Tuesday, June 30, 2020

F-1: Circa Sports odds to win 2020 Austrian Grand Prix

Odds to win 2020 Pennzoil 150 at Indianapolis

Chase Briscoe is 7/1 to win Saturday at Indianapolis.
SATURDAY, JULY 4, 2020 - 3:15 PM ET

Austin CINDRIC 7/5
Justin ALLGAIER 7/1
Chase BRISCOE 7/1
Noah GRAGSON 12/1
Ross CHASTAIN 25/1
Justin HALEY 25/1
Harrison BURTON 60/1
Brandon JONES 60/1
Jeremy CLEMENTS 50/1
Alex LABBE 80/1
Michael ANNETT 80/1
Jeb BURTON 80/1
Anthony ALFREDO 100/1
Riley HERBST 100/1
Brett MOFFITT 200/1
Ryan SIEG 200/1
Myatt SNIDER 200/1
Brandon GDOVIC 200/1
Brandon BROWN 300/1
Josh BILICKI 300/1
Josh WILLIAMS 1000/1
Timmy HILL 1000/1
Jeffrey EARNHARDT 2000/1
Joe GRAF JR 2000/1
FIELD (all others) 50/1

Kevin Harvick is 4/1 favorite to win third Brickyard 400

Rick Ravon Mears

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (June 30, 2020) – California has always been a hotbed of talent in all forms of automobile racing. And two of the most legendary competitors from the Golden State are from Bakersfield: Kevin Harvick and Rick Mears.

Both are championship-winning drivers and are winners of the biggest races in their respective NASCAR Cup Series and IndyCar Series arenas. And they have had so much success Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where they have a combined six wins and nine pole positons.

Harvick won the Brickyard 400 in 2003 and 2019 and now holds the record for most years between victories in any series at Indianapolis. He also is tied with Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon with three pole positions earned there as he won the pole in 2003, 2014 and 2019, and he earned his two victories from the No. 1 starting spot. Mears is one of only three drivers to win four Indianapolis 500s, doing so in 1979, 1984, 1988 and 1991. He holds the record for Indy 500 pole positons earned with six, having qualified No. 1 in 1979, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1991.

Harvick and Mears are both drivers known for showing up when it matters the most – at the end of the race. Mears went a lap down early in the 1988 Indianapolis 500 and came back to win. And in 1991, he almost went a lap down and, at the end, passed Michael Andretti on the outside of turn one and stormed away for his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory.

“The Closer” is Harvick’s nickname because oftentimes, after the final pit stop, he will all of a sudden find himself battling for the win, as was the case last Saturday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Thanks to great pit strategy by crew chief Rodney Childers, Harvick led the final 17 laps to score his first career Pocono victory. Of note, Mears, whose middle name is Ravon, unbeknownst to many, won three IndyCar races at Pocono in 1982, 1985 and 1987.

Harvick will be going for his third Brickyard 400 win this weekend as he will drive the No. 4 Busch Light Patriotic Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). In addition to his two wins and three poles, Harvick also has seven top-five finishes, 13 top-10s and has led a total of 321 laps in his 19 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Indianapolis. His average start is 12.1, his average finish is 8.9 and he has a lap-completion rate of 99.6 percent – 3,050 of the 3,062 laps available.

The combination of Harvick competing at Indianapolis in SHR equipment is impressive, as well. In his last six NASCAR Cup Series starts at Indianapolis, all of which have come with SHR, he has finished inside the top-10 in each, with the 2019 win, three top-fives and two Busch Poles.

Harvick and Mears have combined for 81 career wins in NASCAR Cup Series and IndyCar Series competition with 18,041 laps led. But it’s the Indianapolis victories, the town of Bakersfield and five decades of success that form the mutual respect. And friendship.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Patriotic Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

You grew up in Bakersfield and were a fan of Rick Mears. Can you talk about that?

