KEVIN HARVICK – 2020 Coca-Cola 600 Race Report

Event: Coca-Cola 600
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into four stages (100 laps/100 laps/100 laps/100 laps)
Start/Finish: 22nd/6th (Running, completed 405 of 405 laps)
Point Standing: (1st with 289 points, 22 points ahead of Joey Logano)
Note: Race extended five laps past its scheduled 400-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner:      Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner:  Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 3 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):

Kevin Harvick started 22nd and finished 14th.
● The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang was lacking rear grip early in the race while in 22nd-place.
● On lap 24, Harvick brought his car to pit road for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure and chassis adjustment. Came out in 19th place.
● After a rain-delay of more than an hour, Harvick pitted on lap 54 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He was 16th.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 101-200):

Harvick started 18th and finished 11th.
● The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang pitted on lap 102 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure and chassis adjustment. Crew is taking a big swing at it.
● On lap 153, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Was in 13th place.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 201-300):

Harvick started ninth and finished 19th.
● The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang came to pit road on lap 205 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Car is still lacking rear grip.
● On lap 256, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure and chassis adjustment.
● He did not pit and restarted second late in the stage. However, he fell to 19th.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 301-400):

Harvick started 17th and finished sixth.
● The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang pitted on lap 303 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure and chassis adjustment.
● On lap 350, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Will restart 12th.
● Harvick pitted on lap 400 for four tires as the race went into overtime.
● On the overtime restart, Harvick moved from 13th to sixth-place, which was the highest he’d been all day.

Notes:

●  Brad Keselowski won the Coca-Cola 600 to score his 31st career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his second on the oval at Charlotte. His margin of victory over second-place Jimmie Johnson was .293 of a second.
●  There were eight caution periods for a total of 52 laps.
●  Only 20 of the 40 drivers in the Coca-Cola 600 finished on the lead lap.
●  Harvick remains the championship leader after the Coca-Cola 600 with a 22-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.
●  Harvick earned his seventh top-10 of the season and his 18th top-10 in 37 career NASCAR Cup Series starts on the oval at Charlotte.
●  Harvick is the only NASCAR Cup Series driver to have finished in the top-10 in every race this season.
●  This was Harvick’s second straight top-10 at Charlotte’s oval. He finished 10th in the last year’s Coca-Cola 600.
●  Harvick has finished outside the top-10 at Charlotte’s oval just twice since joining SHR in 2014.

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Alsco Uniforms 500k on Wednesday, May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2020 Coca-Cola 600 Race Report

Event: Coca-Cola 600 (Round 7 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into four stages (100 laps/100 laps/100 laps/100 laps)
Start/Finish: 40th/16th (Running, completed 405 of 405 laps)
Point Standing: 11th (207 points, 82 out of first)
Note: Race extended five laps past its scheduled 400-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 3 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):

●  Aric Almirola started 40th and finished 20th.
●  Before the green flag waved, the No. 11 car dropped debris on the track, which made contact with Almirola’s splitter causing damage.
● Almirola advanced the No. 10 Smithfield Ford to 27th before the lap-20 competition caution.
● Inclement weather delayed the race for 68 minutes on lap 49. When racing resumed, the No. 10 team pitted for four tires, fuel, air pressure and chassis adjustments, and repaired splitter damage.
● Almirola advanced to 20th by lap 89 and continued to note loose-handling conditions.
● He pitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and adjustments.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 101-200):

●  Almirola started 17th and finished 16th.
●  The No. 10 Ford driver pitted on lap 153 for four tires, fuel and adjustments to correct loose-handling conditions.
●  Almirola was 16th when green-flag pit stops cycled through.
●  He successfully raced to stay on the lead lap for the remainder of the stage.
●  Almirola brought the Smithfield Ford to the pits at the conclusion of Stage 2 for four fresh tires, fuel, and air pressure and chassis adjustments.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 201-300):

●  Almirola started 13th and finished 13th.
●  The No. 10 team advanced to its highest position of 11th on lap 212.
●  Almirola pitted under green on lap 255 for four fresh tires, fuel and more adjustments. He was scored 15th after green-flag pit stops cycled through.
●  He pitted again under caution on lap 272 for four tires, fuel and adjustments. The team found a puncture in the right-rear tire.
●  Almirola raced in and around the top-15 before the end of the stage. He pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments following Stage 3.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 301-400):

