Harvick Caps Off The Season With A Fourth At Homestead

Kevin Harvick

Date: Nov. 19, 2017

Event: Ford EcoBoost 400 (Round 36 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway (1.5-mile oval)

Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)

Start/Finish: 9th/4th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)

Point Standing: 3rd with 5,033 points

 

Champion: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80)

● Kevin Harvick started ninth, finished fourth.

● Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion came to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 38 for tires and fuel.

● Harvick entered the top-five on lap 47 and the top-three on lap 58.

● The No. 4 teampitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Started fourth, finished third.

 Harvick raced up to second at the start of Stage 2 and challenged Kyle Larson for the lead before falling back to third on lap 116.

● The Jimmy John’s Ford came to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 122 for four tires, fuel and a small adjustment.

● The No. 4 team came to pit road under caution on lap 147 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to correct a tight-handling car.

● The pit crew gained Harvick a position on pit road to restart in second on lap 150.

● The No. 4 team came to pit road at the conclusion of Stage 2 for four tires, fuel and several adjustments.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

● Started fourth and finished fourth.

● The Jimmy John’s Ford suffered right-front fender damage from hitting debris on lap 180 while racing in fourth.

● The team came to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 199 for four tires, fuel and an attempt to repair the fender. The No. 18 stayed out to attempt a different strategy, causing the Jimmy John’s Ford to briefly fall a lap down.

 Harvick raced his way back to the lead lap on lap 208, racing in the eighth position and advancing to second by lap 228.

● The team came to pit road under caution on lap 228 for tires, fuel and repairs and restarted second on lap 234.

● The Jimmy John’s Ford battled for the lead following the restart before falling back to fourth by the checkered flag.

 

Notes:

● Harvick scored his 14th top-five and 23rd top-10 finish of 2017.

● This was Harvick’s ninth top-five and 15th top-10 finish in 17 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Homestead.

● There were five caution periods for a total of 26 laps.

● Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the Ford EcoBoost 400 finished on the lead lap.

● In winning the Ford EcoBoost 400, Martin Truex Jr. captured the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship for the first time in his career, outdueling fellow 2017 Championship 4 contenders Kyle Busch, Harvick and Brad Keselowski. Truex is the 32nd different Cup Series champion.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We just got really loose and then got a hole in the nose and it started to get tight in. We got that fixed. We were pretty good on the next-to-last run, and we were just really loose on the last run. I want to thank everybody on my Jimmy John’s, Busch Ford for everything they’ve done. It was great to have a chance. We were in the mix all day. Didn’t quite have what we needed at the end. I want to thank Mobil 1, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Morton Building, Textron, everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. Thank you guys for everything you did all year. We’ll be back.”

 

Give us a sense of what an accomplishment this year was.

“Well, I think when you look at it from the inside out and all the work that everybody went through, the preparation that we went through to get to these playoffs was second to none. It was a championship effort. Just came up a little bit short. Congratulations to Martin (Truex Jr.). Those guys have been the dominant car all year. To go win the race and make it happen at the end, they were able to get their car better and win the championship.”

 

Take us through the last stint.

“I was just really loose the whole last run. When it started to get dark we started to get tight in the corner, and then we got a hole in the nose. We got that fixed and just couldn’t quite get it where we needed to be to make good times. Some runs we fell off. Some runs we were tight on entry. There at the end we were just too loose.”

 

Next Up:

The 2018 season kicks off Feb. 10-18 with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 60th Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the season, is scheduled for Feb. 18and will be broadcast live on FOX.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Clint Bowyer Finishes 12th At Homestead

Clint Bowyer
Date: Nov. 19, 2017

Event: Ford EcoBoost 400 (Round 36 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway(1.5-mile oval)

Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)

Start/Finish: 16th/12th (running, completed 267 of 267 laps)

Point Standing: 18th with 871 points

 

Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing(Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

● Clint Bowyer started 16th and finished 10th. He earned one race point.

● Told crew on the pace lap that he appreciated its hard work in 2017 and that he was proud to be on the team.

● Pitted during a lap-five caution and dropped to 20th.

● Bowyer used new and much faster tires to climb into 10th despite reporting his car was sliding sideways off the corners.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Started 12th and finished 15th.

● Bowyer told his crew if it could tighten the car he would be able to go much faster.

● The adjustments plus the changing track conditions made the car harder to turn, slowing his progress.

● At lap 142,Bowyer put on used tires for the final 10-lap run, preferring to save new tires for later in the race. He dropped to 15th.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):

● Started 15th and finished 18th.