“I think, for me growing up in Bakersfield, a Rick Mears fan and racing around Clint, his son, in go‑karts and seeing Rick and Roger (Mears, brother) and that whole Mears Gang at the racetrack, I mean, that was part of my childhood. And to see the success that he (Rick) had (at Indianapolis) and know the racing heritage that the Mears family has at this particular racetrack, and the history that they have is something for me that’s pretty special, just because of the fact that those are people I grew up around. They came from the same town that I come from in Bakersfield, and it’s just something you don’t really realize when you’re a young kid.”

You’re going to Indianapolis for a doubleheader with the IndyCar Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday and the Cup Series race on Sunday. Do you think even under these strange circumstances this race could still have a potential positive impact for the motorsports community?

I think our races have had a positive impact on the motorsports community every week. Our industry has just done a great job, really been the leader in trying to help other sports figure out how they’re going to get back on track.I think when you look at the Indy doubleheader, you hear guys from both sides. We had Tony Kanaan on my radio show talking about this particular weekend, and IndyCar and NASCAR running together.We’re all racers. We want racing to be successful. I know it’s kind of had that stigma for a number of years there’s the IndyCar guys and there’s the NASCAR guys.One thing I learned over the winter doing iRacing, racers are racers. If you race on a computer, in IndyCar, everybody wants to see a good race and be part of a cool event. I think it’s going to be a cool event.With Roger Penske owning the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you’re going to see different things. I think this is the first step of many that will bring exciting shows to the racetrack”

RICK MEARS, 4-Time Indianapolis 500-Mile Race Winner: 

You and Harvick grew up in Bakersfield and you have both won at Indianapolis multiple times. Can you talk about that?

“It’s pretty cool. It doesn’t matter what car or whatever, it’s Indy. And I’ve followed (Harvick’s) career, especially because he’s from Bakersfield. I was living in and out of Bakersfield and I remember watching him run some short-track stuff out there and he was doing a good job then. I remember talking with him when he was old enough to drive and you could see a lot of the short-track styling and learning at work. The way he backs the corner up and the kind of stuff you have to do at places like the (Indianapolis Motor) Speedway.”

You never ran a NASCAR event, but did some IROC races. Did you ever think of crossing over to NASCAR racing?

“I had some opportunities early on. Back in the day, USAC had a stock-car program that was similar to NASCAR’s and I ran a couple of races for a couple of guys, just messing around. I think one was at Michigan and one was at Milwaukee. And then I ran a lot of the IROC Series. I loved the stock cars, they were a lot of fun. But there was only one way I was going to do it and that was to get totally out of IndyCar and get in with both feet and get with the right people and the right equipment. I would have really had to work at it, but there were some opportunities. I loved driving them, but I did like the Indy car better.”

Could Harvick have crossed over into IndyCar racing?

“He’d have done very well. He’s a racer. He would do very well because he’s a racer. He’s got a very good feel. The big thing for me, the difference between the stock cars and the Indy cars, is that the cars talk to you. You get in a different car and you take it out and you listen to it and do what it wants. The way I always explain it is, the stock cars yell at you, the Indy car whispers to you. It would just take time and laps in an Indy car, but he could do that because he’s a driver. He wouldn’t have any trouble. It’s just getting the laps and the experience.”

You and Harvick are similar in that you know the race is won at the end, not at the beginning. Can you talk about how you and Harvick are similar in that regard?

“To me, it was common sense, and I don’t like pain (laughs). You don’t take the risk until it’s time. You do what’s necessary when it’s necessary. But when do you and when do you not? It’s amazing how many guys don’t understand that. I only needed to lead one lap – and I didn’t even need to lead all of it. There’s only one way to win and that’s to finish. I’ve watched (Kevin) over the years, and he runs smart. That’s what I always called running smart. Plus, you don’t want to show your hand all the time. You keep a little in reserve until after the last stop so no one can make any changes and you say, ‘OK guys, he’s what we’ve got.’ If they think they’ve got you covered, they won’t take as many risks on that last stop.”

Photo courtesy of Steve Shunck/BorgWarner Inc.