● Almirola started 15th and finished 16th.
● Almirola said the No. 10 car was extremely tight after the recent adjustments and needed better turn in the corners to make passes.
● The Smithfield Ford driver passed teammate Kevin Harvick for 13th on lap 347.
● Almirola pitted during the seventh caution of the race with 50 laps to go for four tires, fuel and adjustments to correct tight-handling conditions.
● He restarted 13th with 48 laps to go and raced to 11th before the caution on lap 398.
● Almirola brought the Smithfield Ford to the pits for two fresh tires and lined up 10th for the restart.
● On the final restart, Almirola was shuffled to the middle lane and lost positions before crossing the finish line in overtime.

Notes:

●  This was Almirola’s third straight top-16 finish at Charlotte’s oval. He finished 11th in last year’s Coca-Cola 600.
●  Brad Keselowski won the Coca-Cola 600 to score his 31st career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his second on the oval at Charlotte. His margin of victory over second-place Jimmie Johnson was .293 of a second.
●  This was Ford’s 690th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory.
●  This was Ford’s 31st NASCAR Cup Series victory at Charlotte’s oval, the most among all manufacturers. The last Ford driver to win the Coca-Cola 600 was Mark Martin in 2002. Ford’s first Coca-Cola 600 victory came in 1962 via Nelson Stacy.
●  There were eight caution periods for a total of 52 laps.
●  Only 20 of the 40 drivers in the Coca-Cola 600 finished on the lead lap.
●  Harvick remains the championship leader after the Coca-Cola 600 with a 22-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

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

“From the start of the day to the end of the day it was just a tough day. I was loose on the qualifying lap and spun, but was able to keep car from having much damage. We started in the rear and, on the pace laps, debris came out of the No. 11 car and damaged some of the splitter, so we had to make some repairs there later on. We battled both ends of the balance with the car all four stages and started to ease our way to the top-10 at the end before that final caution came out – then the restart didn’t go my way. The Coke 600 is such a long race and so much can happen. I’m proud we battled back up there, but didn’t get the finish we wanted. Luckily, we’ll be back here in a few days and see if we can get the Smithfield Ford Mustang up front the second time around like we did in Darlington.”

Next Up: 

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Alsco Uniforms 500k on Wednesday, May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

CLINT BOWYER – 2020 Coca-Cola 600 Race Report

Event: Coca-Cola 600 (Round 7 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into four stages (100 laps/100 laps/100 laps/100 laps)
Note: Race extended five laps past its scheduled 400-lap distance due to an overtime finish.
Start/Finish:      20th/40th (Running, completed 96 of 405 laps)
Point Standing:  15th with 171 points, 118 out of first

Race Winner:      Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner:  Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner:  Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 3 Winner:  Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):

Clint Bowyer started 20th and finished 40th.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil Delvac 1 Ford Mustang reported a lack of rear grip to begin the race.
● Bowyer restarted the race in 14th after the competition caution at lap 25.
● Bowyer moved to 11th by lap 50 when rain stopped the race for a little more than an hour.
● The Ford driver restarted the race in 12th on lap 57.
● Bowyer’s race came to an end on lap 97 when a mechanical issue at the front of the car sent him hard into the turn one wall while racing in 11th.
● Bowyer gingerly climbed from the car before visiting the care center where he was evaluated and released.
● The No. 14 suffered too much damage to continue racing.

Notes:

● Sunday marked Bowyer’s first DNF (Did Not Finish) this season and only his second in 27 career NASCAR Cup Series starts on Charlotte’s oval
●  Brad Keselowski won the Coca-Cola 600 to score his 31st career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his second on the oval at Charlotte. His margin of victory over second-place Jimmie Johnson was .293 of a second.
●  This was Ford’s 690th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory.
●  This was Ford’s 31st NASCAR Cup Series victory at Charlotte’s oval, the most among all manufacturers. The last Ford driver to win the Coca-Cola 600 was Mark Martin in 2002. Ford’s first Coca-Cola 600 victory came in 1962 via Nelson Stacy.
●  There were eight caution periods for a total of 52 laps.
●  Only 20 of the 40 drivers in the Coca-Cola 600 finished on the lead lap.
●  Harvick remains the championship leader after the Coca-Cola 600 with a 22-point advantage over second-place Joe Logano.

