Sunday, March 31, 2019

Daniel Suarez finishes third at Texas

Daniel Suarez was racing strong for his first Cup win.
Date: March 31, 2019
Event: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (Round 7 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 334 laps, broken into three stages (85 laps/85 laps/164 laps)
Start/Finish: 4th/3rd (Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
Point Standing: 14th (180 points, 130 out of first)

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Log

ano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):
● Daniel Suárez started Stage 1 from the fourth position and ended the stage seventh to earn four bonus points.
● Suárez was in the fifth position when the first caution was displayed on lap 16. He did not visit pit road, as the No. 41 Mustang would still have to make another stop for fuel during the stage.
● Crew chief Billy Scott made the call for Suárez to make a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 60 for fuel, two right-side tires and adjustments.
● The remainder of the stage ran under green. After pit stops cycled through, Suárez was in the seventh position, where he finished the stage.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-160):
● The No. 41 driver started Stage 2 in 17th and completed it in third to accumulate eight bonus points.
● On lap 148, during the second caution of the race, Suárez pitted from fifth for fuel, four tires and adjustments.
● After restarting fourth, he worked his way up to a third-place stage finish.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-334):
● The Ruckus driver began the final stage in second and concluded it in third.
● Suárez remained in the second position until lap 218, when he gained the lead. Shortly thereafter, the Ruckus driver had to relinquish the top spot to make a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 221.
● After pit stops cycled through, he regained the lead on lap 239 and remained in the position until he was passed by Kyle Busch on lap 245 when another competitor impeded his run.
● Suárez maintained the second position until the caution came out on lap 254 and he pitted for fuel and four tires.
● He restarted ninth on lap 259 and eventually regained the lead once again on lap 316.
● On lap 320 Suarez made a scheduled green-flag pit stop for a splash of fuel and returned to the track. As pit stops cycled through, the Ford driver took over the third position.
● Suárez maintained the position to finish third at Texas.

● Suárez earned his first top-five of the season and his first top-five in five career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas.
● Suárez’s third-place result bettered his previous best finish at Texas – 14th in October 2017.
● Suárez finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points and third in Stage 2 to earn an additional eight bonus points.
● Suárez led twice for nine laps – his first laps led at Texas.
● Denny Hamlin won the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 to score his 33rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his third at Texas. His margin of victory over second-place Clint Bowyer was 2.743 seconds.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 29 laps.
● Only 15 of the 39 drivers in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Busch leaves Texas as the championship leader with an eight-point advantage over second-place Hamlin.

Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 Ruckus Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I’m happy with today. The entire weekend was strong for us, and we had the speed all weekend long in the Ruckus Ford. I feel like we had for sure a top-five car and at times probably the best car out there on the long runs. We were just trying to find the right balance back and forth, but I’m just very proud of everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford Performance, and especially the 41 guys. They worked extremely hard to bring a good piece for Texas and we did it, so I’m grateful.”

Next Up:
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Food City 500 on Sunday, April 7 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.

Kyle Busch finishes 10th at Texas

Kyle Busch had a few issues in final stage. 
Date:  March 31, 2019
Event:  O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (Round 7 of 36)
Series:  Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:  Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format:  334 laps, broken into three stages (85 laps/85 laps/164 laps)
Start/Finish:  16th/10th (Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
Point Standing:  1st (310 points, 8 ahead of second)

