In the Know – Bristol

“In the Know”
Bristol Motor Speedway

This weekend’s race at the “World’s Fastest Half Mile,” takes us to the third race of the 10-race NASCAR playoffs. At the end of the Bass Pro Shops Night Race, four of the 16 drivers will be eliminated from championship contention. Currently, three drivers have locked themselves into the Round of 12, either by a win or points – Denny Hamlin (won at Darlington), Martin Truex Jr. (won at Richmond), and Kyle Larson (clinched on points). This leaves nine spots up for grabs

“While only a half-mile in length, Bristol is a different animal than the other short tracks we have on the NASCAR schedule,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing. “The amount of banking Bristol has creates very high speeds and high loads, which more closely aligns with some of the bigger tracks we race on. Then you have the concrete surface, which we only race on a handful of times throughout the season. Laying rubber on concrete is a special challenge and is one that we have worked hard on over the past many years to get the right balance.”

The Details

Event: Bass Pro Shops Night Race (Round 29 of 36)
Time/Date: 7:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Sept. 18
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway
Layout: .533-mile oval
Laps/Miles: 500 laps/266.5 miles
Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 125 laps / Stage 2: 125 laps / Final Stage: 250 laps
TV/Radio: NBCSN / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Subway Delivery Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

The Bristol Night Race always has an electric vibe to it, but is that vibe heightened with it being a cutoff race to make the Round of 12?
“The vibe at the Bristol Night Race is always over the top. It’s always a great event. You really never know what to expect at the Bristol Night Race. It can go completely smoothly or it can be complete chaos. Usually, it’s somewhere in between those two and you just have an exciting night. Bristol is intense every lap. There’s just a lot happening every single corner to make good lap times at Bristol. There’s always something happening in front of you, so you try and look as far ahead as you can to keep yourself out of trouble. But the best way to keep yourself out of trouble at Bristol is to be on offense and going forward, so hopefully we can do that.”

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

Is it a new mindset when you return to Bristol’s concrete surface after racing on the dirt?
“Bristol on dirt does not correlate at all to Bristol’s typical concrete self. One thing that I am interested in is the fact that they completely had to wash the racetrack and I believe, or I’ve heard, they had to spray a solution on there to get all of the clay and stuff off and pressure wash the racetrack, so it’ll be interesting to see how different the track is just without the rubber that’s laid down in the pores of the concrete and if that changes anything – then how they apply the PJ1 to the bottom groove. That’s always a moving target for us on whether they apply it in a small strip or if they widen it out and make it to where it’s a whole car width wide. It’s always changing the dynamic of how the cars run around the racetrack.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

For someone who didn’t grow up short-track racing, you found success quickly at Bristol in the Xfinity Series. How were you able to figure out such a tricky track in a short amount of time?
“Bristol is a track I’ve always enjoyed because it reminds me a lot of racing at Salem (Speedway) and Winchester (Speedway) in Indiana. Those high-banked, fast tracks are always ones I’ve enjoyed. I don’t do well on the flat tracks like Loudon or Richmond, but the higher banks seem to help me. I had high hopes for the dirt race and may have gotten a little ahead of myself, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in our Rush Truck Centers/Cummins team this weekend and I’m really looking forward to this race.”

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

You excelled at Bristol when you were in the Xfinity Series. Why do you think that was the case, or what about the track suits your driving style?
“Bristol was a good track for me in the Xfinity Series, for sure. It’s a track that has always come a little natural to me, I feel like. I like the feel of it and being able to move around in the lanes. It’s a lot about keeping momentum. The bottom is about hooking the line. Hopefully we’ll be able to make those things happen in our Cup car with the 750 (horsepower) package, managing our race from beginning to end and getting through traffic without getting caught up in someone else’s mess. It can get pretty chaotic.”

SHR Stats

Kevin Harvick is the defending winner of the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. The driver of the No. 4 Subway Delivery Ford Mustang won last year’s race in dominating fashion by leading four times for a race-high 226 laps, including the final 32 tours around the .533-mile oval. Harvick beat Kyle Busch by .310 of a second to take his 58th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third at Bristol and his 35th since joining SHR in 2014. Harvick’s first NASCAR Cup Series win at Bristol came in April 2005. In his ninth start at the high-banked, half-mile, Harvick beat Elliott Sadler by an impressive 4.652 seconds for his fifth career Cup Series victory. It would be another 23 races before Harvick scored his second Bristol win. In the 2016 Bass Pro Shops Night Race, Harvick beat Ricky Stenhouse Jr., by 1.933 seconds to take his 33rd career Cup Series victory.

Aric Almirola’s most recent visit to Bristol resulted in a fifth-place finish. In 20 starts at Bristol since 2007, Almirola has two top-fives and four top-10s. His best finish there was third in the Food City 500 on March 16, 2004. In addition to his Cup Series experience at Bristol, Almirola has seven NASCAR Xfinity Series starts with four resulting in top-10 finishes.

Saturday night’s 500-lap race on the half-mile Bristol oval will be Cole Custer’s 68th Cup Series start and his third on the high-banked, .533-mile concrete oval. The reigning Cup Series Rookie of the Year’s 23rd-place finish in last year’s Bristol night race was the best of his first two Cup Series visits to Thunder Valley. In six career NASCAR Xfinity Series appearances at Bristol from 2017 through 2019, all in SHR Fords, Custer has a best finish of third from his pole starting position in the spring 2019 race. That came on the heels of his fourth-place finish in the fall 2018 race, and his pole position in the spring 2018 race that resulted in an eighth-place finish. He led 31 laps in those six Xfinity Series starts at Bristol.

In six NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Bristol, Chase Briscoe earned four top-five finishes, including a win last September. He also had one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start resulting in a 12th-place finish. This will be Briscoe’s first start on the concrete of the famed .533-mile oval with the Cup Series. Earlier this season, the Cup Series drivers competed on the dirt-covered short-track with Briscoe bringing home a 20th-place result.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

In the Know – Richmond

“In the Know”
Richmond International Raceway

NASCAR and Richmond Raceway will pay tribute to victims and first responders on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 as part of the Salute to American Heroes presented by Toyota featuring the Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race and Go Bowling 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, Sept. 11. Many race teams will also honor and remember the victims and heroes of 9/11 with tribute or patriotic paint schemes, including our No. 10 Smithfield/Tuesday’s Children Ford Mustang.

“With the Salute to American Heroes presented by Toyota, we will honor and remember the first responders and victims of 9/11 throughout our NASCAR Playoff Weekend at Richmond Raceway,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier.

The first NASCAR sanctioned event at Richmond was held in 1953, when the track was officially known as the Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds. Richard Petty holds the crown for all Cup Series racing at the track (13 wins), but Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick dominate the modern racing era at the venue. Harvick has a total of seven Xfinity Series wins and three Cup Series wins.