● Bowyer told his crew on the opening lap of the final stage that the car took off the best it had all race.

● Bowyer pitted from 13th on lap 198 for fuel, tires and handling adjustments after telling the crew his car was “sideways off the corners.”

● Bowyer climbed as high as ninth with 45 laps remaining.

● A caution with 39 to go saw Bowyer pit from 10th for minor, front-end repairs after he said he hit a brake rotor on the track.

● Bowyer restarted the race in 10th with 34 laps to go, but handling issues kept him from climbing higher.

 

Notes:

●  Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the Ford Ecoboost 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  There were five caution periods for a total of 26 laps.

●  Martin Truex Jr., won the Ford EcoBoost 400 to score his 15th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. It was his series-best eighth win of the season, but his first at Homestead. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .681 of a second.

● In winning the Ford EcoBoost 400, Truex won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship for the first time in his career, outdueling fellow Championship 4 contenders Kyle Busch, Harvick and Brad Keselowski. Truex is the 32nd different Cup Series champion.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Man, the track was a lot slicker than I expected when we started the race. We had a good car, but we were on knife edge all night. First we are too loose, and we made an adjustment and we’d be too tight. It’s hard to believe the year is over. I’m proud of all the people on the No. 14 team. They worked hard this season. We’ll enjoy the off-season and be ready to race again in Daytona.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Danica Had A Blown Tire And Wall Contact To End Her Day Early

Danica Patrick

Date: Nov. 19, 2017

Event: Ford EcoBoost 400 (Round 36 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5-mile oval)

Format: 267 laps, broken into three segments (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)

Start/Finish: 25th/37th (Accident, completed 139 of 267 laps)

Point Standing: 28th (511 points)

 

Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

● Danica Patrick started 25th and finished 24th.

● The No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion team cracked the top-20 at lap 14. Patrick noted the car was “tight in the center” and lacked grip as she dropped back to the 25th position, so crew chief Billy Scott called for a wedge adjustment when the team pitted at lap 38.

● The adjustments help improve the car’s handling, and Patrick went from 26th to 24th in the final laps of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Started 27th and finished 37th.

● Patrick raced her way up to the 18th position as the car’s handling continued to improve after additional adjustments by the team. She made contact with the outside wall with more than 20 laps to go in Stage 2 and noted smoke in the cockpit.

● The team checked for damage, and the following lap the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford made contact with the wall in turn two after cutting down a tire. The car sustained significant damage, which ended the team’s day with a 37th-place finish.

● Patrick was evaluated and released from the infield care center following the accident.

 

Notes:

● This was Patrick’s fifth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Homestead-Miami Speedway and her 190th career NASCAR Cup Series start.

● Patrick finished the season with 511 points, which put her 28th in the driver point standings.

● There were five caution periods for a total of 26 laps.

● Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the Ford EcoBoost 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Martin Truex Jr. won the Ford EcoBoost 400 to score his 15th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his eighth of the season and his first at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .681 of a second.

● With his victory in Sunday’s race, Truex Jr. also won the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship, the first of his career, outdueling fellow Championship 4 drivers Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski in the season finale.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Kurt Busch Has A Disappointing Finish At Homestead

Kurt Busch
Date: Nov. 19, 2017

Event: Ford EcoBoost 400 (Round 36 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway(1.5-mile oval)

Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)

Start/Finish: 8th/22nd (Running, completed 265 of 267 laps)

Point Standing: 14th with 2,217 points

 

Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

● Kurt Busch started eighth and finished seventh to score four stage points.

● Early in the run, Busch said his Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion was loose on the exit of each turn.

● On lap six, under caution, Busch pitted for four sticker tires and fuel while in ninth position.

● Busch restarted 14th after pitting.

● Busch was up to third with fresher tires and pitted under green on lap 41 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.

● On lap 50, Busch was fourth and reported his car was “a tick loose in.”

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Busch started eighth and finished sixth to score five stage points.

● Busch pitted on lap 83 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

● On lap 122, Busch was in seventh and pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

● Busch reported shortly after the pit stop that his car was really tight in the center of the corner.

● On lap 145, while eighth, Busch pitted under caution for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):

● Busch started eighth and finished 22nd.

● On lap 162, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and a bit of tape on the grill.

● Busch pitted on lap 198 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He was in eighth.

● On lap 227, Busch hit some debris and cut a tire, which forced him to pit. He lost two laps and finished a disappointing 22nd.

 

Notes:

● Busch finished the 2017 season with one win (Daytona 500), one pole (Texas II) and 15 top-10 finishes.

●  There were five caution periods for a total of 26 laps.