Race Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner:  Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):
● Kyle Busch started 16th and finished eighth.
● Busch quietly logged laps to start the 500-mile race at Texas. He was in 10th place when the first caution waved on lap 14. A miscommunication resulted in Busch coming down pit road to take fuel, but he missed the No. 18 pit stall. Rather than risk restarting from deep in the field Busch stayed out and was in 11th place when green-flag racing resumed on lap 18.
● During the next several laps Busch steadily picked up positions and was in sixth place when green-flag pit stops started on lap 59.
● As teams started making their respective stops Busch continued to climb in the running order. He took the lead on lap 63 and maintained it for three laps before coming to pit road for four tires and fuel.
● Green-flag pit stops cycled through right before the conclusion of Stage 1. Busch was able to race his way back to eighth place to finish the stage.
● Prior to the end of Stage 1, Busch reported that the car handled well in clean air but was still tight when behind other cars. He asked that the team try to help the tight-handling issue. Crew chief Adam Stevens arranged for an air pressure adjustment, two tires and fuel during the pit stop. Busch won the race off pit road but lined up sixth to start Stage 2 after a handful of cars stayed on the track.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):
● Started sixth and finished fourth.
● Knowing how much better his car ran in clean air, Busch wasted no time in making a bid for the lead. A good restart allowed him to move into third place on the opening lap of Stage 2, and he took over the lead on lap 99. He maintained the top spot until driver Chase Elliott passed him for the lead on lap 109.
● Busch reported that the car needed more front grip during the long, green-flag run.
● Green-flag stops started taking place on lap 140. Busch reassumed his position at the front of the field on lap 145. Caution waved on lap 147 for an accident involving the No. 42 car of Kyle Larson. Busch made a stop for four tires and fuel. Teammate Denny Hamlin took two tires only, which placed Busch in second place for the restart. He lost a couple of spots to finish Stage 2 in fourth place.
● The Interstate Batteries driver made a stop for fuel only during the break. A number of cars elected to stay out, which resulted in Busch lining up in eighth place to start the third and final stage.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 171-334):
● Started eighth and finished 10th.
● After a few laps at the start of Stage 3, Busch settled into a comfortable pace in fourth place, reporting that adjustments made to the car were starting to help it turn better.
● The cars that didn’t stop during the stage break started making their respective stops on lap 214. This allowed Busch to reassume the top spot on lap 221.
● The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion gave up the lead on lap 237 to make a green-flag stop for four tires and fuel. After a few laps were run and stops cycled through, Busch reclaimed the top spot on lap 246.
● Caution waved on lap 253 for an accident. Busch and the majority of the drivers behind him made a trip to pit road for service. The No. 18 Interstate Batteries team elected to make a minor chassis adjustment and add fuel only. Busch won the race off pit road but lined up fourth for the restart as three other cars elected to stay out. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 260, and by lap 264 Busch was back in the lead.
● After getting loose on lap 275 Busch was passed by his teammates Hamlin and Erik Jones. He lost one more spot before finally settling in at the fourth position.
● The loose condition became a bigger issue on lap 280 when Busch made contact with the outside wall. He had to make a trip to pit road for right-side tires and to allow the team to pull out the right-side fenders. Busch was a lap down in 23rd place once he made it back onto the track.
● Because the rest of the field would have to stop one more time for fuel to make it to the end, Busch wound up being in a decent position to still secure a solid finish. Teams started to make pit stops as the laps wound down. Busch moved into 10th place with less than 10 laps to go and maintained the position to the finish.

● Busch led six times for a race-high 66 laps.
● The 10th-place finish is Busch’s seventh top-10 of the 2019 season.
● Busch now owns three wins, 12 top-fives and 14 top-10s in 27 career starts at Texas Motor Speedway.

Team Interstate Results:
● Denny Hamlin (Finished 1st / Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
● Erik Jones (Finished 4th / Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
● Kyle Busch (Finished 10th / Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
● Martin Truex Jr. (Finished 12th / Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“The car just got loose there. We had made an adjustment to help with the loose issue, but it went the other way for some reason – so something to learn from there. We were in a good position there though to get the win today with our Interstate Batteries Toyota, but it just wasn’t meant to be. We will go on to next week and get back on it at Bristol.”

Next Up:
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Food City 500 on Sunday, April 7 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Denny Hamlin averaging a 6.5 finish in 2019 so far

Denny Hamlin is 25/1 to win at Texas.
FedEx Racing Express Facts – Texas Motor Speedway
Denny Hamlin
#11 FedEx Office Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing

Race Info:

Race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
Date/Time: Sunday, March 31/3:00 p.m. ET
Race Distance: 334 Laps/501 Miles
Track Shape: Oval
Track Length: 1.5 miles
Banking: 24 degrees
2018 Winner: Kyle Busch

Express Notes:

Press Kit
: Download the 2019 FedEx Racing press materials at, including bios for Denny Hamlin, Chris Gabehart and Joe Gibbs Racing leadership, program highlights and statistics.

Martinsville Recap: Denny Hamlin finished fifth at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sunday, pushing his way back through the field after a pit road penalty sent him to the back of the pack midway through the race. Denny started the 500-lap race in the fifth position. He kept the FedEx Ground Toyota in the top five for the entire first half of the race, reaching as high as second, despite saying the car needed more help gripping the track through the short-track turns. The #11 team started Stage 3 in 20th – last on the lead lap – after a penalty for an uncontrolled tire in the pit. But, Denny gradually worked his way through the field as he circled the .526-mile, paperclip-shaped oval for the remainder of the race. He made his way into the top five with fewer than 50 laps to go and remained there until the checkered flag flew. The strong finish allowed Denny to jump two spots to second in the championship standings.

Texas Preview: The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for a 501-mile race on Sunday, March 31. Hamlin has collected six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes from 26 starts in the Lone Star State, and will be looking for his second checkered flag in the 2019 season.

Hamlin Statistics:

Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Races: 26
Wins: 2
Poles: 0
Top-5: 6
Top-10: 12
Laps Led: 232
Avg. Start: 14.4
Avg. Finish: 13.7

Hamlin Conversation:

While your team captured a top-5 finish, what do you think made the difference in not getting the win this weekend?

“I thought we had a second- to fourth-place car depending on the scenario. But, I lost some spots on pit road, and we had a penalty for an uncontrolled tire and had to go to the back. We had to fight back toward the front, but we made a good day out of it.”