“Richmond has traditionally been known for putting on some great racing, and one of the reasons for that is that it has become what we consider a high tire wear track,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing. “As tires wear at Richmond, lap times fall off. Drivers that manage their tires early in a run will have them fall off less and gain from that later in the run. Also, as the track takes rubber, drivers will be able to search around a little or move up the track, creating multiple lanes and more side-by-side racing.”

The Details

Event: Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders (Round 28 of 36)
Time/Date: 7:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Sept. 11
Location: Richmond (Va.) Raceway
Layout: .75-mile oval
Laps/Miles: 400 laps/300 miles
Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 155 laps / Final Stage: 165 laps
TV/Radio: NBCSN / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

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

You’ve had a lot of success at Richmond and you’re a fan of short-track racing in general. What is it about Richmond that makes it a good track for you?
“Through the years we’ve figured out how to get some solid finishes. We had a really good Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang there earlier this year and wound up blowing a tire and not getting a very good finish. I’m looking forward to going back just because of the fact that we ran so well there at the beginning of the year. Richmond is a little bit like Darlington just in the tire fall-off and the way the cars slow down. The line doesn’t move around very much at Richmond anymore, for whatever reason, so you have to grind away at one particular spot on the racetrack and make your car work as well as possible. It’s definitely a unique short track. It’s got enough speed to where you have to be good under braking and have a good-handling car in order to make it through the long runs that you know you’re going to get throughout the night. Hopefully, we can have a good night. Based upon the first race, we should run well.”

Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield/Tuesday’s Children Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

How much has changed since the first Richmond race this year?
“It’s hard to say because I feel like Richmond doesn’t change, but everybody always seems to find a way to get better, so you can’t rest on your laurels. If you were good at Richmond last time, you can’t automatically assume that you’re going to beat the competition. Everybody is always looking to find ways to make their cars better from the last race. And you just look at Darlington – I know the patch (of new pavement in turn two) was an added difference and something new about Darlington, but you go back and look at the spring race and look at the cars that ran well, and then you look at this race and there were some different cars running up front. I think the race teams, the organizations, everybody works hard to find more speed in our cars, more downforce, all those things, so that usually equates to stiffer competition in the playoffs, so everybody brings their A-game. I have no doubt that even though we’ve run well at Richmond and we ran well there in the spring, we’re still fine-tuning and tweaking on what we had there in the past to try and make it a race-winning car instead of a top-five car.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Cummins/Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

Do you feel more confident heading into Richmond this time around?
“I think so. I’m a different driver. I’ve learned a lot since April and I feel like as a team we’ve come a long way. We saw in the first race that overcoming a starting position in the back is a really tough thing to do at a place like Richmond and I think, after how things went at Darlington, we’re going to be in just about the same position. Hopefully, we’ve got something that we won’t have to adjust on too much and we can get ahead of that early on. I think we’ll for sure see some differences between racing at night versus the day, but I know Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) will have a good plan for how we attack that. I’m just focused on using this as a chance to learn that track more for when we go back next year and see if I can finally figure something out.”

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

You’re coming off a near-top-10 finish on a tough racetrack at Darlington last weekend and are headed to another tricky track at Richmond this weekend. Do you feel you and the team might be mounting some momentum for the home stretch of the season?
“It felt like one of our better efforts of the season in most every respect, so that’s definitely a good thing. It was one of those typical up-and-down days, but Mike (Shiplett, crew chief) made a great strategy call that moved us up near the top-10 late in the race. Hoping what we learned at Richmond in the spring race will benefit us this weekend, although the conditions will be pretty drastically different, being that the race is under the lights. We did pretty well in the night race there last fall, and it seemed all of our SHR cars were pretty solid with this 750 (horsepower) package last weekend at Darlington, so I hope all of that bodes well for us and our HaasTooling.com/Demo Day Ford team.”

SHR Stats

In 18 starts, Aric Almirola has earned seven top-10 finishes, two top-fives, and has led one lap on the .75-mile Richmond oval. In his most recent start there, Almirola finished sixth, which was his third-best finish of the year behind Nashville Superspeedway, where he finished fourth, and his win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. His sixth-place finish in April earned him back-to-back top-10 finishes at Richmond. Almirola and the No. 10 Ford team are bringing the same car to Richmond that piloted the team to a victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on July 18. That win locked Almirola into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

In Chase Briscoe’s first Cup Series start at the .75-mile oval at Richmond in April, he started 26th and finished 22nd. In five NASCAR Xfinity Series starts there, he has one top-five finish and two top-10s. His best result was a fifth-place finish in September 2019. Briscoe made 15 short-track starts in the Xfinity Series, scoring two wins – last September at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and July 2019 at Iowa Speedway in Newton – among his 10 top-10s.

Kevin Harvick has made 745 career NASCAR Cup Series starts, with 120 of those starts coming on short tracks. And of his 58 Cup Series wins, seven have been at short tracks, with Richmond accounting for three of those victories. Harvick scored his first Richmond win in September 2006, his second in September 2011 and his third in April 2013. Harvick joined SHR in 2014 and has since recorded 35 of his 58 career NASCAR Cup Series wins. However, none of them have been at Richmond. But Harvick has remained stout at the .75-mile oval. In his last 14 starts at Richmond as a member of SHR, Harvick has two runner-up finishes, eight top-fives and 10 top-10s. He has only one finish outside of the top-15. Harvick has led 15,694 total laps in his NASCAR Cup Series career, with 1,180 of those laps coming at Richmond. Harvick is the winningest NASCAR Xfinity Series driver at Richmond with seven victories. (Kyle Busch is next best with six wins.) Harvick finished among the top-10 in all but six of his 21 career Xfinity Series starts at Richmond.

Saturday night’s 400-lap race at Richmond oval will be Cole Custer’s 67th Cup Series start and his fourth on the .75-mile oval. The reigning Cup Series Rookie of the Year’s 14th-place finish there last September, the best of his previous three outings. He started 21st and finished 23rd at Richmond in April. In NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, Custer’s seven career starts at Richmond is more than he’s had at any other track. Best among those starts was the April 2019 race, when he qualified fourth in the No. 00 SHR Ford, led a race-high 122 of 250 laps and took the checkered flag 2.639 seconds ahead of runner-up and fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric. He followed that up with a third-place finish in that year’s September race for his fourth Xfinity Series top-six in seven Richmond starts.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Richmond Raceway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

In the Know – Darlington

“In the Know”
Darlington Raceway

The Cook Out Southern 500 is a NASCAR Crown Jewel. Darlington Raceway is a family tradition and a premier Labor Day weekend destination spot. The 2021 season marks the track’s 71st anniversary, and has hosted 120 NASCAR Cup Series races. The first was on September 4, 1950. It was the first 500-mile race in NASCAR history and the first on asphalt.

