SHR Post-Race Report: Instacart 500K at Phoenix

 

Date: March 14, 2021
Event: Instacart 500k (Round 5 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)

Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr., of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 18th, Finished 6th / Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 32nd, Finished 11th / Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 26th, Finished 22nd / Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 24th, Finished 31st / Running, completed 308 of 312 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (7th with 176 points, 60 out of first)
● Cole Custer (20th with 86 points, 150 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (25th with 73 points, 163 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (26th with 70 points, 166 out of first)

Race Notes:
● Harvick earned his fourth top-10 of the season and his series-leading 26th top-10 in 37 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix.
● This was Harvick’s 16th straight top-10 at Phoenix. He hasn’t finished outside the top-10 since a lone 13th-place finish in March 2013.
● Harvick finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points and sixth in Stage 2 to earn five more bonus points.
● Almirola’s 11th-place finish was his best so far this season.
● This was Almirola’s third straight top-15 at Phoenix.
● Almirola finished eighth in Stage 2 to earn three bonus points.
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 45 laps.
● Twenty-four of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

Phoenix Quotes

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang:
“We struggled on the restarts and we just could never get the track position. After seven or eight laps, it felt like our Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang was good enough to run in the top-three, but we could never get going on the restarts to be able to get that track position.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Pit Boss Grills Ford Mustang:
“Finally, a solid day. Proud of my team. We ran in the top-10 most of the day and had a really good Pit Boss Grills Ford on the longer runs. And then there at the end it turned out to be two short runs. All in all, a great day, turned all the bad races around and almost got a top-10. Thanks so much to Pit Boss Grills and representing the Pro Series on the car. That was fun to run up front, be competitive and get out of here with a solid finish. We made some hay and a little ground on the points situation, and we’re going to have a lot better starting spot and pit selection going to Atlanta. We’ll keep this momentum going next week, where we’re running another Pit Boss Grills Ford.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang:
“We didn’t unload how we wanted and it’s a shame to have something like that happen after we worked so hard to get our HaasTooling.com Mustang running to where we were in the mix and could compete for top-10. I hate it for the guys. It wasn’t the finish we deserved, that’s for sure, but we’ve got some ideas for how to get things turned around.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang:
“The results don’t show how strong our HighPoint.com Ford Mustang was today. We have a lot we need to work on, but to run up front for a while in the final stage was really encouraging. We drove from the back to the top-10 twice, but problems with the pit guns and jack on our stops really held us back from the finish we deserved. We’ve just got to stay patient and focused, and we’ll have a race where it all comes together soon enough.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, March 21 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race begins at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.