COLE CUSTER – 2020 Kentucky Race Report

Event: Kentucky 400 (Round 17 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 29th/1st (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 20th with 321 points, 354 out of first

Race Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):             

● Cole Custer started 29th and finished 16th.
● During the competition caution on lap 25, Custer reported he was pretty happy with the HaasTooling.com Mustang while running 19th.
● He pitted for fuel, four tires and a small adjustment and restarted 19th.
● During the long green-flag run, the rookie driver continued to work his way forward.
● The California native ended the stage in 16th and pitted for fuel, four tires, and adjustments to help loosen up the No. 41 Ford Mustang.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Custer started in 16th and finished third to earn eight bonus points
● On lap 100, Custer was in the 14th position.
● The HaasTooling.com driver made a scheduled green-flag pit stop for fuel only on lap 149.
● The only caution in Stage 2 was displayed on lap 155.
● Custer stayed out and restarted fourth with only one lap left in the stage.
● Custer finished the stage in third and pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

● Custer started 22nd, finished first.
● By lap 179, Custer was in the 12th position.
● On lap 215, the 22-year-old driver moved into the 10th spot.
● “Seems like the car is getting pretty good right now,” Custer told the HaasTooling.com crew on lap 218 from the ninth position.
● Custer inherited the lead on lap 224 as the field began to pit under green.
● Custer made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 228. Just after receiving service, the caution was displayed on lap 229.
● He took the wave around and restarted 13th.
● The caution was back out on lap 243 and Custer stayed out. The Ford driver restarted 13th with 19 laps to go.
● Caution was quickly displayed again and Custer restarted 12th on lap 254.
● A great restart catapulted Custer up to sixth when the caution came out on lap 265 and set up a two-lap sprint to the finish.
● Custer restarted from sixth and drove four-wide to make the pass for the lead and win the race.

Notes:

● Custer earned his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory and it came in his first Cup Series start at Kentucky.
● This was Custer’s second straight top-five. The rookie finished fifth last Sunday in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
● Custer led twice for five laps – his first laps led in the NASCAR Cup Series.
● This was only Custer’s 20th career NASCAR Cup Series start.
● Custer’s margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr., was .271 of a second.
● Custer’s victory in the Kentucky 400 marked the 81st overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s 60th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series victory, its fifth of the season and its first at Kentucky.
● This is SHR’s second straight victory. Kevin Harvick won the Brickyard 400 last Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
● SHR has now won at every track on the current NASCAR Cup Series schedule except the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval, which has only hosted two races.
● This was SHR’s 24th NASCAR Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when former driver Kurt Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
● This was Ford’s series-leading 10th NASCAR Cup Series win of the season and its 696th all-time Cup Series victory.
● This was Ford’s third NASCAR Cup Series victory at Kentucky. Each of its previous wins came with Brad Keselowski in 2014 and 2016.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 42 laps.
● Twenty-six of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Kentucky with an 88-point advantage over second-place Keselowski.

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

“We were so good all day. Our car was so good.  I mean, obviously, it wasn’t the easiest track to pass on, so we were kind of stuck back there, but that was the best car I’ve ever driven in my life.  Everybody at SHR brought an unbelievable car. Mike (Shiplett, crew chief) and Davin (Restivo, lead engineer) on the box, that was unbelievable. Gene (Haas, team co-owner), I can’t stress enough how thankful I am for him taking a shot on me. It definitely was not the start to the year that we wanted. We were definitely way off at some places, but this was by far an unbelievable car. We put it all together and I just can’t thank everybody enough.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race on Wednesday, July 15 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 7 p.m. with the undercard NASCAR All-Star Open.

CLINT BOWYER – 2020 Kentucky Race Report

Event: Kentucky 400 (Round 17 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 15th/14th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 13th with 435 points, 240 out of first

Race Winner:      Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner:  Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner:  Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Clint Bowyer started 15th and finished ninth to earn two bonus points.
● The No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang raced in 16th when the competition caution flew at lap 25.
● Bowyer restarted in 14th and climbed to ninth by lap 33.
● Bowyer held his position through the end of the stage as all cars struggled to pass on the 1.5-mile oval.
● During the stage break, Bowyer pitted from ninth for four tires and fuel, but no major handling changes.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81 -160):

Bowyer started seventh and finished 13th.
● The No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang raced between seventh and ninth-place for most of the stage.
● Bowyer pitted under green for four tires and fuel with 11 laps left in the stage, but a caution after he pitted cost him several spots.
● The stage restarted after a caution with only one lap remaining and Bowyer in 13th.
● During the stage break, Bowyer stayed on the track and moved to ninth..