“The sport is ready for a return visit to Darlington this weekend, and there is a lot to be excited about,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing. “Darlington has so much history and is so important to our sport. It has been a staple on the Cup schedule since the 1950s, and has provided a serious challenge to drivers over the generations. The abrasive track surface puts the onus on drivers to manage their tires and team members to keep up with the track and perform fast and consistent pit stops throughout a long race.”

Our drivers will try to tame the Lady in Black, while we kick off the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. For the 15th time in his career, Harvick is a part of it. Harvick qualified for the playoffs by virtue of his ninth-place finish in the regular-season standings. This is his 12th consecutive playoff appearance. Harvick won the championship in 2014.

This is the fourth consecutive playoff appearance in Aric Almirola’s four years at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) and fifth playoff appearance of his 12-year career. Almirola locked himself into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with his victory July 18 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

The Details

Event: Cookout Southern 500 (Round 27 of 36)
Time/Date: 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 5
Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway
Layout: 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval
Laps/Miles: 367 laps/501.3 miles
Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 115 laps / Stage 2: 115 laps / Final Stage: 137 laps
TV/Radio: NBCSN / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

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

You say you’re not going to change your approach, despite not scoring a win yet this season. Is it hard to stick with what got you to the playoffs, or is this where your experience comes into play?
“You can pull something apart a whole lot faster than you can build it. As you look through the years, it’s very easy to sit back and just chime in and jump all over people. That’s really easy. Obviously, there are still times that you need to do that, but the thing I’ve learned is the fact that you’ve got a group of people around that you know can win and do the things that you need to do, but sometimes you’re just off. The problem solving in our world is difficult, and sometimes it’s a whole bunch of small things, and trying to push something – and I’ve done it a couple of times this year on the racetrack – you try to push something a little bit further than it can go and you wind up with the fenders torn off and you make bad worse. There’s no reason to make the problem worse than it needs to be. You have to be part of the process and the solution in order to solve the equation. Obviously, we all want to win and run better and do the things that we need to do, but Saturday night (at Daytona) kind of sums up the way it’s gone this year. You think you’re in a good position and don’t make it through the last corner. That’s just kind of the way that it’s gone. You ride the wave down just like you ride the wave up. You just hope that your wave down is shorter than most people’s and you can ride that wave back up when it’s right.”

Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

Looking through the playoffs what will it take to be successful and where do you think you team stacks up?
“As we eye the playoffs, it’s really just about doing everything perfect and maximizing the day that you have. All of those things add up to results and that’s what we really focus on as we dive into the playoffs – not making mistakes and not taking yourself out of contention, making sure we maximize every single race weekend and every single lap. I feel like we stack up nicely with the competition despite what the results of the year may show. The rules package in some of the first few races is the rules package that we’ve had the most success with and won with at New Hampshire. There are certainly going to be some challenges at a few of the tracks in the playoffs, and there will be some where our competition is better. I’m looking forward to the challenge and I think there are some really good tracks in the playoffs for us.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com/Founders Federal Credit Union Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

We know you’re capable of winning at Darlington, and the May race result showed that your comfort with the track has transferred to the Cup Series. Can you improve on that finish this weekend?
“I really think this will be a good racetrack for us. It’s too bad we’re not in the playoffs, but we ran really well there in the spring and nearly had a top-10. We’ve got a good baseline to work off of and hopefully we can keep chipping away at it this weekend and show the progress we’ve made.”

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

Is there a race you’re looking forward to more than any of the others over these last 10 events of the season?
“I would say Darlington is one I’m looking forward to. It’s one of those races that every driver looks forward to because of the challenge behind it and how much you can do as a driver. There are so many different lanes you can work and you’re running right up against the wall. It’s just a driver’s racetrack and I feel there’s not one guy who doesn’t feel excited when they hear Darlington is coming up.”

SHR Stats

Kevin Harvick is the defending winner of the Southern 500. In last year’s race, the driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang led three times for 32 laps, including the final 13, to beat second-place Austin Dillon by .343 of a second. It was Harvick’s eighth win of 2020. He would go on to win one more race – the Sept. 19 Bass Pro Shops/NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. His nine wins in a single season were a series-best and career-best, all in Harvick’s 20th year of NASCAR Cup Series racing.

Darlington is known as “The Track Too Tough To Tame” but Harvick has tamed the venerable 1.366-mile oval three times. The 45-year-old racer from Bakersfield, California, owns two Southern 500 victories (2014 and 2020) and one win in the track’s 400-mile race. In fact, Harvick enters Darlington with an impressive record – he hasn’t finished outside the top-10 since 2012.

In 12 starts at the 1.33-mile egg-shaped oval, Aric Almirola has earned two top-10 finishes, which came in back-to-back starts last year in May and September. In his most recent start, the Smithfield Ford team was forced to start at the rear of the field and, after proving to have speed by gaining 10 positions in only six laps, Almirola’s day was cut short when the No. 47 contacted his rear bumper and spun him into the inside wall.

Saturday’s 500-mile race will be Cole Custer’s 66th Cup Series start and his and his fifth on the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval. The reigning Cup Series Rookie of the Year’s 12th-place finish in the Southern 500 last September was the best of his three Darlington outings in 2020. In this year’s Southern 500 at Darlington in May, an accident during Stage 2 of the race ended his day prematurely.

When the Cup Series visited Darlington on May 9, Chase Briscoe started 22nd and worked his way into the top-10 over the course of the 293-lap race. With two laps to go, while battling for a 10th-place finish, he made contact with the outside wall and ultimately crossed the line 11th. In the Xfinity Series, Briscoe claimed the victory in the series’ first trip to The Lady in Black, outdueling the winningest driver in Xfinity Series history, Kyle Busch. In his three career Xfinity Series starts at Darlington, Briscoe has finished no worse than 11th. As the final 10-race stretch of the season begins for Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, so does the final push in the pursuit of the NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year title. Though Briscoe is not part of the playoff field, he does have a chance to become just the third driver to earn Rookie of the Year honors in NASCAR’s top three national series. He would also be the first former ARCA Racing Series Rookie of the Year titleholder to accomplish the feat.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Darlington Raceway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

“In the Know” Daytona International Speedway

“In the Know”
Daytona International Speedway

Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona marks the end of the regular season for the Cup Series drivers. 15 drivers have already clinched a spot in the 16-driver postseason field, while 15 others still have a shot to clinch that final coveted Playoff spot, if one of them can produce a win this weekend. All eyes will be on the 2.5 mile paved oval Saturday, as Daytona is known for its unpredictable finishes.

