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.

COLE CUSTER – 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: 15th/28th (Running, completed 310 of 312 laps)
Point Standing: 16th with 2,202 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):             

● Cole Custer started 15th and finished 14th.
● On lap 13, Custer reported his Mustang was a little too free while running 13th.
● During the lap-30 competition caution, Custer pitted from 12th for service and restarted 12th in the HaasTooling.com Mustang.
● On lap 53, the rookie driver reported his Mustang was loose on landing while in the 15th spot.
● Custer pitted from 14th during the stage break for fuel, four tires and adjustments.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-190):

● Custer started 14th and finished 13th.
● On lap 100, Custer was in the 18th spot and worked his way back up to 15th by lap 125.
● On lap 130, the Ford driver relayed to the crew that his Mustang was not handling well while continuing to run 15th.
● Custer made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 137 from the 15th spot.
● Under caution on lap 161 Custer pitted from 17th for adjustments to help with his exit. He restarted 15th.
● In the closing laps of Stage 2, Custer gained two spots to end it in 13th before pitting for service.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 191-312):

● Custer started 20th, finished 28th.
● Custer made an unscheduled pit stop on lap 206 for a loose wheel and returned to the track one lap down.
● The young driver made his final stop on lap 271 for fuel, four tires and adjustments.
● On lap 290, Custer was in the 28th spot and ultimately finished in the same position.

Notes:

● When the checkered flag dropped on the Season Finale 500, Custer was officially named the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year. The 22-year-old racer from Ladera Ranch, California, sealed this accolade when he made a last-lap pass for the win July 12 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Custer was the only rookie to qualify for the NASCAR Playoffs and the first rookie to win a NASCAR Cup Series race since Chris Buescher in 2016.
● This was Custer’s 39th career NASCAR Cup Series start and his second at Phoenix.
● 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.

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

“Not the finish we wanted at Phoenix today, but I have to thank the crew and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing, HaasTooling.com and Ford Performance for standing behind me this year. They worked with me and helped me get better this season. I think we have a lot to look forward to next year and we have a lot to build on. It was definitely a rookie season with a lot of peaks and valleys. It was a really interesting season to be a rookie with no practice, no testing or qualifying, so it was a lot of just learning on the fly, but I think we all managed it very well. We had a really good rookie class of me, Tyler (Reddick), Christopher (Bell) and John Hunter (Nemechek). I think we all had really good runs throughout the year and it definitely means a lot to win the Cup Series Rookie of the Year.”

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.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 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: 10th/13th (Running, completed 311 of 312 laps)
Point Standing: 15th with 2,235 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):

● Aric Almirola started 20th and finished 29th.
● Almirola raced in and around the top-10 before the lap-32 competition caution.
● He pitted the Smithfield Ford for four tires, fuel and adjustments to correct loose-handling conditions.
● Almirola had damage on the right side of his No. 10 Ford after making contact with the wall and pitted at the end of the stage for four fresh tires, fuel and damage repair.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-190):

● Almirola started 29th and finished 15th.
● He said the No. 10 Ford was tight early in the stage.
● Almirola pitted under caution on lap 163 from sixth place for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.
● He restarted eighth and fell back due to handling issues.
● Almirola pitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and more air pressure adjustments.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 191-311):

● Almirola started 15th and finished 13th.
● Almirola pitted under green on lap 258 for four tires and fuel from 13th.
● The No. 10 Ford driver went a lap down by the leader with 11 laps to go.
● He was able to hold his 13th place position before the checkered flag waved.

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

“What a year. What a season. This Smithfield Ford team battled hard all year and we had a phenomenal year with a lot of room for improvement. We have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward in the future.”

Notes:

● Almirola led once for seven laps to increase his laps-led total at Phoenix to 33.
● Almirola enjoyed a career year in 2020 with his six top-fives and 18 top-10s and 305 laps led all being season highs.
● 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.

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.

