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 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 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.