The #11 crew has suffered from some penalties in recent weeks, what will need to change to give your team the best chance of winning this weekend in Texas?
“While our team has suffered from some penalties in recent weeks that have put us in a tough position to win, I am impressed by our team’s ability to respond to adversity and still come out with a good result. Every week we learn more about ourselves and are constantly correcting as much as we can to give us the best chance to win, and this weekend in Texas will be no different.”

District 129, the East Texas Team Along for the Ride at Texas:
District 129, the FedEx East Texas team led by District Manager SuZanne Wilson, will be recognized on the B-posts of the #11 car this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway for being the top district YTD in packing performance to plan, at 114 percent.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is 80/1 to win at Texas

Ricky Stenhouse at 2017 Talladega win.
Team: No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang

Crew Chief: Brian Pattie

Twitter: @Stenhouse17Team, @StenhouseJr, and @roushfenway


Stenhouse at Texas Motor Speedway

Stenhouse has 12 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) starts at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) with an average starting position of 18.0 and average finishing position of 19.6.

Stenhouse knows how to get to victory lane at TMS. In 2012, he held off MENCS veteran Denny Hamlin to claim his first victory at TMS in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Last time at Texas

During a scheduled green flag pit-stop, the team was penalized with an uncontrolled tire forcing Stenhouse to serve a pass-thru penalty and costing him to lose a lap to the leaders. When the green checkered waved at the end of stage two, the Olive Branch, Miss. native was scored in the 20th position.

When the caution flag waved on lap 306, Stenhouse was scored in the lucky dog position allowing him to get back on the lead lap. When the caution flag waved sending the race into overtime, Stenhouse lined up in the 15th position for the final green white checkered picking up four positions in the closing laps to take the checkered flag in the 11th position.

On the Car

Fastenal will be featuring Fastenal Express on the hood of the No. 17 Ford this weekend. When customers visit, they can click on specific items that are available through their Fastenal Express program that allows them to pick up their order at the local Fastenal branch within one hour or have same or next day delivery for a small charge.

Texas Native

Kenny DeGuisto, the underneath mechanic, is from Garland, northeast of Dallas.

Stenhouse Jr. on racing at Texas:

“Texas is one of my favorite tracks. They definitely know how to put on a great show for all of the fans. After our strong performance at Las Vegas, I’m really looking forward to this weekend. Last year, we had a penalty on pit-road so if we can have a mistake free weekend then I see us leaving Texas with another solid finish.”

Aric Almirola is 30/1 to win Sunday at Texas

Aric Almirola has been top-10 in all three races using 550 HP engine.
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (March 26, 2019) – Last weekend, Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Prime Fresh Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), extended his streak of top-10 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finishes to five, eclipsing his previous best of four top-10s in a row. And, his five consecutive top-10s have come during the opening six races of 2019, giving the 35-year-old Tampa native his best start to a season to date. 

With a pole award, a top-five finish and 69 laps led in the first six races of 2019, and his only finish outside the top-10 coming at the season-opening Daytona 500, where he was caught in a multicar accident on lap 191, it’s safe to say Almirola and the No. 10 Ford team is primed for the second event of the season on a 1.5-mile oval Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. 
Almirola and his team are also hoping their recent success at tracks like the Texas oval – the bread and butter of the Cup Series schedule – have primed them for this weekend. In his last 10 starts at 1.5 mile tracks, Almirola has eight top-10 finishes and has led 106 laps with an average starting position of 9.0 and an average finish of 10.3. 

In addition to his Cup Series experience at Texas, Almirola has four NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, all top-20 finishes, and five laps led. He’s also made nine Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts at Texas with two top-10s and 14 laps led. 

As he and the team comes off this year’s West Coast swing consisting of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, ISM Raceway near Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and last weekend’s short-track race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, where Almirola qualified second and finished ninth, they are finally able to take what they learned at the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway oval during week two of the season in hopes of competing for the win at Texas.

“Texas is finally the first opportunity that we’ll have to actually implement change into our cars,” Almirola said. “Our West Coast cars were essentially built as we were getting ready for Atlanta. All of our cars for the beginning of the season were built with one mindset from the engineering and the aero department. Now we’ve had an opportunity to run those handful of races and go back and digest all of the information and look at everything. We are able to find out where we were beat and work on that area and to implement that into our Texas cars.”

While Almirola recognizes his career-best success over the opening six races this season, his passion for racing and competition tells him there is much more potential to unlock from the multiple championship-winning SHR organization.

“I’ve led more laps in the beginning of this year than I’ve led in any other year in my career,” Almirola said. “I’m off to the best start of my career, yet we feel like our cars are not where they were last year, and that’s one of the things that has me the most pumped up about this season. The aero department, the engineering department, the people down on the shop floor have all been turning some long hours to correct some things that we feel like we’ve been missing and I think some of that will already be implemented into our Texas cars this weekend.”

Texas is the second event during which the Smithfield Prime Fresh livery will adorn Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, which is based approximately five hours northeast of SHR headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its seventh season with Almirola and its first with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts. Smithfield Prime Fresh Delicatessen offers customers the freshest, highest-quality deli meats without the wait.