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

“It knocked the wind out of me there. I mean, we’re 100 laps into a 400-lap race and to be out already, you talk about a helpless feeling. The guys worked really hard on the Rush Truck Centers/Mobil Delvac 1 Ford, but it just wasn’t meant to be. We’ll get ready for next Wednesday and we’ll be back at it. I’m going to go somewhere and take this thing (mask) off and find somewhere where I can find a cold beer. I’m out of here.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Alsco Uniforms 500k on Wednesday, May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

COLE CUSTER – 2020 Coca-Cola 600 Race Report

Event: Coca-Cola 600
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into four stages (100 laps/100 laps/100 laps/100 laps)
Start/Finish: 28th/13th (Running, completed 405 of 405 laps)
Point Standing: 22nd with 118 points, 171 out of first
Note: Race extended five laps past its scheduled 400-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner:       Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner:  Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner:  Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 3 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):             

● Cole Custer started 28th and finished 23rd.
● Custer pitted from 24th during the competition caution for adjustments to help his tight HaasTooling.com Mustang.
● At lap 50 the race was red-flagged for precipitation. When the event resumed, Custer pitted from 30th for more adjustments and restarted 24th on lap 57.
● As the laps clicked off, Custer reported his Mustang went from loose to tight, and lost all grip in the final 10 laps of the stage.
● During the Stage 1 break the 22-year-old pitted from 23rd for a bevy of adjustments, four tires and fuel.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 101-200):

● Custer started 19th and finished 21st.
● On lap 116 the California native reported his Mustang fired off a tick loose, but had tightened up.
● Custer made a scheduled green-flag pit stop from 24th on lap 156 for fuel, four tires and adjustments.
● The rookie driver went one lap down on lap 168 while in the 22nd spot.
● Custer pitted from 21st during the Stage 2 break for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his tight-handling Mustang.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 201-300):

● Custer started 18th and finished 20th.
● Custer made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 242 from 19th for fuel, four tires and adjustments.
● With the caution out on lap 275 he pitted from 20th for four tires, fuel and adjustments to help with his tight condition.
● During the Stage 3 break Custer reported his No. 41 Mustang remained tight. He was the beneficiary of the free pass from 20th.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 301-405):
● Custer started 20th and finished 13th.
● The Ford driver worked his way up to 18th with a tight car. He made a pit stop under caution on lap 350.
● After the pit stop, Custer served an uncontrolled tire penalty and was forced to start at the rear of the field in 20th.
● A green-flag run ensued until the caution was displayed with one lap to go. Custer pitted for fuel and four tires after reporting his Mustang was pretty solid during the run.
● The SHR driver restarted 19th for overtime and was able to maneuver his way to a 13th-place finish.

Notes:
● Custer made his 10th career NASCAR Cup Series start and his first on the oval at Charlotte.
● Brad Keselowski won the Coca-Cola 600 to score his 31st career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his second on the oval at Charlotte. His margin of victory over second-place Jimmie Johnson was .293 of a second.
● This was Ford’s 690th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory.
● This was Ford’s 31st NASCAR Cup Series victory at Charlotte’s oval, the most among all manufacturers. The last Ford driver to win the Coca-Cola 600 was Mark Martin in 2002. Ford’s first Coca-Cola 600 victory came in 1962 via Nelson Stacy.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 52 laps.
● Only 20 of the 40 drivers in the Coca-Cola 600 finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after the Coca-Cola 600 with a 22-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

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

“Man, definitely a persevering night for the HaasTooling.com Mustang. I could’ve done better at the start of the race. We definitely got the car better throughout the race. We fought hard all night. We fought hard to stay on the lead lap and got our lap back that one time. To finish 13th in my first 600 that I’ve run was definitely pretty cool. I got a good restart at the end. We have some things we know we can do better when we come back Wednesday. I can do some things better. I’m looking forward to it. We’re moving in the right direction with this package. We just have to keep grinding through it.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Alsco Uniforms 500k on Wednesday, May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

