top-10 in 12 of the 15 races held this year. He has only one finish outside the top-15.
●  Harvick’s 20 top-10s at Pocono are tied with Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson for the most among active NASCAR Cup Series drivers.
●  Harvick’s 14 top-fives at Pocono are tied with Busch for the second most among active NASCAR Cup Series drivers.
●  Harvick’s second-place result marked the fifth time he has finished second at Pocono.
●  Harvick led twice for 11 laps to increase his laps-led total at Pocono to 277.
●  Harvick has now led 10,180 laps since joining SHR in 2014. He has led 14,606 laps in his entire NASCAR Cup Series career.

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I think for us our Head for the Mountains Busch Beer Ford was actually better than yesterday. We had a really good car. He (Denny Hamlin) just did the opposite of what we did. We didn’t want to get caught with a caution and then wind up losing a little bit too much time in lap traffic with all the cars that hadn’t pitted and he was out there running clean laps and waited until right to the very end and wound up in front of us. I’m proud of everybody on our team. Yesterday that won us the race and today finished second.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 on Sunday, July 5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race starts at 4 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2020 Pocono II Race Report

Event: Pocono 350 (Round 15 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format: 140 laps, broken into three stages (30 laps/55 laps/55 laps)
Start/Finish: 18th/5th(Running, completed 140 of 140 laps)
Point Standing: 9th (431 points, 150 out of first)

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kurt Busch of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30):

●  Aric Almirola started 18th and finished 31st.
●  After a caution on lap 16, Almirola restarted 16th. When the green flag waved, he was stuck behind Joey Logano, who made contact with the grass, ultimately dropping him to 25th.
●  Crew chief Mike Bugarewicz radioed Almirola to the pits on lap 27 for two tires and fuel.
●  Almirola did not pit at the end of the stage.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-85):

●  Almirola started 12th and finished second to earn nine bonus points.
●  Almirola raced the No. 10 Ford to the top-10 on lap 36.
●  He pitted under caution on lap 47 for four tires, fuel and adjustments to restart in the rear.
●  Almirola was scored 12th before a caution on lap 76.
●  After a caution on lap 77, Almirola stayed out of the pits and took the lead on the restart.
●  He led four laps before another caution on lap 81.
●  Almirola lost the lead on the one-lap shootout and finished second.
●  He pitted at the end of the stage for four tires and fuel.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 86-140):

●  Almirola started 24th and finished fifth.
●  The No. 10 Smithfield Ford driver was scored second on lap 114 after making several passes and multiple cars in front of him pitting.
●  He pitted on lap 119 for fuel only.
●  When green-flag pit stops cycled through he was scored fifth and held off the No. 21 car to earn his fourth-straight top-five finish of the season.

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

“Another top-five. Man I’m so proud of ‘Buga’ and all the guys on this No. 10 team. Four top-fives in a row. What a weekend we had here in Pocono. Got a lot of stage points. We finished third yesterday and fifth today. We’re riding a wave of momentum and I’m just so happy and thankful for all of our partners like Smithfield, Ford, Mobil 1, Go Bowling, Roush Yates and everyone back at Stewart-Haas Racing. I know these guys have been working so many hours trying to keep up with the pace of all these races. We’ll go to Indy, a place that is very similar to the tunnel turn at Pocono, and felt like we were really good there this weekend. I’m excited about Indy.”

Notes:

●  Almirola earned his fourth top-five and seventh top-10 of the season, and his second top-five and fourth top-10 in 17 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono.
●  This was Almirola’s fourth straight top-five. He finished fifth June 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, third June 22 at Talladega and third in yesterday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono.
●  This was Almirola’s fourth straight top-12 at Pocono. He finished 12th in the series’ visit to the track last July – his only result outside the top-10 in his last four races at Pocono.
●  Since joining SHR in 2018, Almirola has finished outside the top-12 just once at Pocono.
●  Almirola finished second in Stage 2 to earn nine bonus points.
●  Almirola led once for four laps to increase his laps-led total at Pocono to 67.
● Denny Hamlin won the Pocono 350 to score his 41st career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his series-leading fourth of the season and his record-tying sixth at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Kevin Harvick was 3.068 seconds.
●  There were eight caution periods for a total of 31 laps.
●  Only 17 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
●  Harvick remains the championship leader after Pocono with a 52-point advantage over second-place Ryan Blaney.