The Details

● Event: Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Round 26 of 36)
● Time/Date: 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Aug. 28
● Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway
● Layout: 2.5-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 160 laps/400 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 50 laps / Stage 2: 50 laps / Final Stage: 60 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang

Describe the intensity of racing at Daytona.
“You have to be aggressive just for the fact that if you’re not aggressive, it always seems like you’re not going to be where you need to be. Nine times out of 10, the aggressor is going to be the guy who comes out on the good side of things just for the fact that you’re making things happen and you’re not waiting for something else to happen. When you wait for something else to happen, that’s usually when you get in trouble because it’s usually someone else’s mess. You can still get in trouble if you’re aggressive, but with this rules package and the way things are, it’s best to stay aggressive and try to stay up front.”

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

What does it take to win at Daytona?
“Survival. When you go to Daytona, that’s really it. We will have fast racecars – there is no doubt about that. Surviving the wrecks. There will be accidents. There are a lot of people in do-or-die situations to where they have to win to get in (the playoffs), so there is going to be a lot of desperation on the track and it will create a lot of intensity and drama. Just making sure you’re in the right place at the right time, which you can’t always predict, is the key – being there at the end.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

It’s the last chance to get in the playoffs. What is the strategy for the No. 14 team?
“I think it’s what my strategy has always been at Daytona and that’s to stay aggressive all day long. I don’t like to run in the back and wait it out. One conversation with Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. years ago really changed my thinking on how to race Daytona and Talladega. Every time I’ve followed his advice of just going for it from the start and staying aggressive, I’ve run well. You still have to stay out of trouble, but if you’re just hanging out in the back you don’t know what your balance is in the pack and what you need your car to do when you finally do get up there, so we’ll just try to get up front from the beginning and stay there.”

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

Does this Daytona race carry a sense of desperation, where drivers might look for opportunities that aren’t there simply because the clock is up?
“Yeah, there are going to be a lot of people on different agendas, I feel like. You’re going to have some guys who are going for all the stage points, and they’re going to race as hard as they can. You’re going to have some guys who are trying to play the safe approach and just make it to the end. So, it’s going to be a strange race to figure out who is on what agenda. The playoff cutoff line is there, so that adds a lot of tension. It’s a really crazy, unpredictable race anyway, so it might be tough for some guys to go into it with their head screwed on straight, if you will.”

SHR Stats

The Coke Zero 400 will mark Kevin Harvick’s 41st career NASCAR Cup Series start at Daytona. Harvick made his Cup Series debut at the track on July 7, 2001, starting 10th and finishing 25th, one spot ahead of his car owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart. In his 39 starts since, Harvick has won twice – the 2010 Coke Zero 400 and the 2017 Daytona 500 – and scored 11 top-fives and 16 top-10s while leading 279 laps. In his most recent drive on the 2.5-mile oval in this year’s Daytona 500, Harvick finished fourth. Outside of the NASCAR Cup Series, Harvick has made 19 career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Daytona and three IROC starts. Of Harvick’s 47 Xfinity Series wins, only one is at Daytona – the 2007 season opener. And Harvick’s best IROC finish at Daytona is seventh, earned twice (2003 and 2004). Harvick is a two-time Xfinity Series champion (2001 and 2006) and the 2002 IROC champion.

Aric Almirola scored his first career Cup Series win in the rain-shortened July 2014 race at Daytona, when he led 14 laps. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, he started on the pole in his first outing in July 2007, and he captured a win there while piloting the No. 98 Biagi-Den Beste Ford Mustang in July 2016. Almirola also has three Daytona starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with a best finish of 12th. This marks Almirola’s 20th points-paying Cup Series start at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

Chase Briscoe made his Cup Series debut in this year’s Daytona 500 and finished 19th after sustaining damage early in the race when the car in front of him had a tire go down and made contact with the No. 14. Outside of the Cup Series, Briscoe has made six starts at Daytona – four in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and one apiece in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the ARCA Menards Series. His best finish is third, earned twice – August 2020 in the Xfinity Series and February 2017 in the Truck Series.

Saturday’s 400-mile race will be Cole Custer’s 65th Cup Series start and his fourth on the Daytona oval. At this year’s season-opening Daytona 500, Custer led a lap and ran a majority of the final stage in the top-10 before finishing 11th. A year ago this weekend, he started 16th and was working his way toward the top-10 in the final laps before being collected in a multicar accident three laps short of the finish. In his Daytona 500 debut in February 2020, Custer started 12th but was forced to retire on lap 174 due to a rear-end mechanical issue.

In NASCAR Xfinity Series competition at Daytona, Custer made six starts from 2017 through 2019, all in SHR Fords. He had a best start of third in the August 2018 race, and best finishes of 14th in the 2018 and 2019 season openers, both seasons culminating with runner-up finishes in the series championship.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Daytona International Speedway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

“In the Know” Michigan International Speedway

“In the Know”
Michigan International Speedway

MIS is one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR circuit, due to a repave in 2012. The long straightaways allow drivers to reach speeds in excess of 200 mph!
More than 8,000 campsites at MIS make it the largest registered campground in the State of Michigan. We look forward to seeing all the fans this weekend!

The Details

● Event: FireKeepers Casino 400 (Round 25 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Aug. 22
● Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn
● Layout: 2-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 200 laps / 400 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 60 laps / Stage 2: 60 laps / Final Stage: 80 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC SN/ MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

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

How satisfying were your back-to-back wins last year at Michigan?
“When you look at being able to do that two days in a row, it says a lot about the guys working on the cars and being able to turn that around. Being able to say, ‘Hey, we need to do this better or that better.’ After you just won the race literally less than 24 hours later, you go back out on the racetrack and be good with those changes to be confident enough to say the track is going to change, we need to make these changes and do that again. There’s an evolution that needs to take place, and the evolution that took place over the course of two days was definitely challenging – to be able to convince yourself that you needed to do better than you did the first day. But you had to know that everybody was going to get better the second day and the racetrack was going to be different. Those guys do a great job prepping the Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang and it makes my job easy.”