CHASE BRISCOE – 2020 NXS Darlington I Race Report

Event:  Darlington 200 (Round 5 of 33)
Series:  NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location:  Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.366-mile oval)
Format:  147 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/57 laps)
Start/Finish:  11th/1st (Running, completed 147 of 147 laps)
Point Standing:  1st (223 points, 19 ahead of second)

Race Winner: Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Noah Gragson of JR Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Overview:

Chase Briscoe beat one of the best drivers in NASCAR to score his fourth career Xfinity Series victory and his second this season. The driver of the No. 98 HighPoint.com/Ford Performance Racing School Mustang started 11th for the 200-lap race around the 1.366-mile oval and ran consistently among the top-10 through the race’s first 90 laps. A quick pit stop on lap 91 for four tires and field allowed Briscoe to restart in second place on lap 96. The 25-year-old driver from Mitchell, Indiana, promptly took the lead, pacing the field for the next 34 laps. A caution on lap 133 allowed Briscoe to pit one final time for fresh tires and fuel, and another lightning-fast stop put Briscoe in the lead for the lap-138 restart. This set up a battle between Briscoe and Busch, the winningest driver in Xfinity Series history with 96 career victories. But Briscoe would not be denied, crossing the finish line first in a fender-scraping, tire-rubbing duel where the margin of victory was just .086 of a second.

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

“This is the best thing that could happen, honestly. For those that don’t know, we had a miscarriage Tuesday of our daughter and, to be honest with you, I wasn’t sure what racing we would do. God is so good. Earlier when I got dressed, I prayed that whatever His will is, just let it be done today. I knew He was going to have a high because of the low, and it’s just unbelievable to win here at Darlington and to beat Kyle Busch doing it.

“I just kept making a lot of mistakes on the final lap. Emotionally, I wasn’t there. Getting into turn one, I knew that there was no way he was going to drive in deeper than me. I wasn’t going to let it happen. Kyle was gracious enough to at least leave me a little bit of a lane and it was a heck of a race. This is the number one win. Honestly, winning the Daytona 500 couldn’t even top the feeling of the ups and downs. This is what my family needed and what my wife needed.

“This has been the hardest week I’ve ever had to deal with. At the initial start, I was all over the place emotionally, and then when I had the lead with 50 to go, I was just making so many mistakes because I was literally crying inside the racecar. There’s nothing else to say other than God is just so glorious. Obviously, I’m happy to get HighPoint.com and Ford Performance Racing School in victory lane, but this is more than a race win. This is the biggest day of my life after the toughest day in my life, and to be able to beat the best there is, is so satisfying.”

Notes:              

● The win gave Briscoe the lead in the championship standings. He holds a 19-point advantage over second-place Harrison Burton.
● This was Briscoe’s 55th career Xfinity Series start, but only his second at Darlington. He finished sixth in last year’s race.
● Briscoe led three times for 45 laps.
● Briscoe finished eighth in Stage 1 to earn three bonus points and fourth in Stage 2 to earn an additional seven bonus points.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 28 laps.
● Twenty-four of the 39 drivers in the Darlington 200 finished on the lead lap.

Next Up:          

The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Alsco 300 on Monday, May 25 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

CLINT BOWYER – 2020 Darlington II Race Report

Event: Darlington 500k
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.366-mile oval)
Format: 228 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/65 laps/103 laps)
Note: Race called official 20 laps short of its scheduled 228-lap distance due to rain.
Start/Finish: 4th/22nd (Running, completed 208 of 208 laps)
Point Standing: 9th with 170 points, 88 out of first

Race Winner:       Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner:  Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner:  Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Clint Bowyer started fourth and finished first to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil Delvac 1 Ford Mustang quickly showed it was one of the fastest on the track moving to second by the lap-25 competition caution.
● Bowyer grabbed the lead on the restart logging his 3,000th lap led in the Cup Series.
● Bowyer led the next 30 laps to capture his fourth stage victory of his career.
● Before the stage, Bowyer had led 17 laps in 15 races at Darlington.
● Bowyer reported his car was a little loose, but crew made minimal changes during the stage break.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-125):

