CLINT BOWYER – 2020 Phoenix I Race Report

Series:              NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Phoenix Raceway (1.022-mile oval)
Format:             312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/115 laps/122 laps)
Note:                 Race extended four laps past its scheduled 312-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Start/Finish:       18th/5th (Running, completed 316 of 316 laps)
Point Standing:  13th with 105 points, 59 out of first

Race Winner:    Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

  • Clint Bowyer started 18th and finished 11th.
  • The No. 14 Mobil 1/Haas Automation Ford Mustang moved to 14th by lap 15, but Bowyer told the team his car was a little loose.
  • By lap 52 the problem grew worse. As he raced in 20th Bowyer told the crew his car was loose in and off the corner and tight in the middle.
  • Bowyer made his first pit stop of the race on lap 60, where the crew made several adjustments.
  • Bowyer moved to 14th by lap 69.
  • He and Erik Jones raced side-by-side for 10th, but Bowyer fell inches short of bonus points, finishing 11th.
  • Bowyer pitted during the stage break for fuel and new tires.
  • “That was a lot better, and I think the track will come to us,” Bowyer told the crew.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-190):

  • Started 15th, finished eighth to earn three bonus points.
  • The No. 14 Mobil 1/Haas Automation Ford Mustang moved into the top-10 on lap 115 and was eighth by lap 122.
  • Bowyer climbed as high as fifth midway through the stage.
  • He held his position until the final laps, when he said the car was beginning to be very loose.
  • Bowyer finished eighth to earn his first bonus points of the 2020 season.
  • The No. 14 crew made minor handling changes during the stage break. 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 191-316):

  • Started eighth, finished fifth.
  • The No. 14 Mobil 1/Haas Automation Ford Mustang battled with the No. 10 of Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Aric Almirola for sixth in the opening laps of the stage.
  • Bowyer pitted with 92 laps remaining, taking four tires and restarting the race in 14th.
  • Bowyer moved to 11th with 75 laps remaining.
  • Another round of stops under caution saw Bowyer restart the race in 13th with 55 laps remaining.
  • He jumped to seventh on the restart before another caution with 47 laps remaining.
  • Bowyer pitted and restarted 13th with 42 to go, and he quickly moved to sixth place.
  • “We really needed that thing to go green,” Bowyer told No. 14 Mobil 1/Haas Automation crew. Bowyer had been making gains on the bottom lane late in the race.
  • He stayed on the track during the caution and moved to second when the race restarted with 31 to go.
  • Bowyer held his position the best he could through several cautions and an overtime before finishing fifth. 

Notes: 

  • Joey Logano won the FanShield 500k to score his milestone 25th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Kevin Harvick was .276 of a second.
  • This was Ford’s 17th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Phoenix.
  • There were 12 caution periods for a total of 73 laps.
  • Twenty-seven of the 38 drivers in the FanShield 500k finished on the lead lap.
  • Harvick leaves Phoenix as the championship leader with a one-point advantage over second-place Logano.
  • Bowyer’s fifth-place result was his best so far this year. His previous best was sixth in the Daytona 500.
  • Bowyer earned his first top-five and second top-10 of the season, and his third top-five and ninth top-10 in 30 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix.
  • This is Bowyer’s second straight top-10 at Phoenix. He finished eighth in the series’ last visit to the track in November.
  • Bowyer has only finished outside the top-15 at Phoenix once since joining SHR in 2017. 

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

“As you go through this West Coast swing, you are lying in the bed you made. We saw that all the time, and it really is true. You come out here, and these cars are prepared before we get out here. Certainly we are looking forward to getting back home and re-evaluating some things. I can’t seem to figure out how to get the front end to turn. There is a new mentality with (crew chief) John (Klausmeier) and all his engineers. All in all, to grind it out on Sunday when the money is on the line, it was a good effort and some momentum going into Atlanta, a fun racetrack for me that I really enjoy. The Mobil 1 Ford is beat up a little bit as I look over your shoulder there. Hell, that is what this track is all about.”