●  Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the Ford Ecoboost 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  Martin Truex Jr., won the Ford EcoBoost 400 to score his 15th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. It was his series-best eighth win of the season, but his first at Homestead. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .681 of a second.

● In winning the Ford EcoBoost 400, Truex won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship for the first time in his career, outdueling fellow Championship 4 contenders Kyle Busch, Harvick and Brad Keselowski. Truex is the 32nd different Cup Series champion.

 

Next Up:

The 2018 season kicks off Feb. 10-18 with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 60th Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the season, is scheduled for Feb. 18and will be broadcast live on FOX.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Cole Custer Grabs First NXS Victory In The Ford EcoBoost 300

Cole Custer
Haas Automation Driver Scores First Career XFINITY Series Victory

 

Date:  Nov. 18, 2017

Event:  Ford EcoBoost 300 (Round 33 of 33)

Series:  NASCAR XFINITY Series

Location:  Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5-mile oval)

Format:  200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)

Start/Finish:  2nd/1st (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)

Point Standing:  5th with 2,288 points

 

Race Winner:  Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner:  Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

● Cole Custer started second, finished first. Earned 10 bonus points.

● Took the lead on lap three and held it for the next 21 laps around the 1.5-mile oval.

● Relinquished the lead for only three laps following a lap-24 restart before retaking lead on lap 27 from Tyler Reddick.

● Custer led through the end of Stage 1.

● Pitted for four tires, fuel and tire pressure adjustments at the conclusion of Stage 1.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):           

● Started third, finished first. Earned 10 bonus points.

● Custer ran inside the top-five and reassumed his position at the front by lap 62, leading through the end of the stage.

● At the end of Stage 2, pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and tire pressure adjustments to improve his drive off the track’s corners.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200): 

● Started first, finished first.

● After taking the lead in Stage 2, Custer never gave up the point, leading the race’s final 139 laps, even during a scheduled, green-flag pit stop on lap 144 for four tires and fuel.

● Custer crossed the stripe with a whopping 15.405-second margin of victory over second-place Sam Hornish Jr., the three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner.

 

Notes:         

● This marks Custer’s first career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory and it came in only his 38th XFINITY Series start.

● Earned a perfect driver rating by sweeping both stages and taking the race victory (150.0).

● Custer led three times for a race-high 182 laps. It is a record for the most laps led in a single XFINITY Series race at Homestead.

● This was Custer’s rookie season in the XFINITY Series, and he ends it with seven top-five and 19 top-10 finishes.

● Custer earned the most points at 1.5-mile tracks among XFINITY Series drivers this season (422).

● This was Stewart-Haas Racing’s first win in the XFINITY Series, as the team debuted its XFINITY Series program this season.

● Custer’s win was the ninth XFINITY Series victory of the season for Ford.

● Custer is the 36th different driver to win an XFINITY Series race with Ford.

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:    

“We knew we were gonna be really good this weekend, but our Haas Automation Mustang was unreal. We really wanted to have a good showing at Ford Championship Weekend. Even though we weren’t in (the Championship 4), we wanted to win.

 

“I want to thank everybody at Haas Automation, Code 3 Associates and Roush Yates Engines – the engines have been unbelievable all year – and XFINITY and everybody at NASCAR and all of our fans, it’s just been unbelievable.

 

“Going into this year there were so many question marks, and to see how far we’ve come is really unbelievable. I have to especially thank Gene Haas. I would never be here without him and I can’t thank him enough.

 

“I can’t stress enough how good this Haas Automation Mustang was. I was just pedaling it going half-speed the last few laps. I’ve had some good cars before, but that was pretty impressive. I can’t say enough about this group. They’ve worked so hard all year getting us up and going and it’s just unbelievable.  There’s no better team I’ve worked with before and I can’t thank them enough.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Danica Waves Good Bye To NASCAR

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick said good-bye to racing during a tearful press conference on Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway—but it will be a long good-bye.

“This will be my final season as a full-time driver,” Patrick said between sobs, before revealing plans to finish her career by running two more races in 2018, the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500.

Though Patrick said details had not been finalized for either race, she indicated negotiations on both fronts have been under way for some time.

“We’re down the line with different facets of moving forward, but nothing’s final yet,” Patrick said. “Hopefully, it will be soon, but things are definitely not set.”

Patrick announced recently she would exit her ride in the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford at the end of the season, citing lack of sponsorship. Aric Almirola will replace her in the car next year.

“I feel like this is where my life should be headed, and sometimes we just get nudged there,” Patrick said. “Sometimes it’s big nudges, and sometimes it’s little. But I definitely was faced with situations at the beginning of the year that I’d never faced before. I never had sponsor issues.