Started first, finished first to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil Delvac 1 Ford Mustang stayed at the front through two cautions.
● Bowyer pitted during the stage’s third caution and returned to the track in 10th on lap 85.
● The Kansas native wasted no time moving to third by lap 100.
● Bowyer was using his fresher tires to chase down SHR teammate Kevin Harvick for the lead on lap 109 when the seventh caution of the race came out. Fast pit work returned Bowyer to the lead for the lap 111 restart.
● The Ford driver stayed at the front to win the stage. It was the first time he’s ever won two stages in a race and the first time in 2020 a driver has won the first two stages of a race.
● During the stage break he told his crew: “this car is pretty fast.”
● Two cars stayed on the track on old tires hoping for rain forcing Bowyer to start the final stage in fourth..

Final Stage Recap (Laps 126-208):

Started fourth, finished 22nd.
● Amid frenetic racing in the opening laps, the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil Delvac 1 Ford Mustang dropped to sixth.
● Bowyer climbed to fourth but handling issues for the first time in the race slowed his progress leaving him in third with 60 to go.
● The veteran driver made a routine green-flag stop with 53 laps remaining, but a caution a few laps later dropped Bowyer off the lead lap.
● Bowyer took the wave around to return to the lead lap and restarted sixth with 43 laps remaining.
● Bowyer moved to fourth after the restart despite telling the crew, “I hit the wall pretty good.”
● Bowyer cut a right rear tire after wall contact with 34 laps to go damaging the right side of the car and bringing out a caution.
● Bowyer restarted the race in 22nd with 30 laps remaining, but another car hit the No. 14 from behind as cars attempted to avoid a wreck at the front of the field.
● Heavy rain during the caution ended the race with 20 to go.

Notes:

● Bowyer led twice for a race-high 71 laps. Prior to tonight’s race, Bowyer had led only 17 laps at Darlington, 16 of which came in the 2007 Southern 500.
● This was the first NASCAR Cup Series race to be held on a Wednesday in 36 years. The last time: July 4, 1984 when Richard Petty scored his 200th career victory at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
● Denny Hamlin won the Darlington 500k to score his 39th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his third at Darlington.
● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 54 laps.
● Only 23 of the 39 drivers in the Darlington 500k finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Darlington with a 34-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

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

“Very proud of the car the guys brought for me on a short turn around. Fast hot rod. Thing just took off behind two cars racing for lucky dog and smoked the wall and blew our night. The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil Delvac 1 Ford was fast. We keep doing that our day will come.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 24 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2020 Darlington II Race Report

Event: Darlington 500k
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.366-mile oval)
Format: 228 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/65 laps/103 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/7th (Running, completed 208 of 208 laps)
Point Standing: 7th (186 points, 72 out of first)
Note: Race called official 20 laps shorts of its scheduled 228-lap distance due to rain.

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

●  Aric Almirola started ninth and finished sixth, earning five bonus points.
●  The No. 10 Smithfield/#GoodFoodChallenge Ford driver advanced to fourth place before the lap-25 competition caution.
●  He took four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments under caution and restarted third.
●  Almirola noted loose-handling conditions and fell to sixth.
●  He pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments at the conclusion of the stage.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-125):

●  Almirola started ninth and finished 11th.
●  The first caution was called on lap 72 with Almirola in seventh.
●  He advanced to fourth on the restart.
●  Another caution was called right after Almirola said “the car was really coming to me.” He pitted for four tires and fuel to restart 12th.
●  Almirola rejoined the top-five on lap 97.
●  The caution was called on lap 108. Almirola pitted for four tires and fuel.
●  He restarted seventh on the inside line and fell just outside the top-10 by the end of the stage.
●  Almirola pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments at the end of the stage.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 126-208):

●  Almirola started 12th and finished seventh.
●  Almirola raced the Smithfield/#GoodFoodChallenge Ford to seventh on lap 137.
●  Crew chief Mike Bugarewicz said Almirola turned the fastest lap on lap 160.
●  The caution was called on lap 179 after Almirola pitted under green for four tires and fuel. This caution put the majority of the field a lap down due to pit cycles. Almirola took the wave around to restart seventh.
●  Almirola pitted under caution on lap 193 for four tires, fuel and more adjustments to restart seventh.
●  The final caution was called with 28 laps to go. Inclement weather ended the race early with Almirola in seventh to earn his first top-10 at Darlington.