Next Up: 

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, March 15, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2020 Phoenix I Race Report

Event:               FanShield 500k
Series:              NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Phoenix Raceway (1.022-mile oval)
Format:             312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/115 laps/122 laps)
Start/Finish:      2nd/2nd (Running, completed 316 of 316 laps)
Point Standing:  1st (164 points)
Note:                Race extended four laps past its scheduled 312-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner:    Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75): 

  • Kevin Harvick started second and finished first, earning 10 bonus point and a playoff point.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Rewards Ford Mustang was a bit loose early on.
  • Harvick was second when he pitted under caution on lap 60 for four tires and fuel.
  • The No. 4 car left pit road in first place and led the last 15 laps of Stage 1. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-190): 

  • Harvick started first and finished second, earning nine bonus points.
  • On lap 134 the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Rewards Ford Mustang pitted from the lead for four tires and fuel. He came out of the pits in sixth place.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 191-316): 

  • Harvick started second and finished second.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Rewards Ford Mustang pitted on lap 194 for four tires and fuel and a chassis adjustment, then came out in fifth place.
  • On lap 216, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He had to restart sixth, as several cars took only two tires.
  • Harvick passed Joey Logano for the lead on lap 251.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Rewards Ford Mustang pitted on lap 255 for four tires and fuel and remained in first place.
  • His final pit stop was on lap 268 for four tires and fuel, but he remained in the top-10.
  • There were four late-race cautions, which put Harvick in position to battle Logano for the win, but the No. 4 car fell just .276 of a second behind and had to settle for second place.

Notes:

  • Harvick’s second-place result was his best thus far in 2020. His previous best was fifth in the season-opening Daytona 500.
  • This is Harvick’s fourth straight top-10. He finished ninth in the series’ last race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
  • Harvick earned his second top-five and fourth top-10 of the season, and his 18th top-five and 24th top-10 in 35 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix.
  • Harvick’s 18 top-fives and 24 top-10s are the most among active drivers at Phoenix.
  • This was Harvick’s 12th top-two at Phoenix. Nine of those top-twos are victories, the most among active drivers at Phoenix.
  • This is Harvick’s second straight top-five and his 14th straight top-10 at Phoenix. He finished fifth in the series’ most recent visit to the track last November.
  • Harvick has never finished outside the top-10 at Phoenix since joining SHR in 2014. He has scored five wins during this time.
  • Harvick led four times for 67 laps to increase his laps-led total at Phoenix to 1,662, the most among active drivers.
  • Logano won the FanShield 500k to score his milestone 25th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Harvick was .276 of a second.
  • This was Ford’s 17th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Phoenix.
  • There were 12 caution periods for a total of 73 laps.
  • Twenty-seven of the 38 drivers in the FanShield 500k finished on the lead lap.
  • Harvick leaves Phoenix as the championship leader with a one-point advantage over second-place Logano. 

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

“He (Logano) just had control of the race. After we pitted there, I got stuck behind a couple of cars there, lost five or six spots. He got by and got control of the race. He got to restart where he wanted to. Our Jimmy John’s Ford was better, especially when we could put it in front of his. We just didn’t get the control of the race back there, and he was able to get by us on that restart where I got hung up.” 

Next Up: 

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, March 15, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

COLE CUSTER – 2020 Phoenix I Race Report

Event:               FanShield 500k
Series:              NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Phoenix Raceway (1.022-mile oval)
Format:             312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/115 laps/122 laps)
Start/Finish:      16th/9th (Running, completed 316 of 316 laps)
Point Standing:  22th with 73 points, 91 out of first
Note:                Race extended four laps past its scheduled 312-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner:    Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

  • Cole Custer started 16th and ended the stage 12th.
  • On lap 10, as he ran 15th, Custer reported his Haas Automation Mustang was tight.
  • During the first caution on lap 59, the California native reported his Mustang remained tight. He pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments, then restarted 16th.
  • After a brief green flag, the caution was displayed again on lap 65. The 22-year-old stayed out on the track in the 12th position, where he ended the stage.
  • He pitted during the Stage 1 break for fuel, four tires and more adjustments to help with his Ford’s handling and returned to the track 20th after varying pit strategies.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-190):

  • Custer started 20th in Stage 2 and completed it in 10th to earn one stage point.
  • On lap 92 Custer, running 18th, reported once again that his Mustang was too tight.
  • The Haas Automation driver was back in the top-15 on lap 126.
  • Under caution on lap 132, Custer pitted from 14th for fuel and four tires, then restarted 15th. Crew chief Mike Shiplett relayed to Custer that his Mustang was really good on the long run.
  • The No. 41 driver reached the top-10 on lap 158.
  • Custer came down pit road during the Stage 2 break for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help his Mustang turn in the center better.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 191-316):

  • Custer began the final stage from 13th and ended the race ninth.
  • Under caution on lap 215 the Ford driver pitted from 17th for fuel and four tires. He restarted 16th.
  • With 60 laps to go and under another caution, Custer pitted from 15th and restarted 18th.
  • With 47 laps to go, the caution was once again displayed. Shiplett made the call for Custer to stay out and restart sixth.
  • With another quick caution on lap 277, Custer pitted from 13th for four fresh tires and an adjustment.
  • He restarted 17th with 30 laps to go, and the caution came back out just after the green flag with Custer in the 14th spot.
  • The rookie driver was in the 12th spot on lap 291.
  • On the lap-304 caution, Custer was in the 13th spot and didn’t pit, which allowed him to restart ninth.
  • On the green-white-checkered attempt, the SHR driver was in the 10th position and ultimately finished ninth.

Notes:

  • Custer’s ninth-place finish was his best in seven career NASCAR Cup Series starts.
  • This was Custer’s first top-10 of the season, and it came in his first career NASCAR Cup Series start at Phoenix.
  • This is Custer’s third straight top-20. He finished 18th in the series’ last race at Auto Club Speedway.
  • Custer was the highest-finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie in the FanShield 500k.
  • Joey Logano won the FanShield 500k to score his milestone 25th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Kevin Harvick was .276 of a second.
  • This was Ford’s 17th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Phoenix.
  • There were 12 caution periods for a total of 73 laps.
  • Twenty-seven of the 38 drivers in the FanShield 500k finished on the lead lap.
  • Harvick leaves Phoenix as the championship leader with a one-point advantage over second-place Logano. 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

“This was a huge finish for us. It is a huge boost to have a really solid day and a fast Mustang. We overcame obstacles all weekend, and hopefully we can continue to carry that all through the year. I think we get better every single race, so it is just a matter of continuing that.” 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, March 15, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2020 Phoenix I Race Report

Event: FanShield 500k
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Phoenix Raceway (1.022-mile oval)
Format: 312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/115 laps/122 laps)
Start/Finish: 6th/8th (Running, completed 316 of 316 laps)
Point Standing: 8th (121 points, 43 out of first)

Race Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

● Aric Almirola started sixth and finished eighth, earning three bonus points.
● The No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang joined the top-five on lap 10.
● Almirola said his Smithfield Ford was tight to the middle of the turns.
● On lap 66, he pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments under caution.
● He restarted seventh and ran inside the top-10 before the end of the stage.
● Almirola pitted for four tires and fuel. He came off pit road 13th and was the second car on four tires.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 75-190):

● Almirola started 13th and finished sixth, earning five bonus points.
● Almirola was caught in the middle on the restart and lost several positions.
● The No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and chassis adjustments during a caution on lap 133.
● On the restart, Almirola powered the No. 10 Smithfield Ford to the low line and passed five cars to run ninth.
● He consistently gained positions and passed teammate Clint Bowyer for sixth on lap 159.
● Almirola pitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and adjustments and came off pit road in seventh.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 191-316):

● Almirola started seventh and finished eighth.
● He raced the No. 10 Ford into the top-five on the restart.
● The No. 10 pitted on lap 215 for four tires and fuel and left pit road 10th after multiple drivers took two tires and gained position.
● Almirola made the pass for seventh on lap 233 and passed for sixth on lap 240.
● The caution was called on lap 252 with Almirola in sixth. He pitted under the caution period for four tires and fuel and restarted sixth.
● During a caution on lap 304, Almirola opted not to pit and restarted in eighth.
● He gained a spot before another caution was called a lap later.
● Almirola restarted in seventh for the final time and held the No. 10 Smithfield Ford inside the top-10 before crossing the finish line.