Next Up: 

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 on Sunday, July 5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race starts at 4 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

COLE CUSTER – 2020 Pocono II Race Report

Event: Pocono 350 (Round 15 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format: 140 laps, broken into three stages (30 laps/55 laps/55 laps)
Start/Finish: 5th/17th (Running, completed 140 of 140 laps)
Point Standing: 26th with 241 points, 340 out of first

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kurt Busch of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30):             

● Cole Custer started fifth and finished 10th to earn one bonus point.
● Four laps into the race, Custer was running third in the HaasTooling.com Mustang when the race was halted due to rain.
● Once the event resumed, Custer battled in the top-10 with a loose-handling Mustang.
● The rookie driver ended the stage in 10th and visited pit road for fuel and four tires.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-86):

● Custer started in 20th and finished 15th.
● On the lap-39 caution, Custer reported that his Mustang was handling a little bit better. He didn’t pit and restarted 12th.
● Under caution once again on lap 46, Custer pitted from 11th for fuel and adjustments to help with his loose condition. Restarted 26th.
● On lap 57, the 22-year-old reported his Mustang was starting to get tight while running 18th.
● By lap 70, Custer was back in the top-15. He pitted under caution from 14th on lap 76 for fuel, four tires and adjustments. Restarted 18th.
● During the stage break, the HaasTooling.com driver stayed on the track.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 87-140):

● Custer started 11th, finished 17th.
● “It’s starting to come to me,” Custer radioed on lap 111 from eighth about his Ford Mustang.
● The rookie driver made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 115 while running eighth for right-side tires and fuel. Rejoined the field in 25th.
● As the race continued green, Custer kept advancing his position on the track.
● Custer finished the race 17th in the HaasTooling.com Mustang.

Notes:

● Custer was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.
● Denny Hamlin won the Pocono 350 to score his 41st career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his series-leading fourth of the season and his record-tying sixth at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Kevin Harvick was 3.068 seconds.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 31 laps.
● Only 17 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Pocono with a 52-point advantage over second-place Ryan Blaney.

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Thank you so much, guys. We got the car a lot better today. We definitely made gains and got the car better during the race. Well go get them next week.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 on Sunday, July 5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race starts at 4 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

CLINT BOWYER – 2020 Pocono II Race Report

Event: Pocono 350 (Round 15 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format: 140 laps, broken into three stages (30 laps/55 laps/55 laps)
Start/Finish: 14th/8th (Running, completed 140 of 140 laps)
Point Standing: 13th with 387 points, 194 out of first

Race Winner:      Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner:  Kurt Busch of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner:  Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30):

Clint Bowyer started 14th and finished 31st.
● Rain stopped the action on lap three for about 50 minutes.
● When racing resumed Bowyer ran in 15th-place and told his crew his car was loose.
●.With no chance to earn bonus points, the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford pitted for four tires and fuel with just three laps left in the stage.
● Bowyer stayed on track during the stage break and moved from 31st to 15th when several leaders pitted.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-86):

Bowyer started 15th and finished 12th.
● Bowyer continued to struggle with a loose Mobil 1 Ford Mustang, dropping to 19th in the stage’s opening laps.
● He avoided a spinning Christopher Bell on lap 39 and Chris Buescher on lap 44 in separate incidents.
● Bowyer remained on the track during both cautions and moved to ninth with 17 laps left in the stage.
● Kyle Busch’s crash with 10 laps left in the stage brought out the caution. Bowyer pitted for tires, fuel and more adjustments.
● Bowyer restarted the race in 14th with six laps left in the stage.
● He stayed on the track during the stage break and moved up to eighth..

Final Stage Recap (Laps 87-140):

Bowyer started eighth and finished eighth.
● Bowyer climbed to fourth before pitting under green for right-side tires with 34 laps remaining.
● The No. 14 fell to 24th after the stop but turned his fastest lap of the race with 27 to go.
● Bowyer was 17th with 25 laps remaining and 10th with 12 to go.
● He and Alex Bowman battled fender-to-fender coming to the checkered flag with Bowyer claiming eighth.

Notes:

● Bowyer earned his fifth top-10 of the season and his 13th top-10 in 30 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono.
● Bowyer has finished on the lead lap in 25 consecutive Cup races at Pocono. The last time he failed to finish on the lead lap was June 8, 2008.
● This was Bowyer’s fifth straight top-11 at Pocono. He finished 11th in the series’ visit to the track last July – his only result outside the top-10 in his last four races at Pocono.
● Since joining SHR in 2017, Bowyer has not finished outside the top-20 at Pocono.
● Bowyer finished seventh in Saturday’s 325-mile race at Pocono.
● Denny Hamlin won the Pocono 350 to score his 41st career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his series-leading fourth of the season and his record-tying sixth at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Kevin Harvick was 3.068 seconds.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 31 laps.
● Only 17 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Pocono with a 52-point advantage over second-place Ryan Blaney.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“That was a tough race. We were just so loose today. By ourselves we were good and could turn in a good lap, but in traffic we struggled.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 on Sunday, July 5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race starts at 4 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2020 Pocono I Race Report