“But it made me think about things. And I’m excited about the next phase, trust me.”

It’s appropriate that the Daytona 500 will be Patrick’s last race in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car, given that Daytona is the site of her foremost accomplishment in the series. Patrick won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 2013 version of the Great American Race, the only pole of her Cup career.

She has posted seven top-10 finishes in 189 career Cup starts entering Sunday’s Ford Eco-Boost 400 at Homestead, with a best result of sixth at Atlanta in 2014.

But Patrick grew frustrated with her inability to find the speed necessary to compete with the elite drivers of the sport.

“It’s super competitive,” Patrick said. “It’s twice the field of IndyCars, 40 instead of 20, basically. The cars make a big difference. I feel like there’s a lot out of your control as a driver, and that’s frustrating. I tried every approach I could to figure out how to make the car go fast.

“Do I push people? Do I let them do their job? Do I question them? Do I ask for other things? I tried every approach, and, really, all that ended up happening was I lost my crew chief the first time around with Tony Gibson. I didn’t end up wanting that to happen. So I was like ‘Well, shoot, nothing really worked.’ So here I am.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

“Freaky Fast” Harvick Is Feeling Very Confident At Homestead

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick’s two wins this season are fewer than any of the other three drivers eligible to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

His Stewart-Haas Racing team needed half a season to finally find its footing after switching from Chevrolet to Ford. Martin Truex Jr. remains the most consistent, most consistently able to strong-arm a weekend for a Toyota contingent that has been the prime manufacturer of the season.

Harvick isn’t concerned.

And with reason. He’s in position for another epic close, and the title of undisputed master of this version of the points system. His record at Homestead and his performance under duress should further hearten the 2014 series champion as he readies himself for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400.

Since NASCAR made the final race a four-driver showdown for the title that season, Harvick has been title eligible three times.

Harvick struggled with much of his organization to find speed in the SHR’s first two months with Ford, but was still able to maintain a slot inside the top 10 in points. His finishes began to improve markedly after winning the pole and finishing fourth at Texas Motor Speedway in June and five top-fives in eight races ensued.

“We were late bloomers to the party just from the fact we had a lot of work to do,” Harvick said, referring to the manufacturer swap. “We had a lot of change. We had a lot of things we had to navigate and maneuver and get to the point of being competitive like we are right now. That isn’t how we were in the middle of the year.”

Harvick broke through for his first non-Chevrolet triumph at Sonoma Raceway but didn’t win again until Texas two weeks ago. He was fourth in the driver standings and in possession of a points transfer spot until assuring his spot in the finale with the victory. The win bore additional value in how he was able to run down Truex who led a race-high 107 laps, has six wins this season on 1.5-mile tracks, and has been the most consistently excellent performer of the season.

“We had everything two weeks ago at Texas,” Harvick said. “I don’t have to say too much, just look back two weeks.”

In 2014, Harvick exploited the new system in the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix Raceway to leap from eighth points position to a berth in the Championship Race with a victory. His win the next week sealed the title, beginning a streak in which every champion has won the last race of the season.

“I think having that experience from 2014 and 2015 was a big learning experience for us, definitely for me being the first-time racing for a championship,” said crew chief Rodney Childers. “I think it has helped this year just being more prepared, knowing what you need to have done before you leave the shop, and just having all your ducks in a row before you get there.”

Harvick finished second at Homestead in 2015 as his title fell short against Kyle Busch, and third last year although he wasn’t title-eligible. His average finish of 6.9 in – with eight top fives – in 16 starts. Truex average there: 12.3; Brad Keselowski, 15.9; Kyle Busch, 19.8 with a win.

“I’m excited to be here,” Harvick said.

In the place. In the situation.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

It Appears That This Weekend Is Danica’s Farewell To NASCAR

Danica Patrick

On Aug. 25, 2011, Danica Patrick caused a stir when she announced she would be leaving the open-wheel world to make a full-time run in the NASCAR ranks. A little more than two months later, she joined Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team owner Tony Stewart to unveil the schedule for a 10-race effort she would run the following season with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team.

Patrick made her first official NASCAR Cup Series start in February 2012 in the 54th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

The Kannapolis-based SHR team would expand from a two-car operation to field a third full-time NASCAR Cup Series entry with Patrick and, in the years since she completed her first laps in a NASCAR Cup Series car, Patrick has made history with the No. 10 team.

Patrick became the first woman to win a NASCAR Cup Series pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the 2013 Daytona 500.