Busch Light Patriotic Racing Team Report
Round 16 of 36 – Brickyard 400 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway 

Aric Almirola presents best Brickyard value at 30/1 odds to win

‘Almirolling’ Through Career Best Season 

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (June 30, 2020) – Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Patriotic Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), heads to a crown jewel of races this weekend, Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in hopes of kissing the bricks for the first time in his career. 

Almirola is on a string of four consecutive top-five finishes – earned at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he finished fifth, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where he finished third, and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway last weekend, where he finished third and fifth, respectively, in the series’ first modern-era doubleheader weekend. It’s the first time in Almirola’s career that he has earned consecutive top-five finishes.

His four top-fives this season ties his season high earned in 2018, when he raced his way to the semifinal playoff round and finished fifth in the season standings. 

The No. 10 Ford driver sits ninth in the playoff standings for his career best points position after 15 races. In his first two seasons at SHR in 2018 and 2019, Almirola was 11th in the standings after 15 races. It’s one of the best stretches of his career. The next comparable stretch was from October 2018 through March 2019, when he posted 11 top-10 finishes in 13 races, and his two finishes outside the top-10 were 11th at Martinsville and 32nd at Daytona.

This weekend, the 36-year-old native of Tampa, Florida, looks to continue the momentum with confidence at a track he feels he can continue his top-five streak. While Almirola has yet to earn a top-10 at Indianapolis, he sees this year as a completely blank slate.

“Indy is a place that is very similar to the tunnel turn at Pocono,” he said. “I felt like we were really good in that turn last weekend. As a driver, it always feels good to know you’re heading to a track that has a similar feel to the one you just earned a third- and fifth-place finish at. ‘Buga’ (crew chief Mike Bugarewicz) and all the guys back at the shop have been working their tails off to keep up with the new schedule and it’s really showing. We have showed up as a completely new team in the last four races. If we can continue to race as clean as we have been, with no hiccups or bad luck, we’re going to be serious contenders this year.”  

Almirola has career totals of two wins, two poles, 22 top-five finishes, 68 top-10s and 627 laps led in 331 starts. In addition to his recent string of top-fives, he has seven top-10s and has led 90 laps after 15 races this season.

Almirola will run a special red, white, and blue patriotic paint scheme with Smithfield adorning the hood of his racecar at Indy. Smithfield Foods Inc., who will sponsor Almirola’s car this weekend and at the majority of races this season, is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Its 40,000 U.S. employees are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly®,” and have made it one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies.

Almirola continues to provide fans with content from his documentary series Beyond the 10, where they can get VIP, behind-the-scenes access by subscribing to his YouTube channel. Episodes showcase never-before-seen footage of Almirola at the racetrack, on family trips, and “A Day in the Life” during the week, as well as all that goes into a NASCAR Cup Series driver’s season. Click here to subscribe on YouTube and watch the latest episode. 

While Almirola is on a mission to win one of NASCAR’s crown jewel races this weekend, he’s also looking to conquer a personal goal of five top-five finishes in a row and the most for him in a single season. He is also the only current Ford driver to be racing for five consecutive top-five finishes this weekend.

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

What was your first memory of Indianapolis Motor Speedway? 

“I was 12 or 13 racing go karts at the time. My family decided to travel to Indiana for Race Week. We went from track to track watching all these different races. As a kid, I was in heaven. It was so much fun. We capped it all off with the Indy 500. It was incredible to see the amount of people there were. Just being in that big of a crowd was crazy. I was used to going to local short tracks with a few thousand people. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought I would see a couple hundred thousand people in one place.”

What was your first NASCAR memory at Indy?

“My first memory of racing at Indy was cool. My first Cup races, I remember getting permission to ride my bike around the track and, when I did, I was in awe. To think as a young boy from Tampa, Florida, with big dreams, to here I am about to race in the Brickyard 400 – it was a memory I’ll never forget.” 

Why is Indy such a crown jewel race, and how tough is it to get around the track?

