SHR Post-Race Report: GEICO 500 at Talladega

Date: April 25, 2021
Event: GEICO 500 (Round 10 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Format: 188 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/68 laps)
Note: Race extended three laps past its scheduled 188-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Matt DiBenedetto of Wood Brothers Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Bubba Wallace of 23XI Racing (Toyota)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 16th, Finished 4th / Running, completed 191 of 191 laps)
● Cole Custer(Started 27th, Finished 10th / Running, completed 191 of 191 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 25th, Finished 11th / Running, completed 191 of 191 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 14th, Finished 15th / Running, completed 191 of 191 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (7th with 308 points, 138 out of first)
● Cole Custer(23rd with 178 points, 268 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (26th with 159 points, 287 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (28th with 155 points, 291 out of first)

Harvick Notes:
● By taking the green flag, Harvick became the all-time leader across NASCAR’s top-three series in total starts with 1,198 starts – 728 Cup Series starts, 346 Xfinity Series starts and 124 Camping World Truck Series starts.
● Harvick earned his third top-five and seventh top-10 of the season, and his eighth top-five and 17th top-10 in 41 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega.
● Harvick finished ninth in Stage 1 to earn two bonus points.
● Harvick led three times for 12 laps to increase his laps led total at Talladega to 276.
● Harvick has now led 11,168 laps since joining SHR in 2014. He has led 15,594 laps in his entire NASCAR Cup Series career.

Custer Notes:
● Custer earned his first top-10 of the season and his first top-10 in three career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega.
● This was Custer’s best finish so far this season. His previous best result was an 11th-place drive in the season-opening Daytona 500.
● Custer’s 10th-place result bettered his previous best finish at Talladega – 22nd, earned last June.

Briscoe Notes:
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.
● This was Briscoe’s best finish so far this season. His previous best result was an 18th-place drive Feb. 28 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
● Briscoe led one lap – his first lap led in the Cup Series.

Almirola Notes:
● Since joining SHR in 2018, Almirola has only finished outside the top-15 once at Talladega – a lone 37th-place finish in the series’ prior visit to the track last October.
● Almirola led once for 16 laps to increase his laps led total at Talladega to 71.

Race Notes:
● This was Ford’s 708th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory and its fourth win of 2021.
● This was Ford’s 31st all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory at Talladega and its 10th in the last 12 races at the 2.66-mile oval. Ford won its first race at Talladega on May 4, 1975 with NASCAR Hall of Famer Buddy Baker.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 34 laps.
● Only 26 of the 40 drivers in the GEICO 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Talladega with an 87-point advantage over second-place Martin Truex Jr.

Talladega Quotes

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Dog Brew Ford Mustang:
“We definitely didn’t like to see the ‘22’ flying around in the air right in front of us, but our Busch Dog Brew Ford Mustang was good all day. We raced all day. I kind of slid the left-front (tire) there and got a speeding penalty at one point. We were able to stay on the lead lap, but everybody did a great job. The car is still rolling at the end of two speedway races in a row. I think that’s a first for us. We just need a little bit of momentum. The cars have run well on the speedways. Hopefully, next week we have everything together at Kansas and we can have a good day.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang
“We had a fast Smithfield Ford today before a puncture in the nose at the end slowed us down some. Early in the race I had a terrible vibration that felt like it was coming from the driveshaft. I think it was damage on the splitter, so when we’d go to a high speed the vibration picked up. It was good to be there at the end, but we didn’t get the hole we needed to drive back up to the front at the end. On to Kansas to try to pick the momentum back up.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang:
“That was the solid race we needed. I think if a thing or two would’ve gone our way on that last restart, we would’ve ended up with an even better finish. But our HaasTooling.com Ford guys did a good job getting us a fast Mustang for this race. We started out a little too free, then we were on the tighter side, and then we got the car about as comfortable as I’ve ever driven on a superspeedway. We’ll take this one and hopefully build some momentum for this next stretch of races. Now, we just have to keep clicking off those top-10s.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang:
“Hate that we couldn’t get a top-10 out of it, but honestly, 11th is a great finish. You never know how it’s going to go at Talladega, and I was hoping this could be a race for us to turn things around and get a good finish. Momentum is always a good thing. This is the confidence builder we need heading into the next few races.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Buschy McBusch Race 400 on Sunday, May 2 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The race begins at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