She then became the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race when she held the point for laps 90 and 91, and laps 127 to 129.

Patrick became the first woman to lead a NASCAR race under green in that 2013 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Janet Guthrie led five laps under yellow in 1977 at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway.

After earning the pole and leading laps, Patrick finished the 2013 Daytona 500 in eighth place, the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”

In 2013, Patrick competed in every NASCAR Cup Series race and became the first female driver to complete an entire season in the series.

Patrick has made the most starts of any female in NASCAR Cup Series competition and, last weekend, she became the first female in NASCAR history to make 250 combined starts in the three NASCAR national series.

With seven top-10 finishes to her credit, Patrick holds the record for the most top-10 finishes by a female in NASCAR Cup Series competition.

Sunday, Patrick will make her 190th NASCAR Cup Series start in the No. 10 entry for SHR. The Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will mark her last race in the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion with SHR. After five seasons together and one pole award, 64 laps led, seven top-10s, 21 top-15s and 65 top-20 finishes, this chapter of history comes to a close for Patrick and SHR.

DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Tony Stewart recently said that you have more options than anybody in the garage in that you can do NASCAR, IndyCar, road racing, and you have your entrepreneurial career. Is that how you view things at this stage? 

“I’m flattered by that. I work really hard and have really good people around me who believe in me. I have great opportunities, but I think the most important thing is answering, ‘What is it that I want to do?’ I don’t mean that from a conceited standpoint of just pick and choose, but you’ve got to love and want to do whatever it is that you’re doing and have your whole heart in it, or else you probably might not make it happen or you’re not going to give yourself the best opportunity to show what you can do. I think it’s a matter of evaluating options, but really being honest about what makes the most sense, what’s going to feel good, what do I want to do, and then really kind of being the architect of my life.”

What are your overall thoughts on Homestead?

“It’s a mile and a half, but it’s unique in that it doesn’t have the dogleg. I’ve had a couple of solid finishes in the Cup car and I’ve run well there in the Xfinity Series. I ended up second in my last IndyCar race at Homestead, so I’d say it’s a track where I have a decent amount of experience.”

Aspen Dental Racing Team Report

Round 36 of 36 – Ford EcoBoost 400 – Homestead

Car No.: 10 – Aspen Dental Ford Fusion

 

At-Track PR Contact: Annette Randall, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388 ext. 805, Annette.Randall@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)

Primary Team Members:

Driver: Danica Patrick

Hometown: Roscoe, Illinois

 

Crew Chief: Billy Scott

Hometown: Land O’ Lakes, Florida

 

Car Chief: Tony Cardamone

Hometown: Bristol, Virginia

 

Engine Builder: Roush Yates Engines

Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Evan Cupples

Hometown: Hudson, Illinois

 

Spotter: Brandon Benesch

Hometown: Cumberland, Wisconsin

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:

Gas Man: Justin Wilson

Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota

 

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

 

Second Gas Man: Nate Spoor

Hometown: Penn Yan, New York

 

Front Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

 

Windshield: Kyle Anderson (also serves as interior mechanic)

Hometown: Jewell, Iowa

 

Rear Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman

Hometown: Monroe, Louisiana

 

Jackman: Nate House

Hometown: Gastonia, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard

Hometown: Dalhart, Texas

Road Crew Members:

Truck Drivers: Wayne Anderson and Larry Lush

Hometown: West Covina, California and Waynesville, North Carolina, respectively

 

Tire Specialist: Nathan McGuire

Hometown: Palmyra, New York

 

Shock Specialist: Aaron Kuehn

Hometown: Kensington, Connecticut

 

Engineers: Scott Bingham and William Lee

Hometowns: Lawrenceville, Georgia and Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, respectively

 

Underneath Mechanic: Nick McIntosh

Hometown: Havre, Montana

 