Almirola’s most recent run at Texas last November resulted in an eighth-place finish after starting in fourth. His teammate Kevin Harvick took the win that day after finishing second in the spring Texas race, a good indication SHR’s Ford Mustangs should all be prime contenders for Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 victory.

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

What have you seen so far from the new rules package?

“I think what we’ve seen so far is very typical of what happens in our sport. There are rule changes and, when we have those rule changes, there are a couple of teams that figure it out faster than anybody else and they clearly separate themselves from the rest. I think we have seen that from (Team) Penske and (Joe) Gibbs (Racing). It’s the same cars contending to win the races week in and week out at every track. When you look back to Atlanta, Vegas, Phoenix and then California, those cars were the most dominant cars. There were some other cars that showed some slight moments of speed and competitiveness but, for the vast majority of the race those weekends, those cars were the ones to beat. But all of the other teams have gone to work. They start looking at where their deficiencies are and start figuring it out and the really good teams catch up, and then we start to get more parity and you even saw that last year. Look back at last year and look at the beginning of the year. Through the first six months of the year, nobody would have picked a Penske car to win the championship.  All the talk was about Gibbs and the 18 and the 78 and about Stewart-Haas Racing and the 4 car, predominantly. But then you look at the latter half of the year and Brad (Keselowski) goes on to win three races in a row, historic, big races – Darlington, Indy, the first race of the playoffs – and then Joey (Logano) wins at Martinsville and wins the championship. So, tides turn, things change, really good race teams go to work and develop and figure out what they need to go fast, and so I feel like for us at Stewart-Haas Racing, we’re in that stage right now.”

What is the most difficult thing to get right or figure out at Texas Motor Speedway?

“I think the most difficult thing at Texas is that it’s repaved and they changed the banking in turns one and two, and it’s just the speed you carry through the banked corner of turns three and four, and then you have to get slowed down for the flat turns one and two. That has made it very challenging. Then, the exit of turn two is very flat, so you’re carrying some speed there and the car just doesn’t have a lot of grip because there isn’t any banking.” 

Kyle Busch is 5/2 favorite to win 2019 O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas

Kyle Busch has three Cup wins at Texas.
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (March 26, 2019) – “Bein’ Green” (also known as “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green”) was a song originally performed by Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog on both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. It was later covered by Frank Sinatra and other performers. In the Muppet version, Kermit begins by saying he feels like green “blends in with so many ordinary things” and wishing to be some other color. But by the end of the song, Kermit says that the color green isn’t so bad and decides to embrace it.

For Kyle Busch and his green-and-white-striped No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), it’s been very easy to be green of late. In fact, two weekends ago, Busch’s Interstate Batteries green looked awfully good throughout the 200-lap race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, on his way to a dominating win that also happened to be his 52nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory and his 200th overall NASCAR national series win.

As Busch and the Cup Series head to Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, just 35 miles from Interstate’s Dallas-based headquarters, his green Interstate Batteries scheme happens to be that of the defending winner of the event as he drove to his third career Texas Cup Series victory last April.

Back in 1991, then-Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs found himself in those very same Dallas headquarters, visiting with Interstate Batteries chairman Norm Miller.

Gibbs was there to make his pitch to have Miller’s company sponsor the three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach’s first foray into the Cup Series. The only problem was that Gibbs had no race shop, no employees, not even a driver to drive his cars. What he was selling to Miller that day was nothing more than a dream.

During his entire business career, Miller was never shy about taking chances. And while Interstate Batteries had sponsored a few races with a little-known team with Stanley Smith as the driver, Miller and Interstate Batteries agreed to sponsor Gibbs’ team following that meeting, and JGR was formed. Fast forward to 2019 and the JGR organization that started from humble beginnings before the commitment of Interstate Batteries is widely recognized as one of the premiere teams in all of NASCAR.

Busch, the 2015 Cup Series champion, first drove the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for JGR to victory lane at Texas in April 2013, giving the brand its first win at its home track. The win ended a streak of 19 Cup Series races in which Interstate had competed at Texas without a coveted victory. Busch followed it up with a win in the April 2016 Cup Series race at Texas, and with his third win coming in the aforementioned race last April, he’ll now aim for his fourth Texas win during Sunday’s 500-mile race.

On top of his two Cup Series wins there, Busch is no stranger to victory lane at Texas in other NASCAR series. He reeled off an incredible string of five consecutive NASCSAR Xfinity Series wins there from April 2008 to April 2010, then scored three more wins in April 2013, November 2014, and April 2016. Add his three NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series wins in November 2009, 2010, and 2014 and Busch hits town this weekend with 14 NASCAR national series wins at the 1.5-mile oval and is poised for more as he is entered in all three national series races during the weekend.

Busch will look to continue his and the No. 18 team’s impressive start to the season as he is the only driver to notch top-10 finishes in all six races contested thus far. In addition to the top-10 streak, Busch currently has two wins, five top finishes and sits atop the point standings as the series heads to Interstate Batteries’ backyard.