“Racing around Indy is interesting because, as a driver, it’s extremely cool racing around there knowing the history of the motor speedway. It has an aura about it like Augusta and Fenway Park. It’s a really special place for auto racing. To go there and race is really cool, but it is extremely difficult to race there. It gets single file and there is no banking, so we rely heavily on aerodynamics and downforce to handle when you don’t have good air pushing down on the car because of traffic. Indy is probably the most difficult track to drive your car in traffic.”

Monday, June 29, 2020

Clint Bowyer is 30/1 to win 2020 Brickyard 400

History and Holiday at Indianapolis

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (June 29, 2020) – It’s good that Clint Bowyer knows and appreciates his racing history, because he’s going to live it this Fourth of July weekend at the 111-year-old Indianapolis Motor Speedway when the NASCAR Cup Series holds its annual Brickyard 400.

Bowyer will drive the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang co-owned by Gene Haas and the Hoosier-state’s favorite son, Tony Stewart, in the 27th annual Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400. Bowyer knows driving the three-time champion Stewart’s entry, which carries the No. 14 made famous at the Brickyard by four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt, is an honor and a lot to live up to.

While racing at Indy is no longer new for NASCAR, for the first time since 1969, the Cup Series has moved from its traditional July 4 weekend 400-mile race from Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway to Indianapolis.

“There’s just a lot of pride that goes into all those things,” said Bowyer, the 41-year old Emporia, Kansas native. “Driving that Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), and you know what Tony Stewart means at this track and to everyone at Indy. Carrying the No. 14 ratchets it up a whole other level. A.J. Foyt is a badass who is as cool outside the racecar as he was driving it. Two legendary drivers and a legendary car number. The fact we are doing this on the Fourth of July weekend makes it even better.”

Bowyer knows a win Sunday afternoon would top the list of his career accomplishments in the Cup Series. Only 15 drivers have their likeness on the Brickyard 400 trophy permanently housed in the track’s infield museum. History isn’t just limited to the competition on the track. Bowyer’s paint scheme Sunday will feature Rush Truck Centers and Cummins.

Rush Truck Centers has been the primary partner for the No. 14 team since Bowyer arrived at SHR in 2017 and has been with the organization since 2010. With Bowyer’s background working in his dad’s towing service in Emporia, Kansas, Bowyer understands the importance of keeping trucks up and running. That is why Rush is proud to partner with Bowyer and support the trucks that haul the racecars, as well as customers across the country with its total service management package, RushCare Complete. This all-inclusive solution provides dedicated concierge service, vehicle telematics, mobile service, express routine maintenance, real-time service updates and a comprehensive source for all-makes parts. 

Cummins makes its second appearance of the 2020 season with Bowyer. The Indiana-based company from Stewart’s hometown of Columbus is no stranger to victory lane with its racing lineage dating 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 61,600 people and serves customers in about 190 countries and territories through a network of some 8,000 wholly owned and independent dealer and distributor locations. 

While Cummins is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions, it is best known for its diesel truck engines.

“Rush Truck Centers is one of the biggest reasons we race and, through the years at SHR, we haven’t gotten to victory lane with them, yet,” Bowyer said. “So, when we do it’s going to be epic. Cummins has been to victory lane so many times and probably has more history at Indianapolis than just about anyone.”

Bowyer said Indy is a difficult track for the stock-car crowd, whose cars lack the downforce of their open-wheel counterparts in the IndyCar Series. The rectangular oval track includes two 5/8-mile straightaways and four nearly identical quarter-mile turns connected by short, eighth-mile straightaways. The turns are banked about nine degrees – far flatter than the 30-plus-degree banking at tracks like Daytona, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and others that are part of the NASCAR schedule.

“Indy is just so unique,” said Bowyer, who has posted back-to-back fifth-place finishes at Indy the last two years and four-top 10 finishes in 14 starts. “You’re going so fast. The corners are so flat. You’ve got to have that baby flat to the floor, all the way around. It’s just a hard, hard track to get around.”