Notes:

● Almirola earned his second top-10 of the season and his sixth top-10 in 19 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix.
● This is Almirola’s second straight top-10. He finished eighth in the series’ last race at Auto Club Speedway.
● Since joining SHR in 2018, Almirola has only finished outside the top-10 once at Phoenix.
● Joey Logano won the FanShield 500k to score his milestone 25th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Kevin Harvick was .276 of a second.
● This was Ford’s 17th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Phoenix.
● There were 12 caution periods for a total of 73 laps.
● Twenty-seven of the 38 drivers in the FanShield 500k finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick leaves Phoenix as the championship leader with a one-point advantage over second-place Logano.

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

“That was a decent day for us. We scored stage points in both stages and ran competitively. I thought after practice we were a fourth- to eighth-place car, and quite honestly that is about where we ran all day. The pit crew did a good job there the second half of the race keeping us in the game. I am proud of that. We just continue to build. We just keep knocking off these top-10s in a row after last weekend and this weekend. Then you slowly progress to trying to run in the top-five, and that is where you find yourself in position to win races. We need to continue to build on this. I am really proud of Buga (crew chief Mike Bugarewicz) and all the guys on this Smithfield team. They have been bringing some nice Ford Mustangs for me to drive the last couple of weeks.”

Next Up: 

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, March 15, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

CHASE BRISCOE – 2020 NXS Phoenix I Race Report

Event:  LS Tractor 200 (Round 4 of 33)
Series:  NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location:  Phoenix Raceway (1.022-mile oval)
Format:  200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish:  9th/6th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing:  2nd (173 points, 3 behind leader)

Race Winner:  Brandon Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner:  Justin Allgaier of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner:  Noah Gragson of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Key Moment:

Chase Briscoe featured regularly among the top-five in Saturday’s LS Tractor 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Phoenix Raceway. The driver of the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing started ninth but finished third in both stages of the 200-lap race around the 1.022-mile oval. Briscoe was again running third in the final stage until a caution on lap 129 jumbled the running order. Numerous drivers took the opportunity to pit while others, including Briscoe, opted for track position and stayed out on the racetrack. But when the race restarted on lap 133, those who stayed out were no match for the drivers who pitted and fitted their racecars with fresh tires. Briscoe fell to ninth until the race’s penultimate caution on lap 138 allowed the 25-year-old racer from Mitchell, Indiana, to pit for four tires and fuel. In the final 57 laps, Briscoe worked his way from 22nd and almost back into the top-five, as he was unable to claim fifth in a spirited last-lap battle with Justin Haley. Briscoe ended up sixth, tying his best Xfinity Series finish at Bristol and picking up his third top-10 of the season.

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

“I think we were definitely better than a sixth-place racecar. We just had a miscommunication when the whole field pitted. My crew chief told me to do what the 7 (Justin Allgaier) and the 9 (Noah Gragson) do, but the 9 pitted and the 7 stayed out, so I stayed out. Then we were at a disadvantage tire-wise. I restarted last and was able to drive to sixth. Overall, it was a good learning weekend for when we come back in November.”

Notes:                   

● Briscoe equaled his previous best finish at Phoenix (sixth), as he finished sixth in last year’s iK9 Service Dog 200.
● Briscoe earned his 33rd top-10 in 54 career Xfinity Series starts and his third top-10 in three Xfinity Series starts at Phoenix.
● Briscoe finished third in both Stage 1 and Stage 2 to earn a total of 16 bonus points.
● Brandon Jones won the LS Tractor 200 to score his second career Xfinity Series win, his first of the season and his first at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Harrison Burton was 3.556 seconds.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 45 laps.
● Only 17 of the 36 drivers finished on the lead lap.
● Burton leaves Phoenix as the championship leader with a three-point advantage over second-place Briscoe.

Next Up:               

The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the EchoPark 250 on Saturday, March 14 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 4 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

CLINT BOWYER – 2020 Fontana Race Report

Event: Auto Club 400
Series: 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: 1st/23rd (Running, completed 199 of 200 laps)
Point Standing:16th with 70 points, 52 out of first

Race Winner:      Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner:  Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner:  Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Clint Bowyer started first and finished 16th.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Ford Mustang led the first 10 laps of the race.
● Bowyer reported his car was tight and began fading back through the field.
● Bowyer pitted from 14th on lap 27.
● Bowyer held that position before falling to 16th to end the stage.
● During the stage break the No. 14 crew made several adjustments to improve the car’s handling.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-120):

Started 18th, finished 24th.
● Bowyer drove to 12th in the opening laps of the stage before reporting his car was tight again.
● Bowyer pitted on lap 90 under green for a routine stop.
● Seconds after returning to the track, his left front tire went flat because of a broken inner valve stem.
● Bowyer’s shredded tire brought out the caution, but he managed to get the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Ford Mustang back to the pits.
● The crew repaired the damaged bodywork, but Bowyer reported the car was difficult to turn as he raced at the end of the lead lap.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):

Started 26th, finished 23rd.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Ford Mustang made a scheduled green-flag stop on lap 165 of the 200-lap race.
● “She just won’t turn,” Bowyer told the crew during the final stage.
● Bowyer stayed on the lead lap until 34 laps remained in the race.

Notes:

●  Bowyer led once for 10 laps to increase his laps-led total at Fontana to 57.
●  Alex Bowman won the Auto Club 400 to score his second career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Fontana. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was 8.904 seconds.
●  There were three caution periods for a total of 13 laps.
●  Only 17 of the 38 drivers in the Auto Club 400 finished on the lead lap.
●  Ryan Blaney remains the championship leader after Fontana with an 11-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

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

“That was a lot of fun to be out front at the start of the race, but she got tight and we started to struggle. That tire deal kind of ended our hopes for a good finish. It just wouldn’t turn after that.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the FanShield 500k on Sunday, March 8, at Phoenix Raceway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2020 Fontana Race Report

Event: Auto Club 400
Series: 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: 5th/9th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 3rd (110 points, 12 out of first)

Race Winner:  Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Kevin Harvick started fifth and finished 14th.
● The No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang was quite loose early on.
● As the race went on, Harvick said the car’s handling was not improving.
● On lap 28, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis and tire pressure adjustment.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

Harvick started eighth and finished 10th, earning one bonus point and one playoff point.
● The No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang pitted on lap 62 for four tires, fuel and a chassis and tire pressure adjustment.
● Saying his car was getting better, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and tire pressure adjustment.
● On lap 91, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):

Harvick started eighth and finished ninth.
● The No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang pitted on lap 123 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.
● On lap 160, Harvick made his final pit stop for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. The pit crew’s work was flawless, as it had been all day, which kept Harvick in the top-10.

Notes:

● Harvick earned his third top-10 of the season and his 13th top-10 in 27 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Fontana.
● This is Harvick’s second straight top-10 at Fontana. He finished fourth in last year’s Auto Club 400.
● This is Harvick’s third straight top-10. He finished eighth in the series’ last race at Las Vegas.
● Harvick finished 10th in Stage 2 to earn one bonus point.
● Alex Bowman won the Auto Club 400 to score his second career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Fontana. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was 8.904 seconds.
● There were three caution periods for a total of 13 laps.
● Only 17 of the 38 drivers in the Auto Club 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Ryan Blaney remains the championship leader after Fontana with an 11-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We just didn’t have a very good weekend. This place wasn’t very good for us last year, either. I am just having a hard time getting the car to be balanced all the way through the corner. I think, as you look at it, we didn’t have a ninth-place car either, we just had a great day on pit road. Those guys did a phenomenal job on pit road, and that kept us in the game.”

Next Up: The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the FanShield 500k on Sunday, March 8, at Phoenix Raceway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2020 Fontana Race Report

Event:  Auto Club 400
Series:  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:  6th/8th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing:  10th (84 points, 38 out of first)

Race Winner:  Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner:  Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner:  Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

●  Aric Almirola started sixth and finished fourth, earning seven bonus points
●  The No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang started off tight, became neutral as the stage wore, and finished the stage a little loose.
●  Almirola made a scheduled, green flag pit stop on lap 28 for four tires and fuel. Only adjustment was to tire pressures.
●  Almirola came into the pits in seventh place and returned to the race in seventh place after pit stops cycled through.
●  Almirola grabbed sixth on lap 39, fifth on lap 53 and fourth on lap 55.
●  Pitted for four tires and fuel at the conclusion of the stage. Added some tape to the grille.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

●  Almirola started ninth and finished 13th.
●  Dropped to 10th after the green flag, and reported car was tighter on lap 77 as he drove among traffic.
●  “I’m just grinding the front tires off,” said Almirola on lap 84 as his car remained tight.
●  Made scheduled, green flag pit stop on lap 90 for four tires and fuel with a right-rear wedge adjustment.
●  During caution period beginning on lap 94, Almirola stayed out on the racetrack and restarted in 10th.
●  Fell to 16th after lap-96 restart, but battled back to 13th before the end of the stage.
●  Pitted for four tires and fuel at the end of the stage. Added more tape to the grille.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):

●  Almirola started 15th and finished eighth.
●  Methodically worked way up to 11th before making a scheduled, green flag pit stop on lap 160 for four tires and fuel.
●  Quick pit work earned Almirola track position, as he climbed to ninth after pit stops cycled through.
●  Almirola caught teammate Kevin Harvick on lap 169 and passed him for eighth.
●  Almirola keyed his mic on lap 187 and said, “It’s going so tight,” in reference to his Smithfield Ford.
●  When Ryan Blaney pitted for a flat tire three laps short of the finish, Almirola rose to seventh.
●  But Denny Hamlin caught Almirola on the penultimate lap, claiming seventh and dropping Almirola to eighth.

Notes:

●  Almirola earned his first top-10 of the season and his second top-10 in 13 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Fontana.
●  Almirola’s eighth-place result bettered his previous best finish at Fontana – ninth, earned in the series’ previous visit to the track last March.
●  Almirola has not finished outside of the top-12 at Fontana since joining SHR in 2018.
●  Alex Bowman won the Auto Club 400 to score his second career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Fontana. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was 8.904 seconds.
●  There were three caution periods for a total of 13 laps.
●  Only 17 of the 38 drivers in the Auto Club 400 finished on the lead lap.
●  Ryan Blaney remains the championship leader after Fontana with an 11-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

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

“I have to clean up some things and we have to clean up some things as a team. I thought we had a top-five car and we just kept giving away all of our track position. We have to do better, but we are building and we got a top-10 and we will take that and move on. I think we have a lot of potential. I think Bugga (crew chief Mike Bugarewicz) and all the guys did a great job with our Smithfield Ford Mustang and I felt like we had a top-10 car going into today and we proved that. We ran in the top-10 most of the day, but I feel like with track position and a few other things going a little better, a little smoother, we could’ve had a lot better result. Overall, it was still a decent day and we will take the points and move on.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the FanShield 500k on Sunday, March 8 at Phoenix Raceway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

COLE CUSTER – 2020 Fontana Race Report

Event: Auto Club 400
Series: 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: 18th/18th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 26th with 44 points, 78 out of first

Race Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):             

● Cole Custer started 18th and ended the stage 21st.
● On lap five, Custer reported his Mustang “fired off a tick loose.”
● The California native’s first pit stop of the day from 25th was on lap 28 for fuel, four tires and adjustments.
● During the Stage 1 break, the Haas Automation driver reported that his No. 41 machine was too loose at the end of the run to race the line against the wall.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

● Custer started Stage 2 in 21st and completed it 19th.
● On lap 80, the 22-year-old reported his Mustang was too tight in the center while running 21st.
● Custer made a scheduled pit stop on lap 90 for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with the tight condition.
● The caution was displayed on lap 93, and the Ford driver came down pit road for fuel, four tires and more adjustments. He restarted 20th.
● Custer came down pit road during the Stage 2 break for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his tight-handling No. 41 Ford Mustang.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):

● Custer began the final stage from 17th and ended the race 18th.
● After a long green-flag run, the Ford driver made a scheduled green-flag pit stop from the 20th spot for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
● With 20 laps to go, Custer remained in the 20th position.
● The final stage remained under green, and the Haas Automation/Production Alliance Group driver ended the day in 18th.

Notes:

● This is Custer’s second straight top-20. He finished 19th in the series’ last race at Las Vegas.
● Alex Bowman won the Auto Club 400 to score his second career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Fontana. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was 8.904 seconds.
● There were three caution periods for a total of 13 laps.
● Only 17 of the 38 drivers in the Auto Club 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Ryan Blaney remains the championship leader after Fontana with an 11-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“My guys did a good job today in the pits. We need to be better, but it was a solid day. We’re still very new to working with each other. I wish I could’ve gotten them a result better than 18th, because the car was better than that, but we’ll keep working on it together as a team.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the FanShield 500k on Sunday, March 8 at Phoenix Raceway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

CHASE BRISCOE – 2020 NXS Fontana Race Report

Event:  Production Alliance Group 300 (Round 3 of 33)
Series:  NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location:  Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (2-mile oval)
Format:  150 laps, broken into three stages (35 laps/35 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish:  3rd/19th (Running, completed 148 of 150 laps)
Point Standing:  2nd (126 points, 10 behind leader)

Race Winner:  Harrison Burton of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner:  Brandon Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner:  Brandon Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Key Moment:

Chase Briscoe led three times for 16 laps in the Production Alliance Group 300 Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, but a late-race spin relegated the 25-year-old racer from Mitchell, Indiana, to a 19th-place finish. Briscoe started third in the 150-lap race around the 2-mile oval and proved to be a top-five mainstay, but he and crew chief Richard Boswell continued to improve their No. 98 Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang, and their collective work took hold on lap 97 when Briscoe took the lead for the first time. A spirited battle with rookie Harrison Burton where the duo swapped the lead twice made for some nail-biting moments, but Burton ultimately pulled away on lap 118 after Briscoe got loose off turn two. Briscoe’s No. 98 Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang continued to get looser as the race wore on, and on lap 126 the rear end of his racecar came around off turn four, sending Briscoe spinning into the infield grass. The time it took to get the car refired and fitted with four new tires put Briscoe a lap down, and then a flat tire with three laps to go sent Briscoe further down the leaderboard, with the 19th-place result unrepresentative of his overall performance.

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 98 Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

“We had a pretty good Production Alliance Group Ford Mustang and just couldn’t ever get track position early in the race. When we finally got the track position, we had a voltage issue where the motor kept shutting off. I kept overdriving it trying to make up for it and then I just spun out off of four and that buried us, obviously. That one is on me. We definitely had a car capable of winning, or for sure running second at the absolute worst. I don’t even know where we ended up. We will have to just go to Phoenix and try to not do that again.”

Notes:                   

● Briscoe’s 16 laps led were his first laps led at Fontana.
● Briscoe finished second in Stage 1 to earn nine bonus points and fourth in Stage 2 to earn seven more bonus points.
● This was Briscoe’s second Xfinity Series start at Fontana and his 53rd career Xfinity Series start.
● Harrison Burton won the Production Alliance Group 300 to score his first career Xfinity Series win. His margin of victory over second-place Riley Herbst was .455 of a second.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 36 laps.
● Only 15 of the 36 drivers finished on the lead lap.
● Burton leaves Fontana as the championship leader with a 10-point advantage over second-place Briscoe.

Next Up:               

The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the LS Tractor 200 on Saturday, March 7 at Phoenix Raceway. The race starts at 4 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.