SHR Post-Race Report: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville

Date: April 10-11, 2021
Event: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 (Round 8 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr., of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 9th, Finished 9th / Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 26th, Finished 18th / Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 31st, Finished 20th / Running, completed 499 of 500 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 24th, Finished 27th / Running, completed 491 of 500 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (8th with 253 points, 126 out of first)
● Cole Custer (24th with 137 points, 242 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (27th with 114 points, 265 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (28th with 105 points, 274 out of first)

Race Notes:
● The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 began on Saturday night and 42 laps were completed before rain washed over the .526-mile oval, forcing NASCAR to postpone the remainder of the race to Sunday.
● Harvick earned his sixth top-10 of the season and his 20th top-10 in 40 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville.
● There were 15 caution periods for a total of 102 laps.
● Only 18 of the 37 drivers in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 finished on the lead lap.

Martinsville Quotes

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 NA Ford Mustang:
“We just maintained today. I got one good restart and then went too loose at the end.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang:
“I’m not sure what it’s going to take to have our luck change, but I sure hope it’s soon. We ran so aggressively and so well, and it felt like we just had a magnet on the left-rear quarter panel. We stayed in the lead lap there in the first stage, and I felt like we had a solid car to work with. Then we got jammed up and I got pushed into another car that tore up the front end. We couldn’t catch a break all day. After all of that we still had a top-10 Smithfield Anytime Favorites Ford. We were in the Lucky Dog position there at the end and couldn’t get a caution to get us back in contention. We’re keeping our heads up and waiting for the bad luck to end.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang:
“That was a typical Martinsville race. It’s a long race, a tough race, a long two days, it felt like. Our biggest issue was trying to find the drive off the corners that we needed. We got our HaasTooling.com Ford pretty decent in that respect by the middle of the last stage. We managed to get through that big wreck in better shape than a lot of other folks, and for some reason the car got worse during the last run, but we were able to get 18th place out of it.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang:
“I’m not really sure what went wrong there with 100 laps to go. Something just felt off after we got pushed up off the bottom and started falling back. The team did a really good job of sticking with it and coming back from two laps down. Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) called for some really good adjustments, and we had a great short-run car. It just started to get a little free, and we never got a chance to work on it.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Richmond 400 on Sunday, April 18 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. The race begins at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

SHR Post-Race Report: Food City Dirt Race at Bristol

Date: March 29, 2021
Event: Food City Dirt Race (Round 7 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile, high-banked, dirt oval)
Format: 250 laps, broken into three stages (100 laps/100 laps/50 laps)
Note: Race extended three laps past its scheduled 250-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

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

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 6th, Finished 15th / Running, completed 253 of 253 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 25th, Finished 20th / Running, completed 252 of 253 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 21st, Finished 24th / Running, completed 252 of 253 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 23rd, Finished 36th / Accident, completed 39 of 253 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (8th with 225 points, 102 out of first)
● Cole Custer (23rd with 118 points, 209 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (27th with 104 points, 223 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (28th with 88 points, 239 out of first)

Race Notes:
● This was the first dirt race in the NASCAR Cup Series since Sept. 30, 1970 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh where NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty took the 117th of his record 200 career NASCAR Cup Series wins.
● Joey Logano won the Food City Dirt Race to score his 27th career NASCAR Cup Series victory and his first of the season. His margin over second-place Ricky Stenhouse Jr., was .554 of a second.
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie for the sixth straight race.
● This was Ford’s 707th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory and its third win of 2021. It is the manufacturer’s 101st all-time dirt victory, with Logano being the 30th different driver to win a Cup Series dirt race in a Ford. NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett, who is Ford’s all-time leader in Cup wins with 43, also holds the record for most dirt wins for Ford with 26.
● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 37 laps.
● Only 19 of the 39 drivers in the Food City Dirt Race finished on the lead lap.

