Event: AAA Texas 500 (Round 34 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)
Note: Race extended three laps past its scheduled 334-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Start/Finish: 2nd/26th (Running, completed 334 of 337 laps)
Point Standing: 8th with 4,052 points, 73 points outside the top-four cutoff
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 85):
● Clint Bowyer started second and finished 30th.
● Bowyer and Denny Hamlin made contact on the opening lap, forcing both to pit road for repairs and dropping Bowyer two laps behind the leaders.
● Bowyer reported his car was loose in the corners.
● The crew made significant handling changes but could not improve Bowyer’s lap times.
Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 170):
● Bowyer started 30th and finished 29th.
● The crew continued to work to improve the No. 14’s handling, but Bowyer said it was loose in and tight in the middle.
● The team stretched his fuel mileage at the end of the stage hoping for a caution that never came.
Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 337):
● Bowyer started 29th and finished 26th.
● Bowyer reported smoke in his car throughout the race, likely caused by the early damage.
● The no.14 team took the wave-around and gambled on a caution but had to pit under green on lap 244.
● Bowyer dropped to four laps behind the leader, but he regained a lap in the closing moments.
● Kevin Harvick’s victory in the AAA Texas 500 marked the 58th overall win for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). It was the organization’s 51st points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its third victory at Texas.
● Harvick’s win marked SHR’s series-leading 12th points-paying victory 34 races into the 2018 season. SHR also won the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.
● This was SHR’s 15th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Kurt Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
● Harvick’s triumph delivered the 107th points-paying victory for Ford’s Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It was Ford’s 676th all-time win in the NASCAR Cup Series.
● This was Ford’s 14th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Texas, the most all-time among manufacturers.
● Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Ryan Blaney was .447 of a second.
● Ford took five of the top-10 positions, including the top-three.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 37 laps.
● Only 17 of the 40 drivers in the AAA Texas 500 finished on the lead lap.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil Delvac 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“That stinks. First corner of the race. I’m sick. It wasn’t what we were hoping for today. We were having to turn right to get into the corner and were plowing in the middle. I think something was going on with the car when it was getting in the corner. We’ll go to Phoenix and try to win. This isn’t over yet.”
Playoff Standings: (with one race to go before the Championship 4):
1. Kevin Harvick (4,143) 1 win
2. Kyle Busch (4,128) +28
3. Martin Truex Jr. (4,125) +25
4. Joey Logano (4,119) 1 win
5. Kurt Busch (4,100) -25
6. Chase Elliott (4,086) -39
7. Aric Almirola (4,068) -57
8. Clint Bowyer (4,052) -73
● SHR is the only team to feature all four of its drivers in the Round of 8.
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Can-Am 500k on Sunday, Nov. 11 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!