He said the key to racing success there is managing risk behind the steering wheel.
“The challenge is trying to be patient,” Bowyer said. “You just have to be patient. You push it to the edge there. You come off of them corners and you’re like, ‘There’s no way. I’m gonna hit the wall. Whoo.’ By the way, I gotta do that 400 more miles.”

Sunday’s race marks the 12th Cup Series race since returning from a 10-week hiatus due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic May 17. As it did at the previous 11 races, NASCAR series and team personnel in the infield will continue to operate under a comprehensive health and safety plan at Indianapolis that permits no fans, limited crew, strict social distancing, and mandated personal protective equipment and health screenings for all.

While racing without fans is disappointing to Bowyer, he knows the race results are just as important. He arrives at Indianapolis 13th in points after finishing seventh and eighth in last weekend’s doubleheader at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

Only 11 more races remain in what is expected to be NASCAR’s 26-race regular season. A win will vault Bowyer into the NASCAR playoffs that begin in September and secure a spot in the NASCAR All-Star Race July 15 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Without a win between now and July 15, Bowyer will race in the NASCAR All-Star Open with hopes a good run will transfer him to the All-Star Race.

As a backup plan, he is relying on the online fan vote that will send the most popular remaining driver from the Open to the All-Star Race. Fans can cast their ballots daily for Bowyer at NASCAR.com/fanvote, or by clicking here.

Bowyer knows there’s a lot on the line Sunday at Indianapolis. He also knows he has history on his side.

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

Spending the Fourth of July Weekend in Indianapolis – how special is that?

“When I think of the Fourth of July in NASCAR, I think of Daytona. I think, ‘Oh my God,’ you walk out of your bus headed to the grid and you can’t even put your sunglasses on because they are so fogged up. You are sweating so much you wonder, ‘Why the hell did I just take a shower?’ It is stupid hot outside. I have a waterfall running off of me just walking to the car, and that’s before you even think about climbing into that oven.

“So, when I heard we were moving on from Daytona in July, I thought surely we are moving to somewhere cooler. You know that seems reasonable, right? Buddy, I’m from the Midwest and I’m going to tell you, Indianapolis this weekend will be the hottest place on earth this time of year. So look out, I’m going to be a waterfall again.”

What makes winning at Indianapolis so special?

“Oh, I think it’s the racetrack, man. It’s the history behind it. It’s a hard race. It’s a hard place to get around, as a driver. But it all comes down to the history, the people who have won that race and won at that racetrack before you. That’s why you want to win there so badly.”

Odds to win 2020 Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at Indy

Kevin Harvick favored after a 1st and 2nd-place at Pocono. 
SUNDAY, JULY 5, 2020 - 4:15 PM ET

Kevin HARVICK 4/1
Kyle BUSCH 9/2
Denny HAMLIN 9/2
Martin TRUEX JR 7/1
Joey LOGANO 12/1
Ryan BLANEY 12/1
Chase ELLIOTT 14/1
Erik JONES 25/1
Kurt BUSCH 30/1
Aric ALMIROLA 30/1
Clint BOWYER 30/1
William BYRON 30/1
Alex BOWMAN 30/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 50/1
Christopher BELL 80/1
Tyler REDDICK 100/1
Austin DILLON 100/1
Matt KENSETH 100/1
Ryan NEWMAN 100/1
Ricky STENHOUSE JR 100/1
Chris BUESCHER 300/1
Cole CUSTER 300/1
Darrell WALLACE JR 300/1
John Hunter NEMECHEK 1000/1
Michael McDOWELL 2000/1
Ryan PREECE 2000/1
Ty DILLON 2000/1
Corey LaJOIE 5000/1
Brennan POOLE 10000/1
Daniel SUAREZ 10000/1
JJ YELEY 10000/1
Joey GASE 10000/1
Timmy HILL 10000/1
BJ McLEOD 10000/1
Quin HOUFF 10000/1