So as the hot start to the season has continued, Busch and the Interstate Batteries team are charging toward yet another win in the Lone Star State as Busch has proven that the colors of the official battery and founding sponsor of JGR have made it very easy to be green.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

What are your thoughts heading into Texas this weekend?

“I know they’ve been working on the track, but you are still trying to put rubber down. With a newer surface, it’s hard to understand what you’re feeling with your car because you can think you’re tight, you’ve got all the grip in the world, you’re going around the corner and then, ‘Boom,’ it just busts loose right out from under you with no warning. That’s why the older racetracks, the more aged racetracks – the Atlantas, the Californias – you’re sliding the whole time, so you’re already against the slide. You don’t have maximum grip. You’re already playing with it and trying to get the most out of yourself and the car that you possibly can. At Texas, you’re not just locked down, you’re locked in solid, then it can jump out from under you in a hurry. We ran a bit better there last year than at some of the other recently repaved tracks. We’ve had good cars this year, so hoping we can qualify well and stay up front and get our Interstate Batteries Toyota back to victory lane there.”

How special has the partnership between JGR and Interstate Batteries been for you?

“It’s crazy, if you think about it. If it weren’t for Norm (Miller, Interstate Batteries chairman), JGR wouldn’t even exist today. Personally, Norm and everyone at Interstate Batteries treats me and my family like we are a part of their family. We won the race at Daytona back in 2008 and that was the first time Interstate Batteries had been to victory lane in a long time, and we’ve been able to add more for them over the years. Winning at Texas again in 2016 and last year were special, too. Any win is special. But, I’ll never forget how excited Norm was back in 2013 when we won the Cup race there even though 2016 was cool, too. Norm had been trying for so many years and he really soaked it up the entire night in 2013. He and Joe (Gibbs) came up to the Speedway Club and told some stories about how long they had been trying to win there. So I was very proud to be able to do that for Norm. It’s also been nice to add another win there since, and then win 200 in their colors.”

Are you expecting teams to be more competitive at Texas, and not just Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske that have led the way so far this season?
“I think everybody is doing a fantastic job. I don’t know that anybody needs to get any better. The fields are pretty competitive each and every week. You never know who’s going to qualify where. You’ve got the RCR guys up front and in the race things kind of happen that way, too, so I’m OK (laughs). I would expect everybody to continue to put improvements in their car and get better. It’s just the amount, the size, of the improvements and what they gain out of what they’re able to change and how much improvement they get, and whether or not you kind of jump ahead or whether you just get back equal, and then the guys who are fast get another upgrade and then they’re back ahead a little bit. You play this see-saw moment all life long in this sport. We even see it on the engine side, as well. They’re like, ‘Oh man, we made some gains on them and then they go and stretch it back out,’ and you’re like, ‘Oh, that just kind of defeats everything that you just worked for,’ but you’ve got to keep working.”

What has Norm Miller meant to Joe Gibbs Racing over the years?
“Norm Miller (chairman of Interstate Batteries) and Joe Gibbs (team owner) are obviously both instrumental in Joe Gibbs Racing and what it’s become and where it started so, without Norm Miller and the Interstate Batteries folks back in the beginning, there would be no Joe Gibbs Racing. I think that was on the NASCAR side, as well as the NHRA side when they did some drag racing stuff back in the day, so Norm’s been a passionate guy for us to work with and be around for the last 27 years – for me, it’s been the last 11 years – and we’ve had a lot of fun together both on and off the racetrack.”

Kevin Harvick has top-fives in all three races with 550 horsepower engine package.

Kevin Harvick has won at Texas the last two falls.
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (March 26, 2019) – On the Sept. 26, 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live, one “memorable” skit starred Nicolas Cage, Kevin Nealon, Rob Schneider and Chris Farley.  

Nicolas Cage was playing “Tiny Elvis,” who was about 5 inches tall and couldn’t believe how big the lamp was in the living room or how big the salt shaker was. The skit hasn’t been played much in highlight shows in the past 27 years and has sort of been forgotten.

“Tiny Kevin Harvick” is a little more memorable. Two years ago, Mobil 1 produced a commercial featuring “Tiny Kevin,” which encouraged drivers to use Mobil 1 technology in their cars.
Well, after two years of Tiny Kevin, a tag team has now been formed.

Tiny Kevin Harvick is back and he wants to make sure drivers choose the right motor oil to protect their engines. See why Mobil 1™ synthetic motor oil outperforms conventional motor oil at

This year, Kevin will be joined by teammate Clint Bowyer in the “Paid Spokesperson” role. The new commercial began airing March 25.

And there is no better place for Tiny Kevin to become Big Kevin than this week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1/O’Reilly Auto Parts Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, has been bigger and better than any other driver in his last nine races at the 1.5-mile oval.

He has two wins, three seconds, one third- and one fourth-place finish, and he’s finished in the top-10 in all nine races. He’s won one pole and led laps in all but one of those last nine races for a total of 489 laps.