Event: Pocono Organics 325 (Round 14 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format: 130 laps, broken into three stages (25 laps/52 laps/53 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/1st (Running, completed 130 of 130 laps)
Point Standing: 1st with 534 points, 29 ahead of second place

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logono of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-25):

●  Kevin Harvick started ninth and finished 34th.
●  The No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang was a bit too loose early on.
●  Harvick pitted under caution on lap 14 for right side tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Was in 15th place.
●  On lap 23, Harvick pitted for fuel only.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 25-77):

●  Kevin Harvick started 15th and finished seventh, earning four bonus points.
●  The No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang was fourth when the caution came out on lap 66. He pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He restarted 12th.
●  At the end of the stage, Harvick commented that his car was much better.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 78-130):

●  Kevin Harvick started sixth and finished first.
●  The No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang on the restart moved from sixth to second on lap 82.
●  On lap 94, Harvick pitted for right side tires and fuel. He was second.
●  He led the final 17 after pit stops had cycled through, and despite a late challenge from Denny Hamlin who closed within a second, he scored his first ever win at Pocono.

Notes:

●  This was Harvick’s 52nd career NASCAR Cup Series win. He is 12th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list, two victories behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty.
●  This was Harvick’s 29th NASCAR Cup Series victory since joining SHR in 2014.
●  With today’s victory, Harvick has won at all but two tracks on the current NASCAR Cup Series schedule – Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval.
●  Harvick earned his third victory of the season and his first victory in 39 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono.
●  Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Denny Hamlin was .761 of a second.
●  This was Harvick’s second straight top-10. He finished 10th in the series’ last race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
●  Harvick has finished among the top-10 in 11 of the 14 races held this year. He has only one finish outside the top-15.
● Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has finished inside the top-four at Pocono eight times – including a five-race stretch from July 2016 to July 2018.
●  In the past 21 races at Pocono, Harvick has finished in the top-10 14 times.
●  Harvick finished seventh in Stage 2 to earn four bonus points.
●  Harvick led once for 17 laps to increase his laps-led total at Pocono to 266.
●  Harvick has now led 10,169 laps since joining SHR in 2014. He has led 14,595 laps in his entire NASCAR Cup Series career.
●  This was Ford’s series-leading eighth NASCAR Cup Series win of the season and its 694th all-time Cup Series victory.
●  This was Ford’s 24th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory at Pocono and first since Ryan Blaney won in June 2017.

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

“I just have to thank everyone on this Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang. We weren’t where we needed to be to start the race and lost a bunch of track position but we came back and made some great strategy calls to get in clean air and get out front and make some good laps. It is great to finally check Pocono off the list. Everybody at Stewart-Haas racing has done such a great job with all our cars over the last several years. I guess it takes special paint schemes to get to victory lane. I want to say hi to my family. I know Keelan (son) raced all day and Delana (wife) and Piper (daughter) and everybody at home. I am really proud of everybody and I am just glad it didn’t rain all day. I’ve got to thank everybody from Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Jimmy Johns, Fields, everybody from Haas that puts this car on the racetrack. I wish I could explain to everybody how hard the guys and gals are working in the shop right now with this schedule and everybody broke up. We appreciate all you guys. Thank you to all the fans. I wish you were here. This isn’t near as exciting. I feel like I am my seven year old. I have all this pent up energy and am going to just share with anybody.”

On lap 95, you came down pit road with a quick two-tire pit shop. When do you know when it has worked out?

“I knew when we came out of the pits and they told me how big of a lead we had. I saw the 11 (Denny Hamlin) come out of the pits and he was in second. I knew that the tire gap was going to be a little less. He caught us a little in traffic but I knew I could be pretty patient with the gap we had. As I started to see everything cycle out and see with the track position we had with the fresher tires you could kind of start to put it together in your mind as we started to run through the last stage and cars started to have to pit. Just a great call by Rodney Childers and all the guys up on the pit box for having the right strategy and getting us to victory lane.”

Was it still managing that distance or lap traffic or what closed the gap?

“I just caught a couple of lap cars in the wrong spots going in the corner and messed up my entry and lost some of my momentum down the straightaway and you lose a second there and then you do that two laps in a row and there goes the lead. It definitely got closer than it needed to.”

What do you do for tomorrow?

“I think we can make our car quite a bit better. We kind of crutched it today to get the problems that we had. I think there are a lot of problems we can fix on it and make it better. Hopefully we can do that. Sometimes it goes the opposite way and you think you can make it better and it slows down. We will find out when they drop the green flag tomorrow.”

Next Up:

The second event of the NASCAR Cup Series doubleheader at Pocono is the Pocono 350 on Sunday, June 28. The race starts at 4 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.