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

You’re officially locked into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. What does that mean to you after such a crazy year?
“Man, if you look back at the year we have had, being in the NASCAR playoffs is everything. I relate not getting into the playoffs like not getting picked on a team to play pickup basketball when you’re back in school. You feel left out while everyone else is playing the game to win even though you know you’re good enough. To be so far back in the standings and finally capitalize in a must-win situation is a highlight of my career. We hope we’re peaking at the right time – especially since the first round hosts the 750 (horsepower) package, which seems to be some of our best tracks this year.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

Now we go from road course to a 2-mile speedway. Is there anything that can carry over to Michigan?
“From a confidence standpoint, yes. If I do end up in front at Michigan, I know I can run with these guys. I don’t have a ton of experience racing Martin Truex Jr., or these other guys who run up front every week. I don’t know their tendencies in certain situations, what they do and how they race. Now, if we get up there, I understand a little more how they’re going to run the restarts and protect their line. The 550 (horsepower) package hasn’t been our strong suit, but it’s a big weekend for Ford and we want to perform well. So, like I’ve said before, if we can hit all those things right, we are capable of running up front and that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Feeding America®/Wow Wow Classic Waffles Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

You looked like you were headed to a solid top-10 finish on the road course at Indy last weekend, and then it seemed like another case of bad luck ruining a good effort by you and the team. Your thoughts?
“I feel like we’re executing really well during races. It’s at the end where we get caught up in other peoples’ chaos and mess, or something happens that completely turns the race upside down for us. There really isn’t one thing you can point to in terms of what we need to do differently. Look at Indy last week, where we were so strong and it really felt like we had a chance to come out with a good finish. Then you get so many cautions and red flags at the end.”

SHR Stats

Aric Almirola is officially locked into the 2021 NASCAR playoffs. This is the fourth consecutive playoff appearance in Almirola’s four years at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) and fifth playoff appearance of his 12-year career. In 17 NASCAR Cup series starts at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Almirola has two top-10 finishes and 13 laps led. He has three NASCAR Xfinity series starts there with a best finish of eighth and has one win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series in only two starts. Last year, the speedway hosted its first doubleheader weekend. Almirola finished 16th and sixth in the Saturday and Sunday races, respectively.

Kevin Harvick has won the past three races at MIS, including a sweep of the double-header last year. In taking back-to-back checkered flags on Aug. 8-9 at Michigan, Harvick became the first driver to win two NASCAR Cup Series races on consecutive days since Richard Petty in 1971 when Petty won July 14 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, New York, and July 15 at Islip (N.Y.) Speedway. The FireKeepers Casino 400 will mark Harvick’s 41st career NASCAR Cup Series start at Michigan, tying him with Kurt Busch for the most among active drivers. Since making his first start at the track on June 10, 2001, Harvick has scored five wins, 15 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes while leading 699 laps, all of which are series bests.

Sunday’s 400-mile race will be Cole Custer’s 64th Cup Series start and third at Michigan. In three Xfinity Series appearances at Michigan from 2017 through 2019, all in the No. 00 SHR Ford, Custer never finished outside the top-12 or qualified worse than seventh. His best outing was a third-place finish from the fourth starting position in 2018. He finished 10th from seventh on the grid in 2017, and finished 12th from sixth on the grid in 2019.

Chase Briscoe will make his first Cup Series start at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn during Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400. It will be his third overall NASCAR national series start at the 2-mile oval. While it has been two years since Briscoe last visited the track, he has plenty of experience to tap into as he has never finished outside of the top-10 there. In his lone NASCAR Xfinity Series start in 2019, Briscoe started 14th and finished seventh.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Michigan International Speedway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

“In the Know” Indianapolis Motor Speedway

“In the Know”
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course

After 27 consecutive years of racing the 2.5 mile oval at Indianapolis, the NASCAR Cup Series will switch gears on Sunday August 15th and race the 14-turn, 2.439 mile road course for the very first time. The weekend will also feature a new NTT INDYCAR Series race on Saturday August 14th on the road course, prepping for another history making NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend.

The Details

● Event: Verizon 200 at the Brickyard (Round 24 of 36)
● Time/Date: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 15
● Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
● Layout: 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course
● Laps/Miles: 82 laps / 200 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 15 laps / Stage 2: 20 laps / Final Stage: 47 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC / IMS Radio Network / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang

For 20 years you’ve driven through the tunnel and into Indianapolis Motor Speedway knowing that you would be racing on the oval. This year when you arrive at Indy, you’ll be racing on the road course. What will that be like?
“For me, driving through that tunnel and understanding the history and everything that comes with racing on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is something that I always look forward to. I can’t imagine driving backward on the frontstretch and driving the road course in the infield. It’s an oval thing for me. When you look at the oval and you look at the history of the racetrack and everything that comes with that – some guys may not have grown up like that, so some people will have a much different opinion – but for me the oval just holds a huge place in racing and it holds a huge place in the things that I look forward to every year. I remember the first time I pulled in there for a test in 2001 and you roll into the racetrack and you think, ‘Man, I just accomplished everything in my childhood dreams, rolling into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.’ Getting to go out on that racetrack and hearing the echoes of the cars through the grandstand is something that I’ll never forget, standing there on the front straightaway. I’m sure I’ll get over it as we start to get into practice and realize it’s just another race but, for me, it’s going to be a difficult hurdle to overcome.”

Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

What are your thoughts on racing the Indianapolis road course this weekend instead of the oval?
“If I’m being honest, I’m sad about it – to be just honest. I think racing on the oval was so cool just because I was a kid and went and watched an Indy 500 back in the late ’90s. It was a special place and to race on the oval was just special. I mean, you think about the history of that racetrack and the people that have run around that rectangular racetrack and crossed that yard of bricks and all those things, and all the races that went on before you dating back to the early 1900s, it’s just a very special place. So, to not race on the oval is weird. I’ll certainly miss it, but I have no doubt that we will put on an exciting race on the road course and it will be a lot of fun to try and figure that place out. These new road courses have been favorable with the fans, so I hope we put on a good show for them.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com/Ford Performance Racing School Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

When you revisit last year’s Xfinity Series win on the road course, what sticks out in your mind the most?
“It’s still hard to believe it happened. I thought I threw it away and then, somehow, we were three-wide. I’m still not sure how that happened, but once we got to the final corner on the final lap I knew that we had it. It was a special moment and I remember heading toward the line and the yard of bricks and just thinking, ‘Man, I wish we had fans here.’ I knew I wanted to climb the fence, I had been telling everyone all week that, if we won, I was doing it and I was kissing the bricks. It didn’t matter to me that it wasn’t the oval, I won at Indy and I may never win again, so I’m not skipping that. I had no idea at the time that it was the first race at Indy with Hoosiers finishing first and second. It was really cool to be able to be a part of that with Justin (Haley). The other piece that, of course, added to how special it was, was to get that win with Zippy. Never in a million years did I think I’d win at Indy for Stewart-Haas Racing with Greg Zipadelli as my crew chief.”

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

It’s almost everyone’s first time on the Indy road course this weekend. Is there anything from the previous road-course races this year that can carry over into your performance this weekend?
“The Glen is a little bit of its own animal, I feel like, just because it’s so fast and a little bit different than everywhere else. Indy, I think you can take some of the stuff we’ve learned this year and apply it there. Obviously, this is the year we’ve run the most road courses and we’ve been able to see a lot of different things and I think you’re able to hone in on what you will need. I expect the Indy road course will be difficult. The simulator work we’ve been doing is to try and get ready and get acquainted with the corners, and then we’ll try and adapt as quickly as we can once we get there. That’s been the name of the game – you have to adapt once you get to the racetrack. We’ll have practice and qualifying, so that’s better than just showing up and racing.”