KEVIN HARVICK – 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: 11th/7th (Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
Point Standing:  (5th with 2,410 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):

●  Kevin Harvick started fourth and finished 13th.
●  The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang pitted on lap 32 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure and chassis adjustment. Harvick, who was 11th, said the car was not handling well.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-190):

●  Kevin Harvick started 16th and finished 11th.
●  The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang pitted on lap 78 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. The car was not handling to Harvick’s liking.
●  On lap 138, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Harvick, who was 10th, said the car was handling better.
●  Harvick pitted on lap 163 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He said the car still hard to handle and he was 10th.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 191-312):

●  Kevin Harvick started sixth and finished seventh.
●  The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang pitted on lap 196 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He was 11th.
●  On lap 257, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He was eighth.

Notes:

●  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.
●  The Elliotts join the Pettys (Lee: 1954, 1958, 1959 and Richard: 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979), and the Jarretts (Ned: 1961, 1965 and Dale: 1999) as just the third father-son combo to win NASCAR Cup Series titles. Elliott’s father, Bill, won the 1988 Cup Series championship.
●  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
●  Harvick earned his series-leading 27th top-10 of the season and his league-best 25th top-10 in 36 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix.
●  Harvick ends the year with the most wins (nine), the most top-fives (20), the most top-10s (27) and the most laps led (1,531).
●  Harvick’s 7.3 average finish in 2020 is the best among active drivers. Denny Hamlin is next best with a 9.3 average finish.
●  Harvick has not finished outside the top-10 at Phoenix since March 2013. It is a 15-race streak that includes six wins, two runner-up finishes and 12 top-fives.
●  Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has only finished outside the top-five twice at Phoenix. He has never finished outside the top-10.
●  By completing lap 27, Harvick surpassed NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace for 13th on the all-time laps completed list. Harvick has now finished 205,104 laps in his NASCAR Cup Series career.
●  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.
●  The Season Finale 500 marked the final NASCAR Cup Series race for Jimmie Johnson. The seven-time champion ends his career with 686 starts across 19 seasons that in addition to his record-tying seven titles, includes 83 wins, 36 poles, 232 top-fives, 374 top-10s and 18,941 laps led. While he is retiring from NASCAR, Johnson is not retiring from motorsports. He has a 13-race IndyCar Series schedule planned for 2021.
●  Also retiring from the NASCAR Cup Series is Matt Kenseth. He won the championship in 2003, and in a career spanning 22 seasons with 697 starts, Kenseth scored 39 wins, 20 poles, 182 top-fives, 331 top-10s and led a total of 11,769 laps.

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.

CHASE BRISCOE – 2020 NXS Phoenix II Race Report

Event:  Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 (Round 33 of 33)
Series:  NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location:  Phoenix Raceway (1-mile oval)
Format:  200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/116 laps)
Start/Finish:  2nd/9th (Running, completed 206 of 206 laps)
Point Standing:  4th (4,028 points, 12 out of first)
Note:  Race extended six laps past its scheduled 200-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner:  Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner:  Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner:  Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Overview:
Chase Briscoe’s impressive nine-win NASCAR Xfinity Series campaign in 2020 ended with a ninth-place finish Saturday night in the season-ending Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at Phoenix Raceway. Briscoe was among the Championship 4 drivers competing for the series title, and the driver of the No. 98 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang started the 200-lap contest around the 1-mile, desert oval from a position of strength. He lined up second and promptly took the lead from fellow Championship 4 contender Justin Allgaier on lap seven and then held it for the next 27 circuits. Allgaier briefly reassumed the point on lap 34, only to have Briscoe take the top spot back a lap later and hold it through the end of the stage. But in the second stage, Briscoe’s No. 98 machine was too loose for him to be as aggressive as he wanted. While he stayed amongst the top-10, running up front with the leaders proved elusive. This was exemplified on lap 199 when Briscoe spun in turn four, setting up a green-white-checkered finish that extended the race six laps past its originally-schedule 200-lap distance. The spin sent Briscoe to pit road for four new tires and fuel, and after lining up in 11th as the last car on the lead lap, he rallied his way back into the top-10 to pick up his 22nd top-10 of the season. And despite not earning the coveted Xfinity Series championship trophy, Briscoe’s 2020 season remains stout, as his nine wins and 1,032 laps led are the most of any Xfinity Series driver this season. Briscoe will enjoy a short respite before advancing to the elite NASCAR Cup Series in 2021 where he will pilot the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang.

