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.