Bristol Dirt Quotes

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang:
“It was so cool to be a part of something this historic. It was definitely uncharted territory to put our Cup cars on dirt. But everybody did their best to adapt to everything that happened throughout the weekend, and I think the fans got a new kind of show. Looking forward to taking what everybody learned this weekend and making everything better for when we come back next year. I think our HaasTooling.com Ford team did its best to deal with everything that was thrown at us. Our biggest issues turned out to be trying to find forward bite on the straightaways and finding ways to tighten up the car. We now have a notebook to work with for next time.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang:
“The No. 77 slipped off the bottom. I was hunting the bottom, and he slipped off the bottom. I was trying to get in between him and the silly humps there, and he turned back down across my nose and hit me in the right-front and kind of ran me up over the dirt hump, and I spun. You can’t stop. You can’t see. That’s honestly the biggest problem. In dirt racing, you don’t have a windshield in front of you, so you can pull a tear off (of your helmet visor). We can’t reach out there and pull a tear off of our windshield, so you can’t see anything. Everybody just comes piling in, because you can’t see. Right before that, we started to put down solid lap downs.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang:
“That was not the race we wanted for our HighPoint.com Ford Mustang. Obviously, we had high expectations for this weekend. After running the Truck Series race earlier today I knew it was going to be a challenge. A lot of what happened there was out of our control with the accidents. We actually were heading in the right direction there in Stage 2 but, once again, got hit from behind and just never really recovered from it. I’m just looking forward to the week off before we head to Martinsville.”

Next Up:
The NASCAR Cup Series takes a rare weekend off before returning to action April 10 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500. The race begins at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

SHR Post-Race Report: Folds Of Honor 500 at Atlanta

Date: March 21, 2021
Event: Folds of Honor 500 (Round 6 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile oval)
Format: 325 laps, broken into three stages (105 laps/105 laps/115 laps)

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

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 7th, Finished 10th / Running, completed 325 of 325 laps)
● Cole Custer(Started 27th, Finished 18th / Running, completed 324 of 325 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 16th, Finished 20th / Running, completed 324 of 325 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 24th, Finished 23rd / Running, completed 323 of 325 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (6th with 203 points, 74 out of first)
● Cole Custer (22nd with 105 points, 172 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (26th with 87 points, 190 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (27th with 87 points, 190 out of first)

Race Notes:
● Harvick earned his fifth top-10 of the season and his series-leading 16th top-10 in 31 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Atlanta.
● This was Harvick’s seventh straight top-10 at Atlanta. He hasn’t finished outside the top-10 since a lone 19th-place finish in August 2014.
● Harvick has finished among the top-10 in 14 of his last 17 starts at Atlanta, a run that began with a seventh-place drive in March 2008.
● This is Harvick’s second straight top-10. He finished sixth in last week’s race at Phoenix Raceway.
● Custer’s 18th-place result bettered his previous best finish at Atlanta – 19th, earned in his first NASCAR Cup Series start at the track last June.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 25 laps.
● Only 14 of the 39 drivers in the Folds of Honor 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Atlanta with a 43-point advantage over second-place Larson.

Atlanta Quotes

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang:
“Well, that was definitely not the result we wanted, but I would call it a solid day in a lot of respects. We made improvements on our HaasTooling.com Mustang all day but just couldn’t get going on the restarts for the life of me. Still, proud of all the hard work by Mike (Shiplett, crew chief) and everyone on this HaasTooling team. This is a tough track to get your car right. We’ll go get ’em on the dirt at Bristol next week.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Pit Boss Grills Ford Mustang:
“We battled handing issues all day. Our Pit Boss Ford Mustang just didn’t have the handling on the restarts and couldn’t hold up on the long run. If we helped the restarts, we hurt the long run. We tried a few different adjustments, and nothing really helped us. It was another character building race that we’ll learn and grow from. We’re not running to our potential yet, and we have a long season ahead with a lot of hard-working people. On to Bristol on dirt.