SHR Stats

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Unibet Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, has made a total of 47 NASCAR Cup Series starts on road courses. He has 20 starts at Sonoma, 20 at Watkins Glen, three at the Charlotte Roval, two on the Daytona road course, one at COTA and one at Road America. He has scored two wins – Watkins Glen in 2006 and Sonoma in 2017 – along with 10 top-fives and 24 top-10s with 195 laps led.

Last weekend on the road course at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Aric Almirola started eighth and ran in and around the top-15 for the majority of the race, ultimately crossing the finish line 16th. Almirola has 27 road-course starts in the NASCAR Cup Series. He has two top-10 finishes with a best of eighth at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, five top-20s at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International with a best finish of 12th, three top-20s on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval with a best finish of 14th, and a top-12 finish in the non-points Busch Clash Feb. 9 on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course – his best road-course finish of the year.

Sunday’s 82-lap race will be Cole Custer’s 63rd Cup Series start. He drove to an impressive fifth-place finish in last year’s Brickyard 400 on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. It was his first of two top-fives during his Cup Series Rookie of the Year campaign, which he followed up with a dramatic victory the following weekend at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Custer will be making his eighth points-paying Cup Series race on a road course. In his seven previous points-paying Cup Series starts on road courses, Custer’s best was a ninth-place run on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval last October.

Chase Briscoe returns to Indiana already a winner at the Brickyard. Last year, when the NASCAR Xfinity Series competed on the Indianapolis road course, he fulfilled a childhood dream by winning the Brickyard 150 on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn layout. The win made Briscoe the first driver to do so on the Indianapolis road course in a stock car.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

“In the Know” Watkins Glen

“In the Know”
Watkins Glen International

Coming off a rare two-week summer break, drivers and crews are ready to get back in action this weekend at Watkins Glen International. Off weekends are rare in NASCAR, and back-to-back weekends are even more rare, but the longest season in sports got a reprieve as broadcast partner NBC covered the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Now, starting with Watkins Glen, only four races remain before the 16-driver NASCAR Playoffs begin September 5th at Darlington Raceway. There have been 13 different race winners thus far in 2021, leaving just three playoff spots open for a driver to get in on points. The next four races include two road courses, a 2-mile oval and a 2.5 mile superspeedway. If there is another new winner this season, that means one less playoff spot available via points.

The Details

● Event: Go Bowling at The Glen (Round 23 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 8
● Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International
● Layout: 7-turn, 2.45-mile road course
● Laps/Miles: 90 laps / 220.5 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 20 laps / Stage 2: 20 laps / Final Stage: 50 laps
● TV/Radio: NBCSN / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang

The preponderance of road-course racing in NASCAR is still relatively new, but road-course racing at Watkins Glen isn’t. Despite NASCAR’s recent uptick in road-course racing, does Watkins Glen feel like a comfortable pair of slippers because you’ve been there so often?
“For sure, and it will be nice to know every nook and cranny because we haven’t been there in a little bit. We didn’t go there last year, and going back this year definitely makes it a little bit different because of the fact that you’re not going to have any practice or qualifying. Plus, you took a year off from the racetrack, so it’s not as relevant as somewhere that we raced last year with the notes and the things we have. It’s definitely a racetrack I have a lot of laps at.”

Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Go Bowling Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

Are you excited to get to the road course at Watkins Glen after your win and a two-week break?
“I’m really looking forward to getting to Watkins Glen. It’s one of my most confident road courses of all the ones we go to, now. I’m looking forward to going there and being competitive with a little extra incentive coming off the win, and it’s the Go Bowling at The Glen and we’re in the Go Bowling car, so I’m even more excited to go out and give it my all.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

You had a nice two-week break, but now we’re back with just four races to go in the regular season. How are you feeling about making your first Cup Series start at Watkins Glen?
“It’s only been two weeks but it feels like forever, so I’m looking forward to getting back to racing. This year, our best results have come on the road courses and now we’ve got two back-to-back, but Watkins Glen is probably lower on the list of my favorite road courses. I’ve only raced there once, so I don’t have a ton of experience there and, like every other track, having no practice will make it that much more challenging because it is a track where the car is maybe a little more important than the driver’s road-course racing ability. I’m going to run the ARCA race on Friday to get some more time on track, learn the turns and try to figure some things out.”

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

You’ve raced at Watkins Glen in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the K&N Pro Series but didn’t get to race there during your rookie Cup Series campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What will it be like racing this weekend without practice or qualifying?
“We always want practice to try things and get used to the track. No matter what it is, practice is always a gain. But being a track we’ve all raced on a pretty decent amount, we all know what we need to bring there. Nothing’s changed a ton about what’s going on at Watkins Glen. So I feel like it’s probably not a huge disadvantage to not be there for a couple of years.”

SHR Stats

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, has made a total of 46 NASCAR Cup Series starts on road courses. He has 20 starts at Sonoma, 19 at Watkins Glen, three at the Charlotte Roval, two on the Daytona road course, one at COTA and one at Road America. He has scored two wins – Watkins Glen in 2006 and Sonoma in 2017 – along with 10 top-fives and 23 top-10s with 195 laps led. When Harvick scored his first road-course victory at Watkins Glen in 2006, he had to beat his current team owner to do it. Tony Stewart – the “Stewart” in Stewart-Haas Racing – had won the past two NASCAR Cup Series races at the seven-turn, 2.45-mile road course and was poised to capture a third straight win as he was leading Harvick with four laps to go in the 90-lap race. But Harvick, who had already led once for 24 laps, passed Stewart on lap 87 as the two drag-raced down the frontstretch and into turn one. Harvick held onto the lead despite Stewart in his rearview mirror, earning a margin of victory of .892 of a second.

Sunday’s race will be Cole Custer’s first start at Watkins Glen. The annual August event during Custer’s Rookie of the Year campaign in 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it will be his first Cup Series appearance at The Glen, Custer has raced there three times each in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series and K&N Pro Series East. In his three Watkins Glen starts in the Xfinity Series from 2017 through 2019, all in the No. 00 SHR Ford, Custer finished in the top-12 in all three, his best resulting in a sixth-place finish in 2018. He debuted with a 12th-place finish in 2017 and added a seventh-place finish in 2019. Custer’s three NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races at The Glen included finishes of fifth from the pole and third from the inside-second-row starting spot in his two most recent visits in 2015 and 2016, respectively. He led 17 laps in the 2015 event.

Chase Briscoe finished sixth in his only NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Watkins Glen. He finished in the top-10 in all but three of the 10 road-course races in which he competed in the Xfinity Series, including a victory in last year’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Aric Almirola has 26 road-course starts in the NASCAR Cup Series. He has two top-10 finishes with a best of eighth at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, four top-20s at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International with a best finish of 12th, three top-20s on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval with a best finish of 14th, and a top-12 finish in the Feb. 9 Busch Clash on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course – his best road-course finish of the year.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Watkins Glen International this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

“In the Know” New Hampshire

“In the Know”
New Hampshire Motor Speedway

The Details

● Event: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (Round 22 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 18
● Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon
● Layout: 1.058-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 301 laps / 318.46 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 75 laps / Stage 2: 110 laps / Final Stage: 116 laps
● TV/Radio: NBCSN / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang

Phoenix Raceway is your best track, statistically, but New Hampshire isn’t far off from your results at Phoenix. Four career wins and eight top-fives in the last 10 races is proof of that. Are there similarities between Phoenix and New Hampshire?
“Flat tracks have always been really good for me in my career. When you look at SHR and the things we’ve been able to accomplish at Loudon and Phoenix, they’ve kind of followed that same trend. A lot of that goes back to that open test time we had at Milwaukee and Nashville. Those are the places where we would practice and practice and practice. Our guys have done a great job of having a good short-track, flat-track program, and Loudon is a place that has followed along with Phoenix and the success that we’ve had there and to be able to capitalize on that success and continue it at another track.”

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

Are you looking forward to getting to another track that fits the No. 10 team’s strengths this season?
“I have had New Hampshire circled on the calendar for a while now. It’s somewhere that I have had a lot of success at since joining SHR. We were even in position to win there my first year with the team. This package has been our strong suit this year, as we saw at Nashville, Richmond and Phoenix, which gives us even more confidence and excitement heading there this weekend.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

It’s been almost two years since your last visit to New Hampshire. How do you feel about Sunday’s race?
“It honestly just feels like I haven’t really raced there before. I’ve only been to New Hampshire once in trucks and once in Xfinity. Neither went great and I just don’t have a lot of laps there. I’m interested to see how this weekend goes. I feel like a lot of the tracks this year that I haven’t enjoyed in the past, like Phoenix, I’ve seemed to like more in the Cup car. I think it’s probably because we have more horsepower, and you can slip and slide around a lot more and manage it. So, I’m excited to get to New Hampshire this week. I don’t really know what I need in the car since I don’t have a lot of track time there, but we’ve got 301 laps to figure it out.”

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

New Hampshire has treated you well over the years. A win in the Truck Series, a win in the K&N Series, a few top-10s in the Xfinity Series, and an eighth-place finish last year in your rookie Cup Series season. Is this a chance for the No. 41 team to build some momentum?
“I think so. Last year when we were heading into that race, I knew I’d have to take some time and figure out how the Cup car raced there. We came out with a top-10 and that’s definitely helpful as we prepare for this weekend. We have something we can go back and look at to find a good starting place for our setup and try to have a plan for what we know we’ll need to build on as the race goes on. You always hope you’ll come out of every race with good momentum, but this weekend is as good a place as any for us to really show the work that’s being put in.”

SHR Stats

Kevin Harvick is the only active driver to have four wins at New Hampshire – tying retired driver Jeff Burton for the most all-time. He follows that with 13 top-five finishes. In the 11 races at New Hampshire since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has three wins and only three finishes outside the top-five. Outside of the Cup Series, Harvick has a win in the Xfinity Series, as well as nine top-fives and 11 top-tens.

In 18 starts at New Hampshire, Aric Almirola has four top-10 finishes and two top-fives with 56 laps led. Chase Briscoe’s last race at New Hampshire was the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series event in which he started fifth and finished sixth. He also has one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at the 1.058-mile oval, which resulted in an 11th-place finish.

Sunday’s 301-lap race will be Custer’s 61st Cup Series start and his second on the flat, 1.058-mile oval. He started 14th and finished eighth there last August for his second top-10 in a row, his fourth in a five-race stretch that included a victory three weeks prior at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, and the fifth top-10 finish of his Rookie of the Year campaign.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can always shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

“In the Know” Atlanta

“In the Know”
Atlanta Motor Speedway

As we approach the second Atlanta race of the season, this will mark the first time the NASCAR Cup Series has held two races at the facility since 2010. Atlanta is known for its’ abrasive surface that forces the drivers and teams to really focus on tire management. It’s last repave was in 1997, but just this week, Atlanta Motor Speedway announced a complete refiguration to include increasing the current 24-degree banking to 28-degrees, and an overall decrease in width from 55 feet to 40 feet. The new widths will be 52 feet on the front stretch, 42 feet on the back stretch and 40 feet in the turns. Construction will be begin after the July 11 race, with the new track making its’ debut in conjunction with NASCAR’s Next Gen car in 2022.

The Details

● Event: Atlanta 400 (Round 21 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 11
● Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway
● Layout: 1.5-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 260 laps/400 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stages 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 80 laps / Final Stage: 100 laps
● TV/Radio: NBCSN / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

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

We saw improvement in the 1.5-mile program when you won the All-Star Open at Texas. Do you think that will translate to Atlanta?
“We did find some solid speed at Texas and it was great to see improvement there after the year we have had. I hope a few things transfer over to Atlanta, but it’s such a worn-out track that you’re mostly managing tire fall-off. We had a lot of bad luck at the beginning of the season at tracks like Homestead and Vegas, so we didn’t get a chance to build a lot of notes there. I think we’re back on the right track and head to Atlanta with the most confidence we’ve had all year.”

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Summer Road Trip Ford Mustang

Your track record at Atlanta is incredibly strong. Performing well at Atlanta means managing your tires and taking care of your racecar. How do you do that when you’re still trying to outrun 39 other drivers?
“Atlanta has one of the most unique track surfaces. There are things about Atlanta that you manipulate your car with, and a lot of that has to do with rhythm. There are a lot of bumps, and a lot of things that go with the bumps are the brake pedal and the gas pedal, and all of those things combine to make a good lap at Atlanta. It’s just a fun racetrack to drive and we’ve been fortunate to have success really every year that we’ve gone there since I’ve been at Stewart-Haas Racing. It’s just a good racetrack for us. I feel like we should’ve won every race that we’ve raced at Atlanta, but we haven’t one way or another, but we’ve been fortunate to win a couple.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

For the first time this season, you get to return to a track that you’ve already raced at in the Cup Series. What does that do for your confidence?
“I’m pretty excited. We weren’t exactly our best earlier this year at Atlanta. That was probably one of our worst tracks this year. But it’ll be nice to go and know the feel I need the car to have and to know what to expect when I go into turn one on lap one of the race. Having decent track position to start will also help, so I’m definitely looking forward to having another shot at it. It’s another one of my favorite tracks and I think we’ll be able to have a chance to come out with a good finish.”

Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Code 3 Associates Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

You had a pretty good track record at Atlanta when you were full-time in the Xfinity Series. What do you like about the track?
“It has definitely been a pretty good track to me in the past. I think all of the worn-out racetracks have been good for me and are so fun to race. Being able to manage tire fall-off, and slipping and sliding around, and being able to do a lot of different things with the car. I’m looking forward to going back again. We’ve continued to learn a lot about the 550 horsepower package since we’ve started, so I think we can definitely capable of going there and having a strong run. Hopefully this is the week we can put it all together and have a strong run, compete for a top-10 and have a good finish. I think we’ve put a lot of work into it. We’ll see what happens this weekend.”

SHR Stats

This will mark Almirola’s 12th NASCAR Cup Series start at the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway oval. Almirola has two top-10 finishes, four top-15s in his previous 11 Atlanta starts, and he qualified on the pole and led 36 laps in 2019. He also has three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts there with a best finish of eighth, and three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts with a best finish of third.

Kevin Harvick has finished among the top-10 in 14 of his last 17 starts at Atlanta, a run that began with a seventh-place drive in March 2008. Harvick has three NASCAR Cup Series wins at Atlanta. His first at the track was the first of his career, and it came a little over 20 years ago on March 11, 2001. He has a series leading nine top-fives, the most top-10s, and has led a series-high 1,348 laps at Atlanta.

Chase Briscoe has three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Atlanta with a best finish of ninth in 2020. The native of Mitchell, Indiana, also made a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at the track in 2017, starting fourth and finishing 25th.

Sunday’s 400-mile race will be Cole Custer’s milestone 60th Cup Series start and his third at Atlanta. In his first Cup Series start there in June 2020, Custer posted a 19th-place finish. In three Atlanta starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Custer’s best was his most recent, when he qualified his No. 00 SHR Ford on the pole and finished second by .191 of a second to Christopher Bell in the February 2019 race. Custer finished 10th in his Atlanta Xfinity Series debut in 2017.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend! If you can’t attend in person, you can shop anytime at store.stewarthaasracing.com

“In the Know” Road America

“In the Know”
Road America

The NASCAR Cup Series JOCKEY Made in America 250 presented by Kwik Trip at Road America will air on NBC (Sunday, July 4, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern – 1:30 p.m. Central). The NASCAR Xfinity Series Henry 180 will air on NBC (Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern – 1:30 p.m. Central).

Road America’s key attraction is that there is no assigned seating, and fans are free to roam about the property to find their favorite viewing location. You’ll enjoy acres of green grass, tons of trees, rolling hills, and elevated vantage points that offer fans totally unique perspectives to watch the action.

The 4-mile, 14 turn road course hasn’t run a Cup Series race since the 1950s. The NASCAR Xfinity Series has been here previously, which has provided a little experience for some of the drivers, but for many, this will be the first appearance at Road America. The track is virtually the same today as it was when it was first laid out in 1955. Sweeping around rolling hills and plunging through ravines makes it one of the most challenging circuits in the world.

The Details

● Event: Jockey Made in America 250 (Round 20 of 36)
● Time/Date: 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 4
● Location: Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
● Layout: 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course
● Race 1 Laps/Miles: (62 laps/250 miles)
● Race 1 Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 14 laps / Stage 2: 15 laps / Final Stage: 33 laps
● TV/Radio: NBC / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What Our Drivers are Saying:

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford Mustang

Are you at a disadvantage at Road America because so many of the younger drivers who have come up through the NASCAR Xfinity Series have raced at Road America and have a good bit of experience there?
“I would say so. I would say that their experience and those visuals are definitely on their side. I think as you hear people talk about racing there and the things that happen at that particular racetrack, everybody enjoys driving the racetrack and racing on that track. It was another track we decided to run the Xfinity car, be a part of the event the day before, and try to use that real-life experience to get us up to speed for Sunday.”

Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield/Pit Boss Grills Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing

Do you feel confident going to another road course for the first time?
“Our finishes don’t show it, but we have actually improved our road-course program. I feel more confident behind the wheel and I think the package we run has worked in our favor this year. We had a good day at the Daytona road course earlier in the year. I couldn’t see at COTA with all of the rain, and we were in position for a top-10 at Sonoma before we had to avoid an accident at the end of the race that forced us off the track. We just need to put a full race together, minimize mistakes, and have a good day on pit road.”

Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School/HighPoint.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

You’ve said that Road America is one of your favorite places to visit. What makes it so special?
“I have always loved visiting Road America. It’s always one of the best crowds for the Xfinity Series and I’m sure we’ll see the same for Cup. It’s just a beautiful part of the country. I think I’ve discovered some hidden areas, but the place is so big, it seems like I find something new every time. I’ve been able to do all the trails and disc golf. I’ve done a lot of things at Road America and got to see parts of the racetrack where, if you just show up as a driver on race weekend and don’t explore, you would never even know were there.”

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

You’re returning to Road America, where you’ve enjoyed three solid runs in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, but this time in a Cup Series car. Your thoughts?
“I’m really excited for Road America. It’s a really prestigious road course in our country and I think it’s a place where, if you have any bad tendencies, it’s going to show up at Road America. You have so many different corners, there are so many hard corners, it just brings out some of the best road-course racing.”

SHR Stats

While it’s his and the rest of the field’s first Cup Series appearance at Road America, Cole Custer has three NASCAR Xfinity Series races and one ARCA Menards Series outing there, all resulting in top-11 finishes. In two starts at Road America in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Chase Briscoe posted finishes of seventh in 2019 and third last year in the No. 98 SHR Ford. He also raced in the last year’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Road America, co-driving with James Pesek in a Ford Mustang GT4 prepared by PF Racing.

Aric Almirola has 25 road-course starts in the NASCAR Cup Series, although this will be his first visit to Road America. He has two top-10 finishes at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway with a best of eighth, four top-20s at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International with a best finish of 12th, three top-20s on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval with a best finish of 14th, and a top-12 finish in the Feb. 9 Busch Clash on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course – his best road-course finish of the year.

Kevin Harvick has made a total of 45 NASCAR Cup Series starts on road courses, but like Almirola, he has never made a start at Road America. He has 20 starts at Sonoma, 19 at Watkins Glen, three at the Charlotte Roval, two on the Daytona road course and one at COTA. He has scored two wins – Watkins Glen in 2006 and Sonoma in 2017 – along with 10 top-fives and 23 top-10s with 195 laps led.

Of Special Interest

Be sure to check out our merch hauler at Road America! If you can’t attend in person, you can always shop online at store.stewarthaasracing.com