Event: TicketGuardian 500k (Round 4 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: ISM Raceway near Phoenix (mile oval)
Format: 312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/162 laps)
Start/Finish: 19th/6th (Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
Point Standing: 9th with 125 points, 43 out of first
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):
● Clint Bowyer Started 19th and finished 11th.
● Showed speed early in the race, climbing from 19th to 13th in just 45 laps.
● Reported the car was “a little too loose” in the stage’s final laps and finished 11th.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):
● Started 11th, finished 10th.
● Broke into the top-10 on lap 99.
● Reported minor fender damage on lap 123 after contact with another car.
● Restarted 11th with one lap remaining in the stage before driving to 10th and earning a bonus point.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-312):
● Started fourth, finished sixth.
● Since he pitted in the closing laps of the previous stage, Bowyer remained on the track during the stage break and moved up to fourth for the start of the final stage.
● Held his position in the top-five, posting several laps as quickest of all the cars on the track.
● Pitted on lap 192 for four tires and fuel, dropping to 12th because several cars took two tires.
● Moved back into the top-10 on lap 223, ninth on lap 227, eighth on lap 245 and seventh on lap 247 while frequently turning top-five lap times.
● Made final green-flag stop of the race on lap 255 to take four tires and fuel.
● This is the first time Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has placed all four of its drivers in the top-10 in a single race.
● This was Bowyer’s second top-10 of 2018 and his seventh top-10 in 26 career Cup Series starts at Phoenix.
● Bowyer finished 10th in Stage 2 to earn one bonus point.
● Harvick’s victory in the TicketGuardian 500k marked the 46th overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s 42nd points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its sixth at Phoenix.
● This was SHR’s third straight Cup Series victory. Harvick won last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Feb. 24 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was the first time Harvick has won three straight Cup Series races.
● This was SHR’s sixth Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Kurt Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
● There were six caution periods for a total of 36 laps. Only 15 of the 37 drivers in the TicketGuardian 500k finished on the lead lap.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was a solid day. We just have to get better as a team. I buried us a little bit in qualifying. It was a good run for us; a good run for Stewart-Haas Racing. We weren’t very good here last year. We sucked as a matter of fact, so that is a breath of fresh air after stubbing our toe last week. Having a good run today is definitely some positive mojo going.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 18 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!