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com/CO-OP Financial Services Ford Mustang:
“Our balance was kind of off all day, but our HighPoint.com/CO-OP Financial Services Ford Mustang was pretty good that last run. We were just too far behind to do much with it by then. Other than that, we had a nice clean race and we’ve learned a lot that we’ll be able to bring back in July. I’m pretty excited to get to Bristol and do some dirt racing next week. Maybe that’s what we need to turn things around.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Food City Dirt Race on Sunday, March 28 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

SHR Post-Race Report: Instacart 500K at Phoenix

 

Date: March 14, 2021
Event: Instacart 500k (Round 5 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Phoenix Raceway (1-mile oval)
Format: 312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/115 laps/122 laps)

Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr., of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 18th, Finished 6th / Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 32nd, Finished 11th / Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 26th, Finished 22nd / Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 24th, Finished 31st / Running, completed 308 of 312 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (7th with 176 points, 60 out of first)
● Cole Custer (20th with 86 points, 150 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (25th with 73 points, 163 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (26th with 70 points, 166 out of first)

Race Notes:
● Harvick earned his fourth top-10 of the season and his series-leading 26th top-10 in 37 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix.
● This was Harvick’s 16th straight top-10 at Phoenix. He hasn’t finished outside the top-10 since a lone 13th-place finish in March 2013.
● Harvick finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points and sixth in Stage 2 to earn five more bonus points.
● Almirola’s 11th-place finish was his best so far this season.
● This was Almirola’s third straight top-15 at Phoenix.
● Almirola finished eighth in Stage 2 to earn three bonus points.
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 45 laps.
● Twenty-four of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

Phoenix Quotes

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang:
“We struggled on the restarts and we just could never get the track position. After seven or eight laps, it felt like our Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang was good enough to run in the top-three, but we could never get going on the restarts to be able to get that track position.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Pit Boss Grills Ford Mustang:
“Finally, a solid day. Proud of my team. We ran in the top-10 most of the day and had a really good Pit Boss Grills Ford on the longer runs. And then there at the end it turned out to be two short runs. All in all, a great day, turned all the bad races around and almost got a top-10. Thanks so much to Pit Boss Grills and representing the Pro Series on the car. That was fun to run up front, be competitive and get out of here with a solid finish. We made some hay and a little ground on the points situation, and we’re going to have a lot better starting spot and pit selection going to Atlanta. We’ll keep this momentum going next week, where we’re running another Pit Boss Grills Ford.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang:
“We didn’t unload how we wanted and it’s a shame to have something like that happen after we worked so hard to get our HaasTooling.com Mustang running to where we were in the mix and could compete for top-10. I hate it for the guys. It wasn’t the finish we deserved, that’s for sure, but we’ve got some ideas for how to get things turned around.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang:
“The results don’t show how strong our HighPoint.com Ford Mustang was today. We have a lot we need to work on, but to run up front for a while in the final stage was really encouraging. We drove from the back to the top-10 twice, but problems with the pit guns and jack on our stops really held us back from the finish we deserved. We’ve just got to stay patient and focused, and we’ll have a race where it all comes together soon enough.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, March 21 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race begins at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

SHR Post-Race Report: Las Vegas 400

Date: March 7, 2021
Event: Las Vegas 400 (Round 4 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)

Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 1st, Finished 20th / Running, completed 266 of 267 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 24th, Finished 21st / Running, completed 266 of 267 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 20th, Finished 25th / Running, completed 266 of 267 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 28th, Finished 38th / Accident, completed 178 of 267 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (7th with 136 points, 51 out of first)
● Cole Custer (19th with 80 points, 107 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (26th with 58 points, 129 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (28th with 41 points, 146 out of first)