Notes:

●  Almirola earned his third top-10 of the season and his first top-10 in 10 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington.
●  Almirola’s seventh-place result bettered his previous best finish at Darlington – 11th, earned in the 2015 Southern 500.
●  This is Almirola’s fourth straight finish of 12th or better. He finished eighth March 1 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, eighth March 8 at Phoenix and 12th last Sunday at Darlington.
●  Almirola finished sixth in Stage 1 to earn five bonus points.
●  This was the first NASCAR Cup Series to be held on a Wednesday in 36 years. The last time: July 4, 1984 when Richard Petty scored his 200thcareer victory at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
●  Denny Hamlin won the Darlington 500k to score his 39th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his third at Darlington.
●  There were 11 caution periods for a total of 54 laps.
●  Only 23 of the 39 drivers in the Darlington 500k finished on the lead lap.
●  Harvick remains the championship leader after Darlington with a 34-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

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

“I thought we had a really good car tonight. We ran up in the top-five quite a bit and had a really fast car on the long runs. Everyone else’s car would slow down a lot and my car wouldn’t slow down nearly as much on the long run. We would start beating all the leaders really good on the long run. If we could have had that race go green to the end I think it would have been interesting because we were beating the leaders pretty bad. I’m just really proud of all of the guys on our Smithfield team. We came back with some setup changes from what we ran Sunday and I felt like we made some real improvements to the car and were very competitive. We cleaned up some things on pit road, so I’m really proud of those guys. We’ll just continue to build off of that. I feel like we’re in the game.”

Next Up: 

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 24 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

COLE CUSTER – 2020 Darlington II Race Report

Event: Darlington 500k
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.366-mile oval)
Format: 228 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/65 laps/83 laps)
Start/Finish: 22nd/31st (Running, completed 206 of 208 laps)
Point Standing: 24th with 88 points, 170 out of first
Note: Race called official 20 laps short of its scheduled 228-lap distance due to rain.

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):             

● Cole Custer started 22nd and finished 17th.
● Custer climbed to 18th in the opening laps reporting his HaasTooling.com Mustang was a little loose.
● During the lap-25 competition caution Custer pitted his Ford for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help his tight condition. He restarted 17th on lap 31.
● The HaasTooling.com Mustang ended the stage 17th.
● A penalty for an uncontrolled tire during the stage break pit stop sent Custer to the rear of the field for the start of Stage 2.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-125):

● Custer started 30th and finished 34th.
● The 22-year-old pitted from 28th for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his tight-handling Mustang at lap 72.
● Custer moved from 23rd to fifth when he stayed on the track during the lap 83 caution.
● The California native made contact with the outside wall on lap 107, bringing out a caution.
● He pitted twice to repair damage on the right side and change four tires.
● Custer restarted 32nd on lap 112, one lap down and completed the stage 34th, one lap down.
● The HaasTooling.com driver pitted during the Stage 2 break for more repairs to his Mustang.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 126-208):

● Custer started 34th and finished 31st.
● Custer lost a second lap during the long green flag run to open the stage.
● With the caution out on lap 179 he pitted from 33rd for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
● The rookie driver restarted 32nd on lap 186 and was 33rd at the lap 195 caution.
● The final caution was displayed for an accident on lap 201 with Custer in the 33rd spot.
● Rain ended the race on lap 208 – 20 laps short of the schedule distance.

Notes:

● Custer made his ninth career NASCAR Cup Series start and just his second at Darlington.
● This was the first NASCAR Cup Series race to be held on a Wednesday in 36 years. The last time: July 4, 1984 when Richard Petty scored his 200th career victory at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
● Denny Hamlin won the Darlington 500k to score his 39th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his third at Darlington.
● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 54 laps.
● Only 23 of the 39 drivers in the Darlington 500k finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Darlington with a two-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.

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

“We definitely had a lot better to start tonight at Darlington in the HaasTooling.com Mustang. We just had some bad luck and damage which made for a long night. We’ll move on to the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday. ”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 24 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2020 Darlington II Race Report

Event: Darlington 500k
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.336-mile oval)
Format: 228 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/65 laps/103 laps)
Start/Finish: 20th/3rd (Running, completed 208 of 208 laps)
Point Standing: (1st with 258 points, 34 points ahead of Joey Logano)
Note: Race called official 20 laps short of its scheduled 228-lap distance due to rain.