Denny Hamlin wins second leg of historic NASCAR Cup doubleheader

Denny Hamlin was 7/1 to win Sunday.
June 28, 2020
By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
Denny Hamlin turned the tables on Kevin Harvick on Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
Staying out on old tires and building a lead while Harvick battled traffic late in the Pocono 350, Hamlin won the second race of the historic NASCAR Cup Series doubleheader by 3.068 seconds over Harvick, reversing the finishing order of the two drivers from a day earlier.
For the first time in its history, NASCAR ran two Cup events on the same weekend at the same track.
Hamlin achieved several milestones with the win. He picked up his sixth victory at the 2.5-mile triangular track, tying NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon for most all-time. The triumph was the 41st of Hamlin’s career, 19th most in NASCAR history, breaking a tie with another NASCAR Hall of Famer, Mark Martin.
And a day after Harvick tied Hamlin for a series-best three wins this season, Hamlin broke the deadlock with his fourth victory of the year.
Harvick made his last pit stop on Lap 105, surrendering the lead to Hamlin. Instead of pitting shortly thereafter, Hamlin, at the direction of crew chief Chris Gabehart, stayed on the track and built his advantage over Harvick from 30 to more than 33 seconds, as Harvick fought through heavy race traffic.
Hamlin finally came to pit road on Lap 120, handing a short-lived lead to his Joe Gibbs racing teammate, Martin Truex Jr. But Hamlin held a two-second edge over Harvick in the exchange. Hamlin took the lead for good on Lap 126 when Truex made his final stop after staying out five laps longer than Hamlin had.
"I was hoping for no caution," Hamlin said of the final 51-lap green-flag run and the winning strategy. "I knew we had the car, and I was just kind of maintaining my gap right there—didn’t want to make any mistakes like I did at Bristol and gave that win away.
"I just tried to work through the traffic the best I could, and obviously, Chris was paying attention to the strategy there and made the right call."
Despite his second-place finish, Harvick felt he had a better setup in the No. 4 Ford than the one he drove to victory on Saturday.
"He (Hamlin) just did the opposite of what we did," Harvick said. "We didn’t want to get caught with a caution and then wound up losing a little bit too much time in lapped traffic with all the cars that hadn’t pitted.
"He was out there running clean laps and waited till right to the very end (to pit) and wound up in front of us. I’m proud of everybody on our team. Yesterday, (strategy) won us the race, and today we finished second."
JGR driver Erik Jones ran third, posting his best finish of the season. Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola were fourth and fifth, respectively, followed by Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron, Clint Bowyer, Alex Bowman and Truex.
Saturday’s fourth-place finisher, Sunoco rookie Christopher Bell, ran third in Stage 1 of Sunday’s event. Then his race fell apart. Bell spun out of control in the Tunnel Turn on Lap 39, backed hard into the outside wall in the short chute and shortened his car by about three feet.
"I was kind of rolling out there by myself, and I had a good gap between the guy in front of me and behind me, and it just stepped out getting into turn two there," said Bell, who retired from the race and finished 39th.
"It’s disappointing, but I’m really happy with the speed that we’ve had these last couple weeks. Obviously, yesterday here we were really fast, and we had another great car today, so these guys keep bringing really fast Rheem Camrys to the racetrack, and we’ll have good shows."
As the race approached the end of Stage 2, Kyle Busch spun in Turn 2 after contact from Ryan Blaney’s Ford. Busch’s No. 18 Toyota nosed into the inside wall, destroying the car. The accident kept Busch winless—and frustrated—through 15 races of the 2020 season.
"The guys did an amazing job from yesterday to today," said Busch, who finished fifth on Saturday but never contended for the win. "I guess it proves that, if you get a little practice time in, we are going to be a force to be reckoned with, so hopefully life gets back to normal eventually.
"But we are in 2020, so it doesn’t surprise me getting crashed out of the lead. The M&M’s Camry was pretty fast today. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys did a great job. It’s just very frustrating and unfortunate. I know what happened, but it doesn’t make any sense to talk about it. It will just come across in a bad way."