Harvick has also won five NASCAR Xfinty Series races at Texas and has led 779 laps while also winning two poles.And in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series,he has raced at Texas four times with a win in 2011. Harvick won’t race in either series this weekend but will be the lead driver analyst for FS1 during its broadcast of the Xfinity race.

The No. 4 Mobil 1/O’Reilly Auto Parts Ford Mustang would look good in victory lane this week at Texas. And maybe they can find a small cowboy hat for “Tiny Kevin.”
KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1/O'Reilly Auto Parts Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Veteran drivers have won every race this year. How valuable is experience?
“I think in the last month or so you have seen the veteran guys shine. I used to tell Danica Patrick this all the time – ‘I have 25 years on you and you will never catch up.” And that is the truth. Experience matters, more so in our sport than maybe any other sport. The knowledge of the racetrack, things you have been through, things you have done. There will be some guys – let’s use Carl Edwards as an example. He went through the Xfinity Series and caught on really fast, caught on in Cup really fast and it all just happened for him. There is so much change this year. You have to lean on that past experience. For us, I feel like that is why we have had decent finishes the first few weeks. I don’t think as a group we feel like our cars are where they need to be, but that experience has led to decent finishes so we can change the things we want to when we get home.”

You’ve had different aero packages early in the season. Talk about that.  
“I think we are seeing some of the unintended consequences of this package because it is a lot of work. It isn’t what everybody expected form the testing with the drafting and low drag and things you are prepared for. The aero balance and all the things that come with that. For us, I feel like we have had top five, top three cars the last four or five weeks. They are just not quite winning cars. I think as you look at it, I think we have just raced a superspeedway package we aren’t going to race anymore. A package at Atlanta that we might not race much. You had cars all over the country. It is really just a survival game at this point trying to keep up with the schedule. We are learning at such a rapid pace right now that the changes to the car will be extreme by the time you get to Texas.”

Monday, March 25, 2019

Odds to win 2019 O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas

Kevin Harvick is 5/1 to win Sunday at Texas.
SUNDAY, MARCH 31, 2019 - 3:15 PM ET

Kyle BUSCH 5/2
Joey LOGANO 5/1
Kevin HARVICK 5/1
Martin TRUEX JR 7/1
Ryan BLANEY 10/1
Kyle LARSON 18/1
Denny HAMLIN 25/1
Aric ALMIROLA 30/1
Kurt BUSCH 30/1
Clint BOWYER 30/1
Erik JONES 30/1
Chase ELLIOTT 30/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 60/1
Austin DILLON 60/1
Daniel SUAREZ 100/1
Alex BOWMAN 100/1
William BYRON 200/1
Chris BUESCHER 300/1
Paul MENARD 200/1
Ryan NEWMAN 300/1
Daniel HEMRIC 300/1
Ryan PREECE 500/1
Michael McDOWELL 2000/1
Ty DILLON 2000/1
Darrell WALLACE JR 2000/1
David RAGAN 5000/1
FIELD (all others) 1000/1

Clint Bowyer looking for first Texas win

Texas Success More than Just Winning on the Track

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (March 25, 2019) – No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang driver Clint Bowyer and his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team judge their success on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series each weekend based on the scoring sheet after every practice, qualifying session and the race.

But this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Bowyer and his friends at Rush Truck Centers add an additional measurement to determine the weekend’s success – technician recruits.

Rush Truck Centers has been the primary partner on the No. 14 team since Bowyer arrived in 2017 and has been with the SHR organization since 2010. The San Antonio-based company with more than 120 locations and 7,000 employees has used Bowyer and the team to appeal to NASCAR fans as one way to recruit the technicians it needs to operate the largest network of commercial truck and bus dealerships in the country, with locations in 22 states.

According to Rush Truck Centers, the trucking industry is expected to need 200,000 diesel technicians over the next 10 years to keep up with maintenance demands. To help meet the demand, Rush will host a display in the fan midway this weekend where its recruiters will discuss with fans and prospective applicants the work its technicians do on the trucks, as well advantages of joining the company. A Rush Truck Centers truck and Bowyer’s No. 14 car will also be at the display.

Bowyer will visit the display twice and talk about technician careers.

“We want to get the word out that Rush, as well as the entire trucking industry, needs technicians,” said Bowyer, who now owns the car dealership where he once worked as a paint and body specialist. “Rush Truck Centers is a leader in the trucking industry and the largest commercial dealership network in North America. They want to train these folks and give them good jobs. I’ve been around a lot of them in the last few years and it’s a hell of a career.”
It’s diesel truck weekend on the No. 14 at Texas as Cummins makes its first appearance in 2019. While Cummins is a corporation of complementary business segments that designs, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions, it is best known for its diesel truck engines.

Cummins and Rush Truck Centers help SHR get its racecars to the track each weekend. SHR’s Peterbilt Model 389 haulers are equipped with Cummins engines and RushCare Telematics and supported by the RushCare team, which monitors and reports critical fault codes, vehicle performance and driver habits. This ensures the haulers remain in peak condition while traveling thousands of miles from race to race each season.