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

Bowyer started ninth and finished 14th.
● Bowyer narrowly avoided disaster at the start of the stage when Kyle Busch brushed the wall a few car lengths in front of him.
● The No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang was as quick as any driver in clean air moving to seventh with 69 to go and fifth with 58 to go.
● Bowyer made a routine pit stop under green with 45 to go, but another caution flew with 38 to go dropping him off the lead lap.
● Bowyer took the free pass and returned to the lead lap in 12th when the race restarted with 31 laps remaining.
● After two quick cautions, the race restarted with 14 laps remaining and Bowyer in 10th.
● Amid four-wide racing, Bowyer suffered damage and dropped to 11th before another caution forced a two-lap shootout.
● In the final two laps, Bowyer held on to finish 14th.

Notes:

●  This was Bowyer’s second straight top-15 at Kentucky. He finished sixth in last year’s race.
●  Since joining SHR in 2017, Bowyer has never finished outside the top-15 at Kentucky.
●  Cole Custer’s margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr., was .271 of a second.
●  There were eight caution periods for a total of 42 laps.
●  Twenty-six of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
●  Kevin Harvick remains the championship leader after Kentucky with an 88-point advantage over second-place Brad Keselowski.

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

“Our One Cure Ford Mustang was really fast today, but passing was so hard for everyone. We were sailing there at the end and figured we were top-five at least, but a caution after we pitted hurt us again. We got some damage before the finish so we were kind of hanging on. My guys gave me a great car today. They are working hard and I appreciate what they are doing. We are going to get the results soon. Congratulations to Cole (Custer), Gene (Haas) and SHR for winning the race. That was cool.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race on Wednesday, July 15 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 7 p.m. with the undercard NASCAR All-Star Open.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2020 Kentucky Race Report

Event: Kentucky 400 (Round 17 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 4th/8th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 8th (504 points, 171 out of first)

Race Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

●  Aric Almirola started fourth and finished first to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point.
●  The No. 10 Smithfield Vote For Bacon Ford driver took the lead on lap 10.
●  Almirola held the lead before the competition caution, where he pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.
●  He led the remainder of the stage to earn his second stage win of the season.
●  Almirola pitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

●  Almirola started first and finished 15th.
●  The No. 10 Ford driver held the lead until lap 138.
●  He pitted under green on lap 148 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments from third.
●  The caution was called on lap 155.
●  Almirola was caught in the middle on the one-lap shootout and fell to 15th.
●  He stayed out of the pits at the end of the stage.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

●  Almirola started 11th and finished eighth.
●  Almirola raced back inside the top-10 on lap 172
●  Almirola pitted on lap 217 under green for four tires, fuel and adjustments to correct tight-handling conditions.
●  When the caution was called on lap 230 the No. 10 driver did not pit.
●  After the lap-250 caution, Almirola gained eight positions before another caution on lap 262.
●  He restarted 12th and raced his way to eighth before the checkered flag waved.

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

“It’s hard to be mad about another top-10, but we had such a great car and led the most laps. We had a really fast car and got caught with a caution that came at the wrong time. We had to battle our way back up there most of the day. We’re bringing incredible cars. Congrats to Cole and everyone at Stewart-Haas. Six top-10s in a row. We’ll go on to Bristol and try to race our way in for a million bucks on Wednesday.”

Notes:

● Almirola earned his ninth top-10 of the season and his second top-10 in eight career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kentucky.
● This was Almirola’s sixth straight top-10. He finished fifth June 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, third June 22 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, third June 27 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, fifth June 28 at Pocono, and third last Sunday in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Almirola’s next best streak of races in his career was a run of six consecutive top-10s in 2019 that began with the second race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and lasted through the series’ seventh race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
● Since joining SHR in 2018, Almirola has not finished outside the top-15 at Kentucky.
● Almirola’s eighth-place result equaled his previous best finish at Kentucky (2018).
● Almirola led once for a race-high 128 laps – his first laps led at Kentucky.
● Cole Custer’s margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr., was .271 of a second.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 42 laps.
● Twenty-six of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Kevin Harvick remains the championship leader after Kentucky with an 88-point advantage over second-place Brad Keselowski.

Next Up: 

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race on Wednesday, July 15 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 7 p.m. with the undercard NASCAR All-Star Open.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2020 Kentucky Race Report

Event: Kentucky 400 (Round 17 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 3rd/4th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 1st (675 points, 88 ahead of Brad Keselowski)

Race Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Kevin Harvick started third and finished sixth, earning five bonus points.
● Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang, was eighth on lap 28 when he brought the car to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He said the car was lacking rear grip.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Kevin Harvick started ninth and finished 22nd.
● Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang, pitted on lap 82 for four tires, fuel and a tire and chassis adjustment. Said the front end was chattering.
● On lap 152, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure and chassis adjustment. Car is not handling well.
● Harvick pitted on lap 158 for fuel only and several chassis changes.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

Kevin Harvick started 23rd and finished fourth.
● Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang, pitted on lap 163 for four tires and fuel.
● On lap 228, the caution came out and Harvick hadn’t pitted yet running in second place. He pitted on lap 230 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
● With 30 laps to go, Harvick restarted fifth.
● On the second-to-last restart with 14 laps to go, Harvick moved from fourth to first as he got by Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr.
● On the final restart on lap 266, Harvick was in the lead but was challenged the car driven by Truex. Truex and Harvick made slight contact on the backstretch but continued the fight for the lead into turns three and four. As they came to the frontstretch and crossed the start/finish line, it was four wide with Blaney low, Harvick next up, Truex above him and Cole Custer on the topside. Blaney car hit the sewer which is at the bottom of the racing surface on the apron and caused him to lose control of his car and the right side of his car hit the left rear of Harvick’s car. Smoke poured from the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang as Harvick fell to third. Custer took the lead, with Truex second and Matt DiBenedetto got around Harvick on the backstretch. Harvick was still able to finish fourth.

Notes:

● Custer’s margin of victory over second-place Truex was .271 of a second.
● Custer earned his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory and it came in his first Cup Series start at Kentucky.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 42 laps.
● Twenty-six of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Kentucky with an 88-point advantage over second-place Keselowski.
● Harvick earned his series-leading 10th top-five and 14th top-10 of the season, and his second top-five and seventh top-10 in 10 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kentucky.
● This was Harvick’s fourth straight top-five and his fifth consecutive top-10. It began with a 10th-place drive June 22 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. He then won June 27 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, finished second June 28 in the series’ return to Pocono, and won last Sunday in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.
● Harvick has finished among the top-10 in 14 of the 17 races held this year. He has only one finish outside the top-15.
● Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has only finished outside the top-10 once at Kentucky.
● In the past eight races at Kentucky, Harvick has finished in the top-10 seven times. Until last year’s 22nd-place finish at Kentucky, Harvick had finished in the top-10 in six straight races at the 1.5-mile oval.
● Harvick finished sixth in Stage 1 to earn five bonus points.
● Harvick led once for 11 laps to increase his laps-led total at Kentucky to 139.
● Harvick has now led 10,259 laps since joining SHR in 2014. He has led 14,685 laps in his entire NASCAR Cup Series career.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We got lucky with that caution and got track position. We had a couple good restarts there and then we were in a position to win. We made it through turns one and two and then Martin (Truex) kind of misjudged on the backstretch and kind of got into us. I had to check up. Next thing I knew I was four-wide on the front straightaway and the 12 (Blaney) hit the drain and went back up the racetrack. I just have to thank everyone from Hunt Brothers Pizza, Busch Light, Jimmy John’s, Mobil 1 and Haas Automation. Everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for continuing to bring great cars. And congratulations to Cole Custer. Obviously, last week he was a big part of our win and to get to victory lane in your rookie year is a big deal. Really happy for Gene (Haas) and everyone at Haas Automation and especially for Cole. He works really hard.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race on Wednesday, July 15 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 7 p.m. with the undercard NASCAR All-Star Open.

CHASE BRISCOE – 2020 NXS Kentucky II Race Report

Event:  Alsco 300 (Round 15 of 33)
Series:  NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location:  Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile oval)
Format:  200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish:  12th/2nd(Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing:  1st (643 points, 19 ahead of second)

Race Winner:  Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner:  Noah Gragson of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner:  Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)

Overview:

Chase Briscoe was the picture of perseverance Friday night in the Alsco 300 – the second part of the NASCAR Xfinity Series doubleheader at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The 25-year-old racer from Mitchell, Indiana, started 12th in the 36-car field after the invert from Thursday night’s race where he finished fourth. Briscoe wheeled his No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang deftly, finishing seventh in the first stage and fourth in the second stage. Crew chief Richard Boswell called for several big adjustments to loosen up the handling of Briscoe’s Ford throughout the night, but it wasn’t until the final caution of the race on lap 180 that Briscoe was in a position to challenge for the lead. After pitting for one final adjustment and four fresh tires, Briscoe was third for the lap-187 restart. He made a bold move to the inside of Daniel Hemric to power to second place, whereupon Briscoe was able to run on the back bumper of race leader Austin Cindric. But soon Cindric pulled away and opened up a sizeable gap to the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang, winning the race by 2.262 seconds over Briscoe, who finished second.

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

I think Kentucky is, by far, my worst racetrack on the schedule. I can never get my car to drive how I want it to drive. I don’t know if it’s something I’m doing, but I keep trying everything and nothing seems to work. So, I just need to do more homework on this place. Overall, I didn’t feel like we were a fourth-place or second-place car either night, so to be able to do that on what I think are our worst two nights of the year is a reason to keep our head high. We’ll go on to Texas next week, which is kind of a sister track to this one, and probably my second-worst mile-and-a-half. I feel like the high-grip, mile-and-a-half tracks with one lane of racing are where I struggle. We’ll move on to next week with our Ford Performance Racing School Mustang and try to learn from tonight and last night and be a little bit better.”

Notes:               

● Briscoe earned his ninth top-five of the season and his 23rd top-five in 65 career Xfinity Series starts.
● This was Briscoe’s seventh finish of second or better this season, a tally that includes a series-leading five wins.
● Briscoe finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points and fourth in Stage 2 to earn seven more bonus points.
● Austin Cindric won the Alsco 300 to score his fourth career Xfinity Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Kentucky.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 27 laps.
● Only 12 of the 36 drivers in the Alsco 300 finished on the lead lap.
● Briscoe extended his lead in the championship standings to 19 points over second-place Noah Gragson.

Next Up:

The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the My Bariatric Solutions 300 on Saturday, July 18 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race begins at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage on NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

CHASE BRISCOE – 2020 NXS Kentucky I Race Report

Event:  Shady Rays 200 (Round 14 of 33)
Series:  NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location:  Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile oval)
Format:  136 laps, broken into three stages (30 laps/30 laps/76 laps)
Start/Finish:  7th/4th(Running, completed 136 of 136 laps)
Point Standing:  1st (597 points, 16 ahead of second)
Note:  Race extended two laps past its scheduled 134-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner:  Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner:  Noah Gragson of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner:  Noah Gragson of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Overview:

Chase Briscoe came into Thursday night’s Shady Rays 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta fresh off back-to-back victories in the series’ previous two races at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 98 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang showed that strength again at Kentucky, climbing from his seventh-place starting spot to lead twice for five laps before finishing fourth. The result was not indicative of the drive, as Briscoe positioned himself for a potential third-straight win when he lined up second to fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric for a lap-125 restart. Unable to complete the pass for the lead, Briscoe slipped back to second. But another caution that sent the race into overtime gave Briscoe one last shot at victory. When the green flag dropped on the race’s final restart on lap 134, Briscoe was in the lead and door-to-door with Cindric until the rear of Briscoe’s No. 98 machine stepped out on him. The 25-year-old racer from Mitchell, Indiana, gathered his Mustang back up, but slid back to fourth as Cindric motored away to the win. Still, the performance kept Briscoe atop the championship standings with a 16-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Noah Gragson.

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

“The second to last restart, I almost cleared Austin and then he got back around me. Then at the end of that last restart, I went down there and the same thing happened. I thought I was going be able to clear him and I just got too loose and about wrecked the thing. I don’t know if I just made the right-rear mad or what, because I was literally wrecking both ends after that. I felt like this was our worst car of the year as far as balance and speed goes, and we were still able to at least be in the hunt. We’ll go on to tomorrow and try to get our Ford Performance Racing School Mustang back out front. I feel like Kentucky and Texas are our two worst mile-and-a-half tracks, and those are the next two, so we’ll try to build on it and just try to learn a little bit and get better.”

Notes:               

● Briscoe earned his eighth top-five of the season and his 22nd top-five in 64 career Xfinity Series starts.
● Briscoe finished third in Stage 2 to earn eight bonus points.
● Cindric’s win in the Shady Rays 200 was his third career Xfinity Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Kentucky.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 40 laps.
● Only 18 of the 36 drivers in the Shady Rays 200 finished on the lead lap.

Next Up:           

The second event of the Xfinity Series doubleheader at Kentucky is the Alsco 300 on Friday, June 10. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

COLE CUSTER – 2020 Indianapolis Race Report

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

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):             

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

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

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

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-161):

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

Notes:

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

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

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

Next Up:

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

KEVIN HARVICK – 2020 Indianapolis Race Report

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

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

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

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

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

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

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-161):

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

Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Up:

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

CLINT BOWYER – 2020 Indianapolis Race Report

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

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

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

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

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

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101 -161):

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

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

Next Up:

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

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2020 Indianapolis Race Report

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

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

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

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

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

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

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-161):

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

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

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

Notes:

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

Next Up: 

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