 

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 98 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was just a frustrating day. Phoenix is, by far, not my best racetrack. We started the race and just leading laps here I was like, ‘Wow, this is different.’ I was so loose at the beginning of the race, and as the night came, I was just getting freer and freer. I don’t know how many times I about wrecked into turn one and would end up hitting the wall. I’ve got to do a lot better job here. There’s something about this place that I just really struggle at, so I’ve got a lot of homework to do.
“It’s definitely frustrating to finish fourth in the championship after the year we had. But to win nine races, it’s been a phenomenal year. I’m happy that we were able to just make the final four with our HighPoint.com Ford Mustang. I’m just thankful to be driving in NASCAR, honestly.
“I’m obviously looking forward to next year, but this one hurts. Anytime you can win nine races and finish fourth in the championship – it isn’t what you wanted. But we’ll keep our heads high because I’m just proud of the whole team. To be able to work with me these last two-and-a-half years from where we started to where we are now has made a huge difference. So, I’m just thankful to be driving for Stewart-Haas Racing and to be coming back next year with them in the NASCAR Cup Series.”
Notes:
● Briscoe finished the season with nine wins, 16 top-fives and 22 top-10s. He has a total of 11 wins, 30 top-fives and 52 top-10 finishes in 83 career Xfinity Series starts.
● Briscoe won Stage 1 and finished third in Stage 2. He finished the season with a series-best 13 stage wins.
● Austin Cindric won the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 to score the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship. It was his eighth career Xfinity Series victory, his sixth of the season and his first at the Phoenix.
● Cindric’s margin of victory over second-place Noah Gragson was .162 of a second.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 47 laps.
● Only 11 of the 37 drivers in the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 finished on the lead lap.

ARIC ALMIROLA – 2020 Martinsville II Race Report

Event: Xfinity 500 (Round 35 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)
Start/Finish: 20th/7th (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 15th with 2,211 points

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

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):

● Aric Almirola started 20th and finished 29th.
● Almirola was involved in an incident with teammate Clint Bowyer on lap 74, bringing out the caution.
● He restarted fourth and was contacted in the rear and lost several positions.
● Almirola pitted on lap 115 under caution to repair damage.
● He restarted 30th and raced at the tail of the field before the stage ended.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):

● Almirola started fifth and finished 11th.
● Almirola ran in and around the top-five until a lap-187 caution.
● He pitted the Smithfield Ford for four tires, fuel and came off pit road in 12th.
● Almirola did not pit during a lap-212 caution and restarted seventh.
● He fell back to 11th on older tires and pitted at the end of the stage.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 261-500):

● Almirola started ninth and finished seventh.
● Almirola ran in and around the top-10 at the beginning of the stage.
● The No. 10 Ford driver pitted on lap 353 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to come off pit road in eighth.
● Almirola pitted on lap 403 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to restart seventh.
● The No. 10 Smithfield driver pitted under caution on lap 441 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. He came off pit road 10th.
● Almirola’s balance improved as the race wore on and he gained multiple positions before the checkered flag waved.

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

“Good run for this Smithfield Ford team at Martinsville. We had a good car on the long run today. It feels good to have a decent run with one race left on the year. Hoping to have another solid run next weekend in Phoenix.”

Notes:

● Almirola earned his 18th top-10 of the season and his fifth top-10 in 24 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville.
● Almirola’s 18 top-10s surpassed his own mark for the most top-10s in a single season. He scored 17 top-10s in 2018. His six top-fives this year are also the most he has had in a single season.
● Chase Elliott won the Xfinity 500 to score his 10th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place Ryan Blaney was 6.577 seconds.
● There were 12 caution periods for a total of 83 laps.
● Only 17 of the 39 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

Next Up: 

The NASCAR Cup Series season finale is Sunday, Nov. 8 at Phoenix Raceway. The championship race starts at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.