Front End Mechanic: Joe Zanolini

Hometown: Sybertsville, Pennsylvania

Ford EcoBoost 400 Notes of Interest: 
  • The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finale will mark Danica Patrick’s 190th career start in the NASCAR Cup Series and her fifth at Homestead-Miami Speedway. She finished a career-best 18th in the Ford EcoBoost 400 in November 2014. In three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, she led a total of eight laps and earned a career-best effort of 13th in November 2012. In five IndyCar Series races at Homestead, she scored a second-place result in 2010 and earned two top-10s.
  • Season Stats: Entering the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season finale, Patrick and the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) have earned one top-10, five top-15 finishes and 14 top-20s. Patrick has led a total of seven laps and holds an average starting position of 22.0 and an average finish of 23.5. She is ranked 27th in the driver point standings.
  • Career Stats: Patrick will make her final start in the No. 10 Ford Sunday for SHR. During her time with the organization, Patrick and the No. 10 NASCAR Cup Series team have earned seven top-10s, 21 top-15s, 65 top-20s and one pole award.
  • Aspen Dental: With more than 600 offices in 36 states, Aspen Dental-branded practices offer patients a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment to get the full range of dental care they need along with the convenience and speed of onsite denture labs. That’s why the Aspen Dental network of independent dental care providers is one of the largest and fastest growing in the U.S. and saw more than 1.5 million patients in 2016. To find out more about how Aspen Dental practices make it simply easier for each of their patients to get the healthy mouth they deserve, visit AspenDental.com.
  • For the History Books: Since Patrick began competing in NASCAR on a part-time basis in 2010, she has made plenty of history. Here is a recap of how she has altered the record books through the years:
    • Became the first woman to win a NASCAR Cup Series pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the 2013 Daytona 500.
    • Led laps 90 to 91 of the 2013 Daytona 500, becoming the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race. She also led laps 127 to 129.
    • Became the first woman to lead a NASCAR race under green (Daytona 2013). Janet Guthrie led five laps under yellow in 1977 at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway.
    • Finished 2013 Daytona 500 in eighth place, the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”
    • Finished 10th in 2012 Xfinity Series points, the highest points finish by a woman in the history of NASCAR’s top three series (Cup, Xfinity, Truck).
    • Competed in every NASCAR Cup Series race in 2013, becoming the first female driver to complete an entire season in the series.
    • Became the first female to compete in the non-points NASCAR All-Star race (2013) and Sprint Unlimited (2014).
    • Have the most starts of any female in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
    • With seven top-10 finishes, holds the record for the most top-10 finishes of any female in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
  • History Maker in IndyCar: Patrick became the first woman to win a major-league open-wheel race in a North American series in April 2008 by winning the IndyCar Series Japan Indy 300 at the Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan.
  • Big Stage: In seven Indianapolis 500 starts, Patrick finished in the top-10 six times, including a third-place result in 2009, the best finish ever for a woman in the historic race.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Kevin Harvick’s Championship Numbers

Kevin Harvick

The numbers for Kevin Harvick:

1 – Number of wins Kevin Harvick has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2014)

2 – Number of wins Kevin Harvick has during the 2017 season; including one during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – (Sonoma, Texas-2).

3 – Number of times Kevin Harvick has made it to the Championship 4 in the new Playoff format.

6 – Number of stage wins Kevin Havick has posted during the 2017 season.

6.9 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway – best all-time.

8 – Number of top-five finishes Kevin Harvick has posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway – most all-time.

10.9 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish during the first nine races of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

11.3 – Kevin Harvick’s average finish during the 2017 season.

12 –  Kevin Harvick’s career Playoff wins (second to Jimmie Johnson’s 29).

13 – Number of top-five finishes Kevin Harvick has logged during the 2017 season.

14 – Number of top-10 finishes Kevin Harvick has recorded at Homestead-Miami Speedway – most all-time.

22 – Number of top-10 finishes Kevin Harvick has tallied this season.

102.7 – Kevin Harvick’s 2017 driver rating – third-best in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

106.0 – Kevin Harvick’s career driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway (best among the Championship 4).

315 – Total number of laps led at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Kevin Harvick (second among active drivers, but first among the Championship 4).

 

Happy Hits Homestead: Harvick Hopes To Take Home Second Championship In Miami

Kevin Harvick will attempt to capture his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title in Sunday’s season finale Ford EcoBoost 400 Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The No. 4 Ford driver won the inaugural Championship 4 Race in 2014 at Homestead for his first and only series crown.

In 16 starts at the 1.5-mile track, Harvick claims one win, eight top fives and 14 top 10s. He has the track series-best average finish (6.9), second-ranked driver rating (106.0) and third-best average running position (8.9). His 315 laps led at Homestead rank second among active drivers and fourth all-time.

He has finished in the top three and has led at least 46 laps in his last three Homestead starts.

Harvick Enters Sunday’s Race In Good Form

Harvick has shown off his speed lately with four consecutive top-eight finishes. He’s especially performed well lately at 1.5-mile tracks. In the four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs races at intermediate tracks, Harvick finished third with 59 laps led (Chicagoland), third with 149 laps led (Charlotte), eighth with 37 laps led (Kansas) and first with 38 laps led (Texas).

NASCAR’s Intermediate Master

Since 2014, Kevin Harvick has arguably been the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ top driver on intermediate tracks.