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

Kevin Harvick started 20th and finished 15th.
● During the competition caution, Harvick brought the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang to pit road for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment and raised the track bar one round.
● The changes did not work for Harvick as the car had no rear grip.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-125):

Harvick started 14th and finished fifth, earning six bonus points.
● On lap 64, Harvick brought the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang to pit road for four tire, fuel a tire pressure and track bar adjustment. The crew went back on their adjustments.
● On lap 73, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.
● Harvick got by leader Martin Truex Jr., for the lead on lap 98.
● On lap 109, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Said rear grip was good, but the front end needed some work.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 126-228):

Harvick started fifth and finished third.
● On lap 128, Harvick, pitted for four tires and fuel. Was the first car off pit road.
● While running third on lap 159, Harvick radioed that his car was “plowing tight.”
● With 56 laps to go, Harvick had fallen from third to eighth.
● On lap 175, Harvick brought the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang to pit road for four tires, fuel and two rounds up on the track bar. He was ninth when he pitted.
● Harvick pitted on lap 195 for four tires, fuel and one round up on the track bar. Was the first car off pit road.
● He restarted third, but fell to fourth and was running there when third-place Kyle Busch’s car made contact with second-place Chase Elliott. The No. 9 of Elliott made contact with the SAFER Barrier on the inside wall and then rain starting falling which ended the race with Harvick back in third place.

Notes:

●  This was the first NASCAR Cup Series race to be held on a Wednesday in 36 years. The last time: July 4, 1984 when Richard Petty scored his 200th career victory at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
●  Denny Hamlin won the Darlington 500k to score his 39th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his third at Darlington.
●  There were 11 caution periods for a total of 54 laps.
●  Only 23 of the 39 drivers in the Darlington 500k finished on the lead lap.
●  Harvick remains the championship leader after Darlington with a 34-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.
●  Harvick earned his fourth top-five and sixth top-10 of the season, and his 10th top-five and 14th top-10 in 25 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington.
●  Harvick is the only NASCAR Cup Series driver to have finished in the top-10 in all six races this season.
●  This is Harvick’s third straight top-three. He finished second March 8 at Phoenix Raceway and won last Sunday at Darlington in The Real Heroes 400.
●  This is Harvick’s fourth straight top-five and ninth straight top-10 at Darlington.
●  Harvick has never finished outside the top-10 at Darlington since joining SHR in 2014, a streak that began with a win in the 2014 Southern 500.
●  Harvick finished fifth in Stage 2 to earn six bonus points.
●  Harvick led once for 10 laps to increase his laps-led total at Darlington to 750.

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

“We had to start 20th and battled kind of an ill-balanced car tonight. The track conditions were just a lot different. We made some adjustments going into the race. Just couldn’t get the front of the car to turn. Every time we tried to adjust the back, it would just take the back out. We never could get the front of the car to turn. Had to use a lot more throttle tonight. The things I could do with the car Sunday, I couldn’t do tonight. They kept clawing and fighting.  In the end we had a great pit stop on the last pit stop, were in position to have a chance to win the race there, and it rained. The whole night we wound up restarting on the bottom of the racetrack. We’d lose three or four spots every time we’d restart. Definitely didn’t get the good end of the draw on the restarts. In the end our Mobil 1 guys did a great job of just battling. Sometimes you have great nights, sometimes you have nights you have to battle.  It was a good two days in Darlington for us.”

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 24 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2020 Darlington I Race Report

Event: The Real Heroes 400
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.336-mile oval)
Format: 293 laps, broken into three stages (90 laps/95 laps/108 laps)
Start/Finish: 6th/1st (Running, completed 293 of 293 laps)
Point Standing: (1st with 218 points, 28 points ahead of Alex Bowman)

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

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-90):

Kevin Harvick started sixth and finished fourth and earned seven bonus points.
● Harvick was in second-place when the competition caution came out on lap 30. Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a half-pound out of the right-rear tire.
● After early on saying he had a vibration and the alternator possibly not working, both were no longer a problem by the first pit stop.
● Told crew chief Rodney Childers, “The car is good. We’re in the ballpark.”