Notes: It was a better day for Chevrolet—three Camaros, all fielded by Hendrick Motorsports, finished in the top 10. In Saturday’s first leg of the unprecedented doubleheader there were no Chevys in the top 10… Harvick increased his series lead to 52 points over 22nd-place finisher Blaney… Almirola posted his fourth straight top 10… Kurt Busch won the 30-lap first stage wire-to-wire. Brad Keselowski won Stage 2… The start of the race was delayed by lightning, and rain interrupted the first stage after six laps were complete.
NASCAR Cup Series Race - 47th Annual Pocono 350
Pocono Raceway
Long Pond, Pennsylvania
Sunday, June 28, 2020
               1. (19)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 140.
               2. (20)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 140.
               3. (38)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 140.
               4. (25)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 140.
               5. (18)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 140.
               6. (8)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 140.
               7. (7)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 140.
               8. (14)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 140.
               9. (27)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 140.
               10. (15)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 140.
               11. (12)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 140.
               12. (10)  Matt Kenseth, Chevrolet, 140.
               13. (3)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 140.
               14. (2)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 140.
               15. (4)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 140.
               16. (21)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 140.
               17. (5)  Cole Custer #, Ford, 140.
               18. (6)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 139.
               19. (24)  John Hunter Nemechek #, Ford, 139.
               20. (22)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 139.
               21. (23)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 139.
               22. (9)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 139.
               23. (26)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 139.
               24. (36)  Joey Logano, Ford, 139.
               25. (1)  Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 139.
               26. (28)  Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 139.
               27. (29)  Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 138.
               28. (31)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 138.
               29. (35)  Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 137.
               30. (34)  James Davison, Chevrolet, 136.
               31. (40)  Quin Houff #, Chevrolet, 136.
               32. (33)  Garrett Smithley(i), Chevrolet, 136.
               33. (37)  Joey Gase(i), Ford, 136.
               34. (32)  Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 136.
               35. (30)  Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 135.
               36. (11)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 135.
               37. (39)  BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 133.
               38. (16)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 74.
               39. (17)  Christopher Bell #, Toyota, Accident, 39.
               40. (13)  Michael McDowell, Ford, Accident, 15.
Average Speed of Race Winner:  122.879 mph.
Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 50 Mins, 54 Secs. Margin of Victory:  3.068 Seconds.
Caution Flags:  8 for 32 laps.
Lead Changes:  12 among 8 drivers.
Lap Leaders:   R. Preece 0;K. Busch 1-35;R. Blaney 36-56;K. Busch 57-58;D. Hamlin 59-76;K. Harvick 77;B. Keselowski 78-79;A. Almirola 80-83;B. Keselowski 84-94;K. Harvick 95-104;D. Hamlin 105-120;M. Truex Jr. 121-125;D. Hamlin 126-140.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Denny Hamlin 3 times for 49 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 35 laps; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 21 laps; Brad Keselowski 2 times for 13 laps; Kevin Harvick 2 times for 11 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 1 time for 5 laps; Aric Almirola 1 time for 4 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 2 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 1,12,95,4,2,21,17,19,18,41
Stage #2 Top Ten: 2,10,6,19,47,4,3,1,21,11