He’s led a series-best 2,450 laps at tracks spanning 1.5 or 1.54 miles. Following Harvick are Martin Truex Jr. with 2,209 laps led and Brad Keselowski with 1,305 laps led.

Harvick also ranks first since 2014 in average finish (9.6), top fives (22) and top 10s (34) at intermediate tracks. Trailing Harvick in average finish are fellow Championship 4 drivers Kyle Busch (9.92) and Truex (9.93). Harvick is followed in top fives by Joey Logano (21) and Busch (18). His top 10s outpace Brad Keselowski’s mark of 30 and Logano’s total of 29.

Despite his statistical success on intermediate tracks since 2014, Harvick has struggled to close the races at times. His five wins at intermediate tracks are only the fourth-most in the series. He’s behind Jimmie Johnson (10), Truex (8) and Keselowski (6).

 

Stewart-Haas Racing Can Win Third Championship In Nine Years

If Kevin Harvick wins the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title on Sunday, he would give Stewart-Haas Racing its third championship in the nine years since Tony Stewart left Joe Gibbs Racing to form the team with Gene Haas.

Stewart won the organization its first championship in 2011, while Harvick earned the second title for it in 2014.

Over the same time frame only Hendrick Motorsports has more titles with Jimmie Johnson’s four.

Championships With Different Manufacturers

Kevin Harvick won his 2014 championship in a Chevrolet, but this year he is piloting a Ford. The last driver to win a new championship with a separate manufacturer was Harvick’s team owner, Tony Stewart. He earned the 2002 crown racing a Pontiac, then captured the 2005 and 2011 titles driving a Chevrolet.

Nine drivers have won championships with multiple manufacturers: Buck Baker, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, David Pearson, Lee Petty, Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty, Tim Flock and Stewart.

Harvick/Childers A Dream Combination

Since joining forces at Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2014 season, the driver/crew chief pairing of Kevin Harvick and Rodney Childers has amassed 14 wins, 67 top fives, 99 top 10s and one championship in 143 starts.

Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway marks the third Championship 4 appearance for Harvick and Childers in their four years together.

An accomplished driver himself, Childers won seven World Karting Association championships in South Carolina and five championships at the national level. He made a NASCAR XFINITY Series start in 2000.

Childers, 41, won three races as a crew chief for Michael Waltrip Racing (two with David Reutimann and one with Brian Vickers) before leaving for SHR in 2014.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Kurt Busch: “Homestead Is A Lot Of Fun To Race On”

Kurt Busch

 It seems like just yesterday that Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500. But alas, just 35 races have come and gone and now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is coming to an end at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has one win, six top-five finishes and 15 top-10s in 2017 but would love to add one more to each of those totals.

At Homestead, he has two poles, one win, four top-five finishes and six top-10s. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 97 laps, has an average starting position of 13.9, an average finish of 18.1, and has completed 88.6 percent (3,789 of 4,278) of the laps he’s contested there.

And he’s one of the few drivers who competed on the previous version of the oval, banked at just six degrees in the turns, to the current banking of 18 to 20 degrees. He competed on the previous version three times from 2000 to 2002, while driving on the new version since 2003.

Busch has also won a Cup Series championship at the track in 2004.

He went into that weekend with an 18-point lead in the standings. He started on the pole and, needing only to finish ahead of four drivers – Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin – Busch was able to run with the leaders for the first 90 laps until, as he was coming to pit road, the right-front wheel broke off his racecar. He miraculously missed hitting the outside pit wall by less than a foot, then was able to make his way to his pit stall and remain on the lead lap despite the setback.

From there, Busch, who was driving a Ford, moved forward through the caution-filled race and, while his two closest championship rivals Johnson and Gordon took second and third place, respectively, Busch’s fifth-place finish – his 21st top-10 of the year – was enough to win during the first year of a playoff-style championship format.

Two years prior to scoring the championship at Homestead, Busch celebrated his lone victory there while his current teammate and car co-owner Tony Stewart celebrated winning the first of his three Cup Series championships on the frontstretch. Busch led the first 10 laps, passed Ryan Newman on lap 256, and held onto the lead in the 267-lap season finale, bringing home his fourth victory of the 2002 season.

Both Busch and veteran crew chief Tony Gibson are hoping they can put together another successful weekend.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Talk about racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Homestead is a fast, mile-and-a-half racetrack. It’s a sister racetrack to Texas, to me. It’s an older racetrack, the worn-out asphalt is similar to Texas and, if you ran well at Texas, you’ll run well at Miami. There’s a lot that carries over from one to the other. Since 2004, there’s been a nostalgic feeling when I get to Homestead. Winning the championship in the first year of the Chase format was a magical time for me.”