Cummins’ lineage dates back to the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, when company founder Clessie Cummins was on the pit crew of the race-winning Marmon Wasp of driver Ray Harroun. Since its founding in 1919, the company now employs approximately 58,600 people and serves customers in about 190 countries and territories through a network of some 500 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 7,500 dealer locations. It’s also headquartered in Columbus, Indiana – SHR co-owner Tony Stewart’s hometown.

“Cummins joined us last year and I told them they put me under a lot of pressure,” Bowyer said with a laugh. “Tony cares deeply about all our partners at SHR but Cummins, being from his hometown, means if we don’t run well we’ll doubly hear about it.”

Bowyer arrives at the ultra-fast 1.5-mile Texas oval 13th in points after a seventh-place finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Sunday. He’s posted three-top five finishes and 11 top-10s in 26 career races at Texas and qualified in the top-three in three of the last four Cup Series races. He’s even won at Texas, taking home the trophy in the 2006 Gander Outdoors Truck Series race.

“There’s no time like this weekend to finally breathe through there in the Cup Series,” Bowyer said. “I want (Texas track president) Eddie (Gossage) to hand me that trophy after the race.”

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

What did you think of SHR teammate Daniel Suarez’s “Daniel’s Amigos” on pitlane two weekends ago at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, singing and dancing in support of the Monterrey, Mexico driver?
“That was one of the coolest things I have ever seen in this sport. I want one of those types of fan clubs. I saw a mariachi band in Fontana the night before and thought it was awesome. On Sunday, Daniel’s fans brought a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. I thought it was great.”

What do you think of Suarez so far?
“Oh my gosh, he is a blast. We both are excitable and get to talking where we can’t understand each other. We joke that both of our English isn’t too good. He’s really a great kid and fitting in perfectly with us.”

What have you told Suarez since joining SHR?
“I’ve just tried to emphasize to him how excited I am for his opportunity. No different than me, no different than Aric (Almirola) and no different than Kevin (Harvick) when he arrived Stewart-Haas Racing. I mean, everybody benefits from that army of people behind you at Stewart-Haas Racing. And as fast as our cars are, the speed that we have. For him in particular, Billy Scott is a crew chief who I’ve had before, so I know that the opportunity he has in front of him and I’m excited for him to be able to get that and benefit from the speed in our racecars. And get that second chance that he deserves. This sport is, it’s tough, especially as a younger driver, especially in today’s day and age.”

Is it different for younger drivers to break into the sport than it was when you arrived?
“When I came into the sport we tested, we did this, we did that. In between our race weekends, we were on the track somewhere in those racecars. These are drastically different automobiles than anything you ever drive coming through the ranks. When you get in these beasts and you get against that competition, the deck is stacked against you. And sometimes you don’t perform at your best under those circumstances. And, unfortunately, you have maybe only a year or two to prove your worth. So, for him, this second chance in this kind of equipment, it’s going to be a good opportunity for him.”

No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Team Report
Round 7 of 36 – O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 – Texas

Car No.: 14 – Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
At Track PR Contact: Drew Brown with True Speed Communication ( ​

No. 14 At-Track Crew Roster
Primary Team:

Driver: Clint Bowyer
Residence: Emporia, Kansas

Crew Chief: Mike Bugarewicz
Hometown: Lehighton, Pennsylvania

Car Chief: Jerry Cook
Hometown: Toledo, Ohio

Engine Specialist: Matt Moeller
Hometown: Monroe, New York

Engine Builder: Roush Yates Engines: Mooresville, North Carolina

Spotter: Brett Griffin
Hometown: Pageland, South Carolina
Over-The-Wall Crew:
Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder
Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

Rear Tire Changer: Coleman Dollarhide
Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina

Tire Carrier: Dwayne Moore
Hometown: Griffin, Georgia

Gas Man: James “Ace” Keener
Hometown: Fortuna, California

Jackman: Sean Cotten
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Windshield: Chris Trickett
Hometown: Grafton, West Virginia
Road Crew:

Truck Drivers: Dale Lackey and Christopher Hamilton
Hometown:Taylorsville, North Carolina and Muncie, Indiana, respectively

Engineers: Lee Deese and James Kimbrough
Hometown: Rockingham, North Carolina, and Pensacola, Florida, respectively 

Mechanics: Tony Silvestri and Robbie Fairweather
Hometown: Sylvania, Ohio and respectively

Tire Specialist: Russell Simpson
Hometown: Medford, New York

Shock Specialist: Wayne Smith
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Notes of Interest:
  • Bowyer owns career totals of 10 wins, two poles, 74 top-five finishes, 198 top-10s and 2,850 laps led in 475 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight Xfinity Series victories.
    • ​His most recent Cup Series victory came at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (June 10, 2018).
    • His most recent Cup Series pole came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 16, 2007).
  • SHR has three Cup Series victories at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, 10 top-fives and 25 top-10 finishes in 62 starts.
  • In last Sunday’s Cup Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Bowyer started 10th and overcame two speeding penalties on pit road to finish seventh.
  • Bowyer owns three top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 26 starts at Texas, and he’s led 85 laps.
  • Bowyer at Texas in November 2018: Bowyer started second but he and Denny Hamlin made contact on the first lap. Both were forced to pit lane for repairs and Bowyer dropped two laps behind the leader. The team took several chances to return to the lead lap, but ultimately fell four laps behind the leader and finished 26th.
  • Bowyer at Texas in April 2018: Bowyer started third and finished sixth in the first stage despite telling the crew he nearly spun two or three times because of a loose-handling car. The crew corrected the problem and he finished fifth in the second stage, closing in on the leaders as the laps wound down. His day nearly ended when the leaders crashed starting the final stage, and he climbed as high as fourth with 80 laps remaining. He was then pushed to the higher groove, dropping him to 11th. An untimely caution with 30 laps remaining dropped him a lap down. He made up the lap and raced in ninth when the checkered flag fell.
  • The 2019 season marks the 11th season of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based team is co-owned by Tony Stewart and Gene Haas and has recorded 51 points-paying victories and 45 poles since its inception in 2009. It also owns four non-points victories in the Cup Series and three Xfinity Series victories. Stewart won the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series title, and Kevin Harvick gave SHR its second title in 2014. Then-SHR-driver Kurt Busch won the 2017 Daytona 500. Harvick won eight times in 2018, while Bowyer won twice and Aric Almirola and Busch once each. All four SHR drivers advanced to the Round of 8 of the Cup Series playoffs.
  • Bowyer’s Top-Three Finishes at SHR (2017- Present):
    • Wins
      • Michigan International Speedway (June 10, 2018)
      • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (March 26, 2018)
    • 2nd place: 
      • Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 15,2018)
      • Dover (Del.) International Speedway (May 6, 2018)
      • Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (April 24, 2017)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 25, 2017)                         
      • Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (July 1, 2017)
    • 3rd place: 
      • Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Sept. 30, 2018)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 24, 2018)
      • Atlanta Motor Speedway (Feb. 25, 2018)
      • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (Oct. 29, 2017)
      • Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (March 26, 2017)
  • Bowyer's Stage Victories 
    • Indianapolis Motor Speedway Stage 1 (Sept. 10, 2018)
    • Pocono (Pa.) Raceway Stage 2 (July 30, 2017)
  • Bowyer Cup Series Career Victories:
    • Michigan International Speedway (June 10, 2018)
    • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (March 26, 2018)
    • Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (Oct. 13, 2012)
    • Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (Sept. 8, 2012)
    • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 24, 2012)
    • Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 23, 2011)
    • Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 31, 2010)
    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 19, 2010)
    • Richmond International Raceway (May 3, 2008)
    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 16, 2007)
  • Bowyer Cup Series Career Poles:
    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 14, 2007)
    • Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (May 11, 2007)
  • Bowyer Career Cup Series Points Finishes:
    • 2018 12th
    • 2017 18th
    • 2016 27th
    • 2015 16th
    • 2014 19th
    • 2013 7th
    • 2012 2nd
    • 2011 13th
    • 2010 10th
    • 2009 15th
    • 2008   5th
    • 2007   3rd
    • 2006 17th
  • Bowyer Cup Series Career Stops:
    • 2017- Present Stewart-Haas Racing
    • ​2016  HScott Motorsports
    • 2012-2015  Michael Waltrip Racing
    • 2006-2011 Richard Childress Racing
  • Bowyer Xfinity Series Championship:
    • 2008
  • Bowyer Xfinity Series Career Victories:
    • Dover (Del.) International Speedway (Sept. 26, 2009)
    • Daytona (Fla) International Speedway (July 3, 2009)
    • Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (March 15, 2008)
    • Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (May 4, 2007)
    • Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in Avondale (April 20, 2007)
    • Dover (Del.) International Speedway (Sept. 23, 2006)
    • Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park  (Oct. 22, 2005)
    • Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway (June 12, 2005)
  • Bowyer Camping World Truck Series Victories:
    • Kansas (Kan.) Speedway in Kansas City (June 4, 2011)
    • Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in Avondale (Nov. 12, 2010)
    • Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (Nov. 3, 2006)
  • Crew Chief Mike Bugarewicz’s Top-3 Finishes at SHR (2016-Present):
    • Wins:
      • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway  (Bowyer, March 27, 2018)
      • Michigan Intl. Speedway (Bowyer, June 10, 2018)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Speedway (Stewart, June 26, 2016)
    • 2nd place:             
      • Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 14, 2018)
      • Dover (Del) International Speedway (May 6, 2018)
      • Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (April 24, 2017)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 25, 2017)
      • Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (July 1, 2017)
    • 3rd place
      • Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval (Sept. 30, 2018)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 24, 2018)
      • Atlanta Motor Speedway (Feb. 25, 2018)
      • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (Oct. 29, 2017)
      • Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (March 26, 2017)