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Finally! Harvick Wins at Pocono Raceway

Busch Beer Head for Mountains Ford Mustang Driver Scores 52nd Career Victory
Date: June 27, 2020
Event: Pocono Organics 325 (Round 14 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format: 130 laps, broken into three stages (25 laps/52 laps/53 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/1st (Running, completed 130 of 130 laps)
Point Standing: 1st with 534 points, 29 ahead of second place

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logono of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-25):
●  Kevin Harvick started ninth and finished 34th.
●  The No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang was a bit too loose early on.
●  Harvick pitted under caution on lap 14 for right side tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Was in 15th place.
●  On lap 23, Harvick pitted for fuel only.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 25-77):
●  Kevin Harvick started 15th and finished seventh, earning four bonus points.
●  The No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang was fourth when the caution came out on lap 66. He pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He restarted 12th.
●  At the end of the stage, Harvick commented that his car was much better.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 78-130):
●  Kevin Harvick started sixth and finished first. 
●  The No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang on the restart moved from sixth to second on lap 82.
●  On lap 94, Harvick pitted for right side tires and fuel. He was second.
●  He led the final 17 after pit stops had cycled through, and despite a late challenge from Denny Hamlin who closed within a second, he scored his first ever win at Pocono.

●  This was Harvick’s 52nd career NASCAR Cup Series win. He is 12th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list, two victories behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty.
●  This was Harvick’s 29th NASCAR Cup Series victory since joining SHR in 2014.
●  With today’s victory, Harvick has won at all but two tracks on the current NASCAR Cup Series schedule – Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval.
●  Harvick earned his third victory of the season and his first victory in 39 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono.
●  Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Denny Hamlin was .761 of a second.
●  This was Harvick’s second straight top-10. He finished 10th in the series’ last race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
●  Harvick has finished among the top-10 in 11 of the 14 races held this year. He has only one finish outside the top-15.
● Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has finished inside the top-four at Pocono eight times – including a five-race stretch from July 2016 to July 2018.
●  In the past 21 races at Pocono, Harvick has finished in the top-10 14 times.
●  Harvick finished seventh in Stage 2 to earn four bonus points.
●  Harvick led once for 17 laps to increase his laps-led total at Pocono to 266.
●  Harvick has now led 10,169 laps since joining SHR in 2014. He has led 14,595 laps in his entire NASCAR Cup Series career.
●  This was Ford’s series-leading eighth NASCAR Cup Series win of the season and its 694th all-time Cup Series victory.
●  This was Ford’s 24th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory at Pocono and first since Ryan Blaney won in June 2017.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I just have to thank everyone on this Busch Beer Head for the Mountains Ford Mustang. We weren’t where we needed to be to start the race and lost a bunch of track position but we came back and made some great strategy calls to get in clean air and get out front and make some good laps. It is great to finally check Pocono off the list. Everybody at Stewart-Haas racing has done such a great job with all our cars over the last several years. I guess it takes special paint schemes to get to victory lane. I want to say hi to my family. I know Keelan (son) raced all day and Delana (wife) and Piper (daughter) and everybody at home. I am really proud of everybody and I am just glad it didn’t rain all day. I’ve got to thank everybody from Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Jimmy Johns, Fields, everybody from Haas that puts this car on the racetrack. I wish I could explain to everybody how hard the guys and gals are working in the shop right now with this schedule and everybody broke up. We appreciate all you guys. Thank you to all the fans. I wish you were here. This isn’t near as exciting. I feel like I am my seven year old. I have all this pent up energy and am going to just share with anybody.”

On lap 95, you came down pit road with a quick two-tire pit shop. When do you know when it has worked out?

“I knew when we came out of the pits and they told me how big of a lead we had. I saw the 11 (Denny Hamlin) come out of the pits and he was in second. I knew that the tire gap was going to be a little less. He caught us a little in traffic but I knew I could be pretty patient with the gap we had. As I started to see everything cycle out and see with the track position we had with the fresher tires you could kind of start to put it together in your mind as we started to run through the last stage and cars started to have to pit. Just a great call by Rodney Childers and all the guys up on the pit box for having the right strategy and getting us to victory lane.”

Was it still managing that distance or lap traffic or what closed the gap?
“I just caught a couple of lap cars in the wrong spots going in the corner and messed up my entry and lost some of my momentum down the straightaway and you lose a second there and then you do that two laps in a row and there
goes the lead. It definitely got closer than it needed to.”

What do you do for tomorrow?

“I think we can make our car quite a bit better. We kind of crutched it today to get the problems that we had. I think there are a lot of problems we can fix on it and make it better. Hopefully we can do that. Sometimes it goes the opposite way and you think you can make it better and it slows down. We will find out when they drop the green flag tomorrow.”

Next Up:
The second event of the NASCAR Cup Series doubleheader at Pocono is the Pocono 350 on Sunday, June 28. The race starts at 4 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.