What’s it like for you, as a driver, to have seen Homestead change so much over the years?

“Homestead is a lot of fun to race on, both the old configuration and the current configuration with the multiple grooves of banking. With the old configuration, it was all about the bottom of the racetrack, how you could exit the corner and make the straightaways longer. It was all about the softest springs you could run because you wanted the car as low as possible. Now, with the way the cars are set up, you have to have stiffer springs to manage the banking. You have to shoot for the middle. You run the middle groove in practice. That way, you can get to the bottom and not have your car so far off on setup, and then you can go to the high groove when the tires wear out to keep your momentum up high. But then, you have those crazy restarts and that is what this racetrack is perfectly designed for – that mad dash at the beginning with fresh tires. It’s the ultimate place because it puts it more in the driver’s hands.”

Talk a little bit about the race at Homestead from a fan’s perspective.

“NASCAR has always been about family. A family can come and find all types of different activities around the event. Perfect weather, usually. The race ends right around nightfall, so you can get back home before it gets too late on that Sunday night and get the kids back to school on Monday.”

Haas Automation/Monster Energy Racing Team Report
Round 36 of 36 –  Ford EcoBoost 400 – Homestead

 

Car No.: 41 – Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion

 

PR Contact: Joe Crowley, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388, ext. 808, Joe.Crowley@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)

Primary Team Members:
Driver: Kurt Busch
Hometown: Las Vegas
Crew Chief: Tony Gibson
Hometown: Daytona Beach, Florida
Car Chief: Chad Haney
Hometown: Fairmont, West Virginia

Engine Builder: Roush-Yates Engines
Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Todd Hamm
Hometown: Kutztown, Pennsylvania

 

Spotter: Tony Raines
Hometown: LaPorte, Indiana

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:
Gas Man: Rick Pigeon
Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont
Front Tire Changer: Shane Pipala
Hometown: Frankfort Square, Illinois

Second Gas Man: Matt Schlytter

Hometown: Ponte Vedra, Florida

Front Tire Carrier: Jon Bernal
Hometown: Holland, Michigan
Windshield: Jay Guarneri (also serves as interior mechanic)
Hometown: Naples, Florida
Rear Tire Changer: Coleman Dollarhide
Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina
Jackman: Sean Cotten
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Rear Tire Carrier: Dwayne Moore
Hometown: Griffin, Georgia
Road Crew Members:
Truck Driver: Todd Cable and Rocky Boggs
Hometowns: Shelby, North Carolina, and Burlington, North Carolina
Tire Specialist: Jeff Zarrella
Hometown: Southington, Connecticut
Shock Specialist: Brian Holshouser
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Engineers: Johnny Klausmeier and Mike Cook
Hometowns: Perry Hall, Maryland, and Annapolis, Maryland

Mechanic: J.D. Frey
Hometown: Ferndale, California

 

Mechanic: Andy Spenner
Hometown: Hoyleton, Illinois
Chassis No. 1040:
Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 1040 in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He raced it in March at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California and finished 24th. He then raced the chassis in May at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and finished 19th. He then used it in August at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where he started 15th and finished 11th. The last time the chassis was used was in October at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, where Busch started 13th and finished 20th.
Homestead Notes of Interest:
·   The Ford EcoBoost 400 will mark Busch’s 612th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 17th at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch has two poles, one win, four top-five finishes and six top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 97 laps, has an average starting position of 13.9, an average finish of 18.1, and has completed 88.6 percent (3,789 of 4,278) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

·   Busch has career total totals of 29 wins, 22 poles, 131 top-fives, 258 top-10s and 8,877 laps led in 611 starts.

 

·   His most recent Cup Series win came 35 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 26).

 

·   His last Cup Series pole came two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth(Nov. 3).

 

·   Previous Winner – Busch started from the pole and led 28 laps at Homestead en route to recording his fourth Sprint Cup victory on Nov. 17, 2002.At the age of 24 years, 3 months, 13 days, Busch became the youngest winner at the track – a record that still stands.

 

·   The Las Vegas native has two poles to his credit (2002, 2004) at Homestead. Busch has 22 career Sprint Cup poles.

 

·   Busch has made one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Homestead. He finished ninth in 2000.

 

·   Thus Far in 2017 – Busch has accumulated one win, six top-five finishes and 15 top-10s in 35 starts.

 

·   Get to the Points – With his 21st-place finish last Sunday at Phoenix Raceway, