KEVIN HARVICK – 2019 Fontana Race Report

Event:               Auto Club 400(Round 5 of 36)
Series:               Monster EnergyNASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California(2-mile oval)
Format:            200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish:      2nd/4th(Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing:3rd(213 points, 24 out of first) 

Race Winner:    Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner:Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner:Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

  • Started second, finished fourth and collected seven bonus points.
  • Harvick fell to seventh and said the car was loose.
  • On lap 25, Harvick was 11thand said the car was tight in turn two.
  • Harvick pitted on lap 28 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
  • On lap 57, Harvick pitted for four tires and fuel. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

  • Started third, finished sixth and collected five bonus points.
  • Harvick, who was seventh, said his car was still tight in turn two.
  • On lap 91 Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He was in seventh.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 120-200):

  • Started second, finished fourth.
  • On lap 123, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang pitted on lap 161 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustment.
  • Harvick pitted again on lap 166 under caution for four tires and fuel.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang came home in the fourth position. 

Notes:

  • Harvick earned his third top-five and fourth top-10 of the season, and his seventh top-five and 12thtop-10 in 26 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway.
  • Harvick finished fourth in Stage 1 to earn seven bonus points and sixth in Stage 2 to earn an additional five bonus points.
  • Kyle Busch won the Auto Club 400 to score his 53rdcareer Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his fourth at Auto Club Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Joey Logano was 2.354 seconds.
  • This was Busch’s milestone 200thvictory across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (53 wins), Xfinity Series (94 wins) and Gander Outdoors Truck Series (53 wins).
  • There were four caution periods for a total of 22 laps.
  • Twenty-one of the 38 drivers in the Auto Club 400 finished on the lead lap.
  • Busch leaves Auto Club Speedway as the championship leader with a 15-point advantage over second-place Logano.

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

“We raced well today. My guys did a great job on pit road. Our car was better than it was in practice. I didn’t have anything for the Penske cars or the 18 (Kyle Busch) car. They did a great job of racing hard all day, and we made a lot out of the West Coast swing with not very much. We have some work to do, but we know you still have to go race. Our Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang was okay today, and we got a decent finish.”                                                                                                                          

Next Up:                                                                        

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Martinsville 500 on Sunday, March 24 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.

DANIEL SUÁREZ – 2019 Fontana Race Report

Event: Auto Club 400 (Round 5 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (2-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 20th/13th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 18th (105 points, 132 out of first)

Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

● Daniel Suárez started Stage 1 from the 20th position and ended the stage seventh to earn four stage points.
● On the first lap Suárez was able to work his way up to 11th position, and by lap three he was in eighth.
● The first caution of the race came out on lap 57, just before the end of the Stage 1 break, and the Mexican native pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his car’s tight condition.
● In the one-lap shootout to end the stage, the Haas driver maneuvered his way to seventh.
● Suárez didn’t make a pit stop during the Stage 1 break and began Stage 2 in fifth.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

● The No. 41 driver started Stage 2 in fifth and completed it in 11th.
● The entirety of the stage ran under the green flag, but Suárez did complete one scheduled green-flag stop on lap 91 for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his tight-handling condition.
● The 27-year-old returned to the track under green and completed the stage in 11th.
● During the Stage 2 break, Suárez pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments and began the final stage in 14th.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):

● The Mexico native began the final stage in 14th and concluded it in 13th.
● On the first green-flag lap of the final stage, Suárez powered his way up to eighth. As the run ran long, he slipped back to 13th.
● By lap 144 he was back up to the 11th spot.
● On lap 160 Suárez made a scheduled green-flag pit stop from 11th for fuel and four tires. Shortly after the stop, the caution came out and forced Suárez and multiple competitors to take the wave-around.
● He restarted 15th on lap 169 and worked his up to 13th, where he ultimately finished the race.

Notes:

● Suárez earned his second top-15 of the season and his second top-15 in three career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway.
● Suárez finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points.
● Kyle Busch won the Auto Club 400 to score his 53rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his fourth at Auto Club Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Joey Logano was 2.354 seconds.
● This was Busch’s milestone 200th victory across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (53 wins), Xfinity Series (94 wins) and Gander Outdoors Truck Series (53 wins).
● There were four caution periods for a total of 22 laps.
● Twenty-one of the 38 drivers in the Auto Club 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Busch leaves Auto Club Speedway as the championship leader with a 15-point advantage over second-place Logano.

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

“We had another good Haas Automation Mustang this weekend. We have a few things we have to clean up as a team with pit road, etc., but we had a good car. We had a top-10 car and we showed that at some points, but we’re still learning each other and we’ll get better and better the longer we work with each other.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Martinsville 500 on Sunday, March 24 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.

CLINT BOWYER – 2019 Fontana Race Report

Event: Auto Club 400 (Round 5 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (2-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/38th (Engine, completed 130 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 15th (119 points, 118 out of first)

Race Winner:      Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner:  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner:  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Bowyer started ninth and finished 14th.
● Initially reported a loose car, but handling improved as the race progressed.
● Climbed to eighth by lap 25, then reported the engine had possibly lost a cylinder and had a vibration.
● Crew kept him out on the track when the first caution flew on lap 56 with just one green-flag lap left in the stage.
● Bowyer restarted second but couldn’t keep pace and dropped to 14th.
● Crew replaced spark plug and wire during the stage break but determined the issue was within the engine.
● Bowyer returned to the track in 30th and a lap behind the leaders, hoping to nurse his car to the end.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

Bowyer started 30th and finished 25th.
● Crew kept Bowyer on the track during a long green-flag run, gambling he could stay in the free-pass position to regain the lost lap in the event of a caution. However, heavy contact from Corey Lajoie’s car caused tire damage that forced Bowyer to the pits and took him down a second lap.
● Bowyer pitted during the stage break to repair the damage.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 121 -200):

Bowyer started 25th and finished 38th.
● Bowyer’s day ended after 130 laps when smoke began pouring from the No. 14 and he drove it to the garage.

Notes:

●  Kyle Busch won the Auto Club 400 to score his 53rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his fourth at Auto Club Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Joey Logano was 2.354 seconds.
●  This was Busch’s milestone 200th victory across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (53 wins), Xfinity Series (94 wins) and Gander Outdoors Truck Series (53 wins).
●  There were four caution periods for a total of 22 laps.
●  Twenty-one of the 38 drivers in the Auto Club 400 finished on the lead lap
●  Busch leaves Auto Club Speedway as the championship leader with a 15-point advantage over second-place Logano.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Ford Mustang:

“I felt like we had the car dialed in today better than we had all weekend, and we were looking pretty good early. But she started vibrating and you could smell something, so we were probably on borrowed time. I’m disappointed for the Rush and Haas folks who came out today hoping to see us run up front.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Martinsville 500 on Sunday, March 24 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2019 Fontana Race Report

Event: Auto Club 400 (Round 5 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California(2-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 3rd/9th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point standings: 6th with 174 points, 63 out of first

Race Winner:    Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner:Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner:Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

● Started third, finished sixth and earned five bonus points.
● The Smithfield Farmer John Ford Mustang made its way to the front of the pack on lap three and led for seven laps.
● On lap 30 Almirola pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments to correct loose-handling conditions.
● He exited pit road in third and held that position until a lap-55 caution.
● The green flag waved with just one lap to go, and Almirola avoided a spin by the No. 17 car to finish just outside the top-five.
● He pitted the Smithfield Farmer John Ford at the end of the stage for four more tires, fuel and adjustments.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

● Started third, finished fifth and earned six bonus points.
● Almirola started Stage 2 racing as high as second. He pitted under green on lap 90 for four tires, fuel and adjustments to match the balance of the car at the beginning of the race, but he said the No. 10 needed more rear grip.
● He exited pit road in seventh and raced back to the top-five by lap 111.
● Almirola pitted the No. 10 Ford Mustang for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments at the conclusion of Stage 2.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 121-200):

● Started sixth and finished ninth.
● Almirola was caught in the middle of a three-wide pack with no help and was demoted to 10th at the start of the final stage.
● He raced back to sixth and pitted under green again for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
● A caution was called just four laps later causing the Smithfield Farmer John Ford team to restart ninth.
● Almirola battled in and around the top-10 for the remainder of the race and earned his first top-10 at Auto Club Speedway.

Notes:

● Almirola earned his fourth top-10 of the season and his first top-10 in 12 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway.
● Almirola’s ninth-place result bettered his previous best finish at Auto Club Speedway – 11th in the 2015 Auto Club 400.
● Almirola finished sixth in Stage 1 to earn five bonus points and fifth in Stage 2 to earn an additional six bonus points.
● Almirola led one time for seven laps – his first laps led at Auto Club Speedway.
● Kyle Busch won the Auto Club 400 to score his 53rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his fourth at Auto Club Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Joey Logan was 2.354 seconds.
● There were four caution periods for a total of 22 laps.
● Only 21 of the 38 drivers in the Auto Club 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Busch leaves Auto Club Speedway as the championship leader with a 15-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

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

“I thought that was a very typical California race. The restarts were wild and crazy like we always see here, and track position was king. We got strung out and fought track position a lot today. The cars are very difficult to drive in the wake of air of the cars in front of you. It is very challenging. The restarts are definitely exciting. The fans get their money’s worth. All in all it was a great day for our Farmer John Ford Mustang. We got to lead some laps in the beginning. We had a top-six car and lost some track position, and that is all we could do to muster you a ninth-place finish.”

Next Up: 

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Martinsville 500 on Sunday, March 24 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.

CHASE BRISCOE – 2019 NXS Fontana Race Report

Date: March 16, 2019
Race Name: Production Alliance Group 300 (Race 5 of 33)
Venue: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Race Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Results: Cole Custer: 1st  | Chase Briscoe: 5th
Point Standings:
– Cole Custer: 2nd with 213 points; trails points leader by 7 points
– Chase Briscoe: 11th with 145 points; trails points leader by 75 points

Chase Briscoe / Nutri Chomps Ford Mustang Recap:

– Briscoe started sixth and finished 11th in Stage 1.
– The Nutri Chomps Ford started Stage 2 in eighth and finished 10th to pick up one stage point. 
– The No. 98 Ford started 10th in the final stage and raced as high as third with 30 laps to go.
– A caution with 26 laps remaining brought Briscoe to pit road for a four-tire pit stop.
– Briscoe restarted eighth after two cars opted to stay out and raced up to the fourth position with 15 laps remaining.
– The No. 98 Ford battled in the closing laps and finished in the fifth position.
– Briscoe scored his first top-five finish and third top-10 of the 2019 season.

Next Up: My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 30th at 1 p.m. EDT broadcast by Fox Sports 1.

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

“It was an awesome day for Stewart-Haas Racing and Fred Biagi with Cole (Custer) picking up the win at his home track. I feel like all weekend long we just got better and better. We probably lacked a little bit at the end, but overall I feel like we’ve gotten better and better each week. I know our day is coming. We just have to find a little more speed. I’m proud of all the guys on my Nutri Chomps team. This is a pretty cool place. I’ve never been here before, but I really enjoyed it and look forward to coming back.”

COLE CUSTER – 2019 NXS Fontana Race Report

Date: March 16, 2019
Race Name: Production Alliance Group 300 (Race 5 of 33)
Venue: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Race Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Results: Cole Custer: 1st  | Chase Briscoe: 5th
Point Standings:
– Cole Custer: 2nd with 213 points; trails points leader by 7 points
– Chase Briscoe: 11th with 145 points; trails points leader by 75 points

Cole Custer / Thompson Pipe Group / Haas Automation Ford Mustang Recap:

– Custer started third and finished third in Stage 1 to pick up eight stage points.
– The No. 00 Ford started third and finished fourth in Stage 2 to pick up an additional seven stage points.
– Custer started fourth in the final stage and raced his way to the lead on lap 90 and traded the lead with Kyle Busch until lap 94.
– The Thompson Pipe Group /Haas Automation Ford returned to the lead on lap 119 and held the lead until a caution on lap 125.
– The No. 00 came to pit road for four tires and fuel during the stop and returned to the racetrack in the fifth position after two cars chose to stay out.
– Custer restarted fifth with 20 laps to go and immediately raced to the lead where he would stay until the checkered flag.
– Custer scored his first win, third top-five finish and fourth top-10 of the 2019 season.

Win Notes: 

– Custer scored the third Xfinity Series win of his career and his first at Auto Club Speedway.
– It is Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi’s fifth Xfinity Series win and first since Custer’s win at Texas Motor Speedway in November 2018.
– The win also marks Stewart-Haas Racing’s 60th overall win in NASCAR.

Next Up: My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 30th at 1 p.m. EDT broadcast by Fox Sports 1.

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

“It’s pretty unreal to win at my hometown track. I can’t thank the folks from Thompson Pipe Group enough. I grew up racing with them and without them I don’t think I would have been able to make it this far. I also need to thank Haas Automation and Gene Haas for everything they do to help us put this car on the track each week. We had an awesome car today. We’ll go hard the rest of the year and hopefully win some more.”

Mike Shiplett, crew chief of the No. 00 Thompson Pipe / Haas Automation Ford Mustang:

“Cole has a lot of talent and we just needed to fine tune it. He has a lot of speed, he’s won a lot of poles, but he just needed to fine tune the car. We needed to focus more on the long run speed. We brought over Davin Restivo which helped a lot to get us going – he’s been my engineer for the last couple years and I brought him over here. That was a big help to get everything going faster. They had a good core group of guys and we just hit it off as we started working together.”

DANIEL SUÁREZ – 2019 Phoenix I Race Report

Event: Ticket Guardian 500k (Round 4 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: ISM Raceway near Phoenix (1-mile oval)
Format: 312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/162 laps)
Start/Finish: 28th/23rd (Running, completed 311 of 312 laps)
Point Standing: 20th (77 points, 100 out of first)

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

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

● Daniel Suárez started Stage 1 from the 28th position and ended the stage 32nd.
● Suárez worked his way up to 18th when the first caution of the race was displayed on lap 39. He pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help his tight-handling Ruckus Networks Mustang.
● The Mexico native restarted 17th and was in the 16th spot when the second caution was displayed. During the caution Suárez pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments in preparation for the sprint to the end of Stage 1.
● Unfortunately, the No. 41 machine lost power. Suárez received an assist to pit road, where the No. 41 crew made an adjustment to the battery. The Ruckus Mustang regained power, but the 27-year-old went one lap down while receiving repairs on pit road.
● Suárez was trapped one lap down during the Stage 1 break in 32nd place.
● Before the start of the second stage, Suárez pitted for fuel only.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):

● The No. 41 driver started Stage 2 in 32nd and completed it in 28th.
● On lap 139, the Ford driver was put two laps down after a long green-flag run.
● The event stayed green until the end of the stage, and the Ruckus driver completed it 28th.
● He pitted during the stage break for fuel only and began the final stage in 28th.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-312):

● The Ruckus driver began the final stage in 28th and concluded it in 23rd.
● When the caution was displayed on lap 160, Suárez stayed out on the track with only a couple of laps on his Goodyear tires.
● He restarted 27th and continued on a green-flag run until the next caution on lap 193 while running 26th. Crew chief Billy Scott made the call for Suárez to stay out and gain one lap back.
● Suárez restarted 26th on lap 205, one lap down, and the next caution was displayed on lap 219. During the caution Suárez pitted for fuel and four tires.
● Another caution on lap 226 saw Suárez just one spot shy of receiving the free pass in the 24th position. He restarted in the same spot, and the next caution was displayed on lap 233 with Suárez in 25th. Unfortunately, he was once again one lap shy of being the beneficiary of the free pass.
● One final quick caution on lap 235 came with the Ruckus driver in the 25th spot and still one lap down. The race remained under green after the final restart, and Suárez ultimately finished the event 23rd.

Notes:

● Suárez made his fifth career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at ISM Raceway with a best finish of seventh in March 2017.
● Kyle Busch won the TicketGuardian 500k to score his 52nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his third at ISM Raceway. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 1.259 seconds.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 67 laps.
● Only 16 of the 36 drivers in the TicketGuardian 500k finished on the lead lap.
● Busch leaves ISM Raceway as the championship leader with a six-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

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

“We had a good Ruckus Mustang today. Unfortunately, we had some sort of electrical issue and I lost power, and that put us behind a lap while we worked on it. The guys will have to look at it once we get back to the shop. We had a good car on the long runs, but once we got caught a lap down and with all of the green-flag runs we could just never get back on the lead lap. The good news is the car had a lot speed. Unfortunately, we don’t have the result to show for it, but we’ll move on to California next week.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 17 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at 3 p.m.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2019 Phoenix I Race Report

Event: TicketGuardian 500k (Round 4 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: ISM Raceway near Phoenix (1-mile oval)
Format: 312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/162 laps)
Start/Finish: 8th/9th (Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
Point Standing: 3rd (168 points, 9 out of first)

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

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

Started eighth, finished 10th and collected one bonus point.
● Harvick said the car was a bit tight early in the run as he ran in eighth.
● Harvick was sixth on lap 38, but was 9.3 seconds behind leader Kyle Busch. He said the Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang needed rear grip.
The No. 4 pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis and tire pressure adjustment. Harvick came out 10th, since some teams only put on two tires.
Harvick pitted on lap 66 for four tires and fuel.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):

Started second, finished third and collected eight bonus points.
Said car was a bit tight, but he remained in the top-five.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 151-312):

Started sixth, finished ninth.
● Pitted on lap 153 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
● While sixth on lap 196, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustment. He noted the car was still tight.
● On lap 202, Harvick pitted for two tires and fuel. He came out of the pits in third place.
● Harvick made slight contact with Jimmie Johnson on the lap-232 restart. He pitted on lap 235 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, then restarted 21st.
● Harvick worked his way up to ninth to score his third consecutive top-10 finish.

Notes:

● The TicketGuardian 500k marked Harvick’s 650th career start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
● Harvick earned his third top-10 of the season and his 22nd top-10 in 33 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at ISM Raceway.
● Harvick finished 10th in Stage 1 to earn one bonus point and third in Stage 2 to earn an additional eight bonus points.
● Kyle Busch won the TicketGuardian 500k to score his 52nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his third at ISM Raceway. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 1.259 seconds.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 67 laps.
● Only 16 of the 36 drivers in the TicketGuardian 500k finished on the lead lap.

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

“We just needed track position. We got shuffled on a couple of those restarts and lost a couple spots on pit road, and it kind of multiplied for us. We had a car that was plenty fast. It was just really difficult to pass.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 17 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at 3 p.m.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2019 Phoenix I Race Report

Event: TicketGuardian 500k (Round 4 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: ISM Raceway near Phoenix (1-mile oval)
Format: 312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/162 laps)
Start/Finish: 14th/4th (Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
Point standings: 7th with 134 points, 43 out of first

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

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

● Started 14th and finished second to earn nine bonus points.
● The Smithfield Ford raced to the top-10 by lap 38 before a caution was called a lap later.
● Almirola ran as high as fourth place until another caution was called on lap 63. The No. 10 team opted not to pit in order to gain the maximum amount of stage points. They restarted from second place and battled the No. 22 car to hold the second position before Stage 2 ended.
● He pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments at the conclusion of the stage.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):

● Started 21st and finished 12th.
● Almirola gained six positions by lap 104 and rejoined the top-15.
● At this point, the No. 10 Ford team was consistently recording the fastest laps in the field.
● Almirola continued to note tight-handling conditions and pitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and adjustments.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 151-312):

● Started 10th and finished fourth.
● He began the final stage racing in and around the top-10 and said his Ford Mustang needed more turn in the corners.
● After a caution on lap 193, Almirola pitted the No. 10 Ford for four tires and fuel. He climbed to seventh during the restart.
● Crew chief Johnny Klausmeier radioed Almirola to the pits for two tires and fuel during a lap-220 caution. He came off pit road fourth.
● Almirola gained the lead on the restart while yet another caution was thrown for a spin by the No. 47 car.
● He held the lead for 26 laps and continued to note tight-handling conditions on lap 252.
● In effort to save fuel and set the Smithfield Ford team up for victory, Almirola raced strategically and fell to fourth. He was able to save enough fuel to last the entire green-flag run and earn the team’s third consecutive top-10 of the season.

Notes:

● Almirola earned his first top-five and third top-10 in four races this season and his second top-five in 17 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at ISM Raceway.
● Almirola’s fourth-place finish equaled his previous best finish at ISM Raceway – fourth in last November’s Can-Am 500k.
● Almirola finished second in Stage 1 to earn nine bonus points.
● Almirola led once for 26 laps – his first laps led at ISM Raceway.
● This was Almirola’s third straight top-10 of the 2019 season.
● Kyle Busch won the TicketGuardian 500k to score his 52nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his third at ISM Raceway. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 1.259 seconds.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 67 laps.
● Only 16 of the 36 drivers in the TicketGuardian 500k finished on the lead lap.
● Busch leaves ISM Raceway as the championship leader with a six-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

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

“We had a good Smithfield Ford Mustang, but we’re just not quite as good as we need to be. We still have work to do, but I’m really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. We keep chipping away. That’s three top-10s in a row, our first top-five of the year, so we’re getting there. Our cars are getting a little better, but we just have to keep working and keep finding more speed. We have a great race team, and we’ll continue to improve on what we’ve got, so we’ll just keep working. Our Smithfield Ford Mustang was decent but just not quite good enough.”

Next Up: 

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 17 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at 3 p.m.

CLINT BOWYER – 2019 Phoenix I Race Report

Event:                   TicketGuardian 500k(Round 4 of 36)
Series:                   Monster EnergyNASCAR Cup Series
Location:     ISM Raceway near Phoenix(1-mile oval)
Format:                312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/162 laps)
Start/Finish:          26th/11th(Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
Point Standing:     11th(118 points, 59 out of first) 

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

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75): 

  • Bowyerstarted 26thand finished 12th.
  • Climbed to 20thafter four laps.
  • Bowyer radioed crew chief Mike Bugarewicz on lap 15 that his No. 14 ITsavvy Ford Mustang was tight in the middle of the corners.
  • During a caution on lap 41, Bowyer pitted for four tires, fuel, a right-rear wedge adjustment and a tire pressure adjustment.
  • Bowyer restarted in 13thplace and climbed to 12thby lap 50.
  • Cracked top-10 on lap 55.
  • Another caution on lap 66 allowed Bowyer to pit again for four tires, fuel and another right-rear wedge adjustment.
  • Bowyer restarted in 16thplace and rallied to 12thby the end of the stage.
  • Bowyer stayed out at the end of the stage, earning valuable track position.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150): 

  • Bowyerstarted fourth and finished second, collecting nine bonus points.
  • Drove to second place on restart and stayed there through the remainder of the stage.
  • Pitted for four tires and fuel with a slight tire pressure adjustment at end of stage. Maintained second place.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 151-312): 

  • Bowyerstarted second and finished 11th.
  • Held off Martin Truex Jr., on lap-166 restart to maintain second place.
  • Caution on lap 193 allowed leaders to pit. Bowyer took only four fresh tires and fuel, but came off pit road in fourth place.
  • Grabbed third place on lap-195 restart.
  • Caution on lap 220 sent leaders to pit road. Bowyer again took only four new tires and fuel. Some other drivers stayed out, some took two tires, some went with fuel only. These varying pit strategies placed Bowyer 12thfor the lap-226 restart.
  • A flurry of restarts led to a flurry of cautions between laps 220-238. Bowyer restarted 20thfor lap-239 restart after pitting for four ties and fuel on lap 235.
  • With less than 60 laps to go and mired in traffic while running 15th, Bowyer reported that his No. 14 ITsavvy Ford Mustang is loose.
  • Bowyer methodically picked up positions in the final 50 laps, rising to 12thwith 20 laps to go before grabbing 11thin the final 10 laps.

Notes: 

  • Bowyer earned his third straight top-15 finish of the season and 13thtop-15 in 28 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at ISM Raceway.
  • Kyle Busch won the TicketGuardian 500k to score his 52ndcareer Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his third at ISM Raceway. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 1.259 seconds.
  • There were nine caution periods for a total of 67 laps.
  • Only 16 of the 36 drivers in the TicketGuardian 500k finished on the lead lap.
  • Busch leaves ISM Raceway as the championship leader with a six-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 ITsavvy Ford Mustang:

“Those restarts really hurt us. We lost track position and it was so hard to get it back. Our ITsavvy Ford Mustang made its presence known, though, especially in the second stage. We didn’t qualify well, and we worked all weekend to get better – which we did. Just would’ve liked to have had a better result to show for all of our effort.”

Next Up: 

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 17 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 3 p.m.