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 91-185):

Started first and finished fourth and earned seven bonus points.
● On lap 93, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.
● Harvick brought the No. 4 Busch Light #YOURFACEHERE Ford Mustang to pit road on lap 112 for four tires and fuel. Came in first and exited in first.
● On lap 126, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Came in first and left first again.
● Harvick pitted on lap 157 for four tires and fuel. Team attempted to add tape to the grill but it wouldn’t quite stick. Came in first and exited first again.
● On lap 174, Harvick pitted for four tire, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Had a small issue on the stop and lost seven spots. Will restart eighth.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 186-293):

Started fourth and finished first.
● On lap 187, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Said the No. 4 Busch Light #YOURFACEHERE Ford Mustang is “Loose, loose, loose.”
● On lap 216, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Came in fourth and left first.
● Harvick pitted on lap 255 for four tires and fuel. Came in first and left first.
● On the final restart on lap 260, Harvick had a really good battle with second-place Alex Bowman, but managed to get past him after a lap and went on to win by 2.154 seconds.

Notes:

● Harvick’s victory in The Real Heroes 400 was his 50th career NASCAR Cup Series win and it ties him with NASCAR Hall of Famers Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson for 12th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list.
●  This was Harvick’s 27th NASCAR Cup Series victory since joining SHR in 2014.
●  This was Harvick’s first victory of the season and his second victory in 24 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Darlington.
●  Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Alex Bowman was 2.154 seconds.
●  Harvick’s victory marked the 73rd overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s 56th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series win, its first of the season and its second at Darlington.
●  Harvick is responsible for SHR’s previous win at Darlington (2014 Southern 500).
●  This was SHR’s milestone 20th 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 milestone 30th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Darlington. NASCAR Hall of Famer Curtis Turner won Ford’s first race at Darlington in 1966.
●  This was Harvick’s second straight top-two. He finished second in the series’ last race March 8 at Phoenix Raceway.
●  This was Harvick’s third straight top-five at Darlington. He finished fourth in the series’ previous visit to the track last September.
●  Harvick has never finished outside the top-10 at Darlington since joining SHR in 2014, a streak that began with a win in the 2014 Southern 500.
●  Harvick finished fourth in Stage 1 to earn seven bonus points and fourth in Stage 2 to earn seven more bonus points.
●  Harvick led twice for a race-high 159 laps to increase his laps-led total at Darlington to 740.
●  There were 10 caution periods for a total of 57 laps.
●  Only 24 of the 40 drivers in The Real Heroes 400 finished on the lead lap.
●  Harvick remains the championship leader after Darlington with a 28-point advantage over second-place Bowman.

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

“I want to thank everybody from NASCAR and all the teams for letting us do what we do. I didn’t think it was going be that much different and then we won the race and it’s dead silent out here.  We miss the fans, just gotta thank everybody from Busch Light, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Mobil 1, Jimmy John’s, everybody from Ford who helps on this car. It’s a pretty big honor to win 50 races in this deal and I just have to thank all my team guys and everybody for what they’re doing. This Dr. Josh Hughes is one of my really good friends. I spend a lot of time with him and have seen how this whole pandemic has affected our front line workers in person on a weekly basis, so thank you, Josh. We’re thinking of you. I want to say hi to DeLana and my kids at home. I guess we’ll bring home the trophy.”

You now have 50 wins.

“It doesn’t seem real and I think as you look at Darlington I think as you look at the things that happened this weekend I really thought that it would definitely play into our hand just because our guys are so good at hitting the car off the truck for the most part.  We put a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of studying, a lot of meetings and just have to thank everybody at the shop who has built all these cars and just, man, I’m excited.  It is weird just because there’s nobody up there, and you can go to Busch Beer.com and maybe have your face on the car next week, up here on the hood.  I’m speechless.”

You race on Wednesday again. What do you have to do to go back-to-back?

“It’s gonna be a little bit different.  Hopefully, we have at least one more race before we come back with the XFINITY cars.  It’ll be night, so I think you definitely have to figure out what you want to do with your car.”

Next Up:

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to Darlington on Wednesday, May 20 for a 500-kilometer race. It starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.