Race Notes:
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.
● The Las Vegas 400 marked Briscoe’s fourth career NASCAR Cup Series start and his first at Las Vegas.
● There were six caution periods for a total of 30 laps.
● Only 14 of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

Las Vegas Quotes

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang:
“That was not the day we were looking for. It was a struggle all day to find rear grip, and we couldn’t attack the corners the way we wanted to on entry and exit. We’ll do everything we can to improve our performance for the next one. We have a lot of season left.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang:
“It felt like every race so far I’ve learned a ton just throughout the race. Obviously I wish I could start the race kind of where I end, knowing what I need from a speed standpoint. I feel like I learned a lot today, and hopefully when we come back here it’ll help. It’s just hard with no practice to show up and go, but I feel like we made gains on it, and right now I feel that’s the most important thing.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Instacart 500k on Sunday, March 14 at Phoenix Raceway. The race begins at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

SHR Post-Race Report: Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead

Date: Feb. 28, 2021
Event: Dixie Vodka 400 (Round 3 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)

Race Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner:
Chris Buescher of Roush-Fenway Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 4th, Finished 5th / Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 30th, Finished 18th / Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 10th, Finished 23rd / Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 16th, Finished 30th / Running, completed 264 of 267 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (2nd with 119 points, 20 out of first)
● Cole Custer (14th with 68 points, 71 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (25th with 42 points, 97 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (26th with 40 points, 99 out of first)

Race Notes
● Harvick earned his second top-five and third top-10 of the season. It was also his 12th top-five and 18th top-10 in 21 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Homestead.
● This was Harvick’s third straight top-10. He finished fourth in the season-opening Daytona 500 and sixth in last week’s race on the road course at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He is one of only two drivers to open the 2021 season with three straight top-10s. The other driver is Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell.
● Harvick finished seventh in Stage 2 to earn four bonus points.
● The Dixie Vodka 400 marked Briscoe’s third career NASCAR Cup Series start.
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.
● Almirola was caught up in an accident on lap 201, but still finished the race.
● There were six caution periods for a total of 36 laps.
● Twenty-five of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

Homestead Quotes

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang:
“We actually had a good car the second half of the race. We were just way too loose in the first third of the race. The Busch Light Ford team did a great job of getting the car better and a great job on pit road keeping our track position, so I’m just really proud of the way that everybody is battling right now. I would consider these three tracks that we’ve gone to so far kind of hit or miss for me as far as my likeability as far as driving and the things we have going on. To have the finishes that we’ve had in the first three races says a lot about our team.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang:
“We fought hard all day to get our Smithfield Ford where we needed it. We found some speed there in the second stage and were headed in the right direction on the balance of the car. I got tight there and slid up the track into the 12. That put us back. On to Vegas.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang:
“Well, that really stings. Mike (Shiplett, crew chief) and the guys did everything they could to help fix our ability to turn through the center of the corner, and we knew that when the sun went down we would have the rear grip we were struggling with early in the race. It was looking like it might be a top-five day, but then we needed to make sure we had fuel enough to get to the end. At worst we had our first top-10 of the season, and then the tire started coming apart with three to go. It’s a shame for the HaasTooling.com team, but we are looking forward to heading out West to Vegas and Phoenix.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang:
“I felt like for all the things we went through, finishing 18th was good recovery from being two laps down. I’m still learning so much. It took me until halfway through the race to understand what I needed to do. I definitely got schooled on restarts in the beginning, and that’s everything in this deal. It’s going to take time and experience and learning the hard way, but I’ll continue to build on it. This was our first real race of the season in a sense, so we’ll go to Vegas and finally be able to start a little closer to the front. Hopefully that will pay dividends for our Ford Performance Racing School team.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Las Vegas 400 on Sunday, March 7 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race begins at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

SHR Post-Race Report: O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona Road

Date: Feb. 21, 2021
Event: O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 (Round 2 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (14-turn, 3.61-mile road course)
Format: 70 laps, broken into three stages (16 laps/18 laps/36 laps)

Race Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 5th, Finished 6th / Running, completed 70 of 70 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 13th, Finished 13th / Running, completed 70 of 70 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 26th, Finished 17th / Running, completed 70 of 70 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 18th, Finished 32nd / Running, completed 70 of 70 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (3rd with 83 points, 21 out of first)
● Cole Custer (11th with 54 points, 50 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (21st with 33 points, 71 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (27th with 23 points, 81 out of first)

Race Notes
● This was Harvick’s second straight top-10 of 2021. He finished fourth in the season-opening Daytona 500.
● Harvick earned his first top-10 in two career NASCAR Cup Series starts on the Daytona road course.
● Harvick’s sixth-place result bettered his previous best finish on the Daytona road course – 17th, earned in the series’ prior visit to the track last August.
● Harvick finished ninth in Stage 1 to earn two bonus points.
● Custer’s 13th-place result bettered his previous best finish at the Daytona road course – 30th, earned last August.
● Custer finished eighth in Stage 2 to earn three bonus points.
● Almirola’s 17th-place result bettered his previous best finish on the Daytona road course – 24th, earned last August.
● The O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 was Briscoe’s second NASCAR Cup Series start.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 12 laps.
● Thirty-two of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

Daytona Road Quotes

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang:
“There was lots of chaos. We had a pretty solid day with our Mobil 1 Ford Mustang and were a lot better. We missed all of the chaos and finished the race. Our goal was to score stage points and we did that. We also wanted to finish in the top-10 and we did that, so we’re going to leave and go home.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang:
“Our Smithfield Ford team showed a lot of improvement today for our road course program. Our pit crew did great, and Buga (Mike Bugarewicz) and the team brought us a fast Ford Mustang today. We improved a lot on our road course program. I spun out there in Turn 3 when my tires hit the rumble strip and it snapped me loose. We made minimal mistakes today, but that set us back later in the race. We had them beat in areas we weren’t able to beat them before – even with some nose damage. We need to head to Homestead and get some stage points and get ourselves a good finish, but I’m looking forward to seeing where our road course program goes.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Dixie Vodka Ford Mustang:
“Man, we deserved a top-10 today. It was just chaotic (on the lap-58 incident), and there was nothing else we could do in that situation but stop. We made it through all the other incidents today, and our Dixie Vodka Ford got stronger as the race went on. The guys made good calls after we were struggling early in the race with rear grip and turning in the right-handers. It’s just a little disappointing to not get rewarded with a top-10. It’s on to Homestead.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang:
“I made too many mistakes at the beginning and it put us behind the rest of the day. One thing is for sure – Cup Series racing is no joke and racing with no power steering makes it that much harder. We had a chance toward the end for a good finish, but when we all got stacked up the additional damage took us out of contention. I’m learning a lot each week and the guys have done a great job of giving me what I need to be able to run all of the laps. On to Homestead and another chance at improvement for our Ford Performance Racing School team.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Dixie Vodka 400 on Sunday, Feb. 28 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race begins at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

SHR Post-Race Report: Daytona 500

Date: Feb. 14, 2021
Event: 63rd Running of the Daytona 500 (Round 1 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (65 laps/65 laps/70 laps)

Race Winner: Michael McDowell of Front Row Motorsports (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 8th, Finished 4th / Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 27th, Finished 11th / Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 30th, Finished 19th / Running, completed 197 of 200 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 3rd, Finished 34th / Accident, completed 13 of 200 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (3rd with 50 points, eight out of first)
● Cole Custer (15th with 27 points, 31 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (18th with 18 points, 40 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (23rd with 13 points, 45 out of first)

Harvick Notes:
● This was Harvick’s 20th career start in The Great American Race, with his first Daytona 500 coming on Feb. 17, 2002.
● Harvick earned his 11th top-five and 16th top-10 in 40 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Daytona.
● Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has earned four top-fives in the Daytona 500.
● Harvick finished second in Stage 2 to earn nine bonus points.
● Harvick led twice for 17 laps to increase his laps-led total at Daytona to 279.
● Harvick has now led 11,156 laps since joining SHR in 2014. He has led 15,582 laps in his entire NASCAR Cup Series career.

Custer Notes:
● Custer made his 40th career NASCAR Cup Series start and his third at Daytona to kick off his sophomore season in the NASCAR Cup Series.
● Custer’s 11th-place result bettered his previous best finish at Daytona – 30th, earned in the series’ visit to the track last August.
● Custer finished 10th in Stage 1 to earn one bonus point.
● Custer led lap 31. It was his first lap led at Daytona.

Briscoe Notes:

● The Daytona 500 marked Briscoe’s NASCAR Cup Series debut.
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.

Almirola Notes:
● Almirola earned a third-place starting position in the Daytona 500 by virtue of his win in Thursday night’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel. It was Almirola’s best start in 19 career NASCAR Cup Series races at Daytona.

Race Notes:
● Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500 to score his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory.
● This was Ford’s 705th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory.
● This was Ford’s 16th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Daytona. Ford won its first race at Daytona on February 24, 1963 with Tiny Lund. Ford’s previous NASCAR Cup Series win at the track came via SHR in the 2017 Daytona 500 with former driver Kurt Busch.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 40 laps.
● Only 11 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Austin Dillon leaves Daytona as the championship leader with a six-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on Sunday, Feb. 21 on the Daytona road course. The race begins at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

CLINT BOWYER – 2020 Phoenix II Race Report

Event: Season Finale 500 (Round 36 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Phoenix Raceway (1-mile oval)
Format: 312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/115 laps/122 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/14th (Running, completed 311 of 312 laps)
Point Standing: 12th with 2,254 points

Champion:           Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Race Winner:      Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner:  Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner:  Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

Clint Bowyer started ninth and finished eighth to earn three bonus points.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Ford Mustang held the ninth spot by the lap-30 competition caution.
● Bowyer moved to fifth during the pit stop and remained in the top-10 for the rest of the stage.
● During the break the crew made adjustments to help Bowyer’s car turn in the middle of the corners.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-190):

Bowyer started fifth and finished 12th.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Ford Mustang climbed to fourth at the start of the stage.
● Bowyer pitted under green for routine service on lap 143 but 20 laps later a caution trapped him midfield.
● Bowyer pitted under caution on lap 163 and restarted 15th. He climbed to 12th before the stage’s end.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 191-312):

Bowyer started 10th and finished 14th.
● He said the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Ford Mustang couldn’t make the grip needed to race with the leaders.
● Bowyer remained in the top-10 making what appeared to be a routine stop under green with 55 laps remaining.
● The jack broke slowing the pit stop which dropped Bowyer to 16th.
● Bowyer fell off the lead lap with 13 to go.

Notes:

● Sunday marked Bowyer’s final race in his career. He’ll serve as a television commentator for Fox next season.
● Bowyer ends his career with 10 wins, 82 top-five and 226 top-10s in 541 races.
● Chase Elliott won the Season Finale 500 to score his 11th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his first at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Brad Keselowski was 2.740 seconds.
● Elliott earned the NASCAR Cup Series championship at Phoenix by virtue of his win. He is the 34th different driver to win the series title.
● There were four caution periods for a total of 27 laps.
● Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Ford clinched its 17th manufacturers’ championship with a series-leading 18 victories in 2020, 10 of which were scored by SHR. This is the second time in the last three seasons Ford has won the manufacturers’ title. Its 18 wins rank as its third-highest total in the modern era (1972-present). Ford won 19 races in 2018 and 1997, one less than its modern-era record of 20 in 1994.

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

“I appreciate all the texts and well wishes, but I was ready for the green flag this morning. That was kind of emotional. Seriously, that was a fun day. I want to thank everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing as well as the partners who have made the last four years so special. I have had a lot of people help me in my career and certainly wouldn’t be here without them. I don’t know if this has sunk in yet, but I think this will all hit me when we get to Daytona next season.”

Next Up:

The 2021 season kicks off with the 63rd running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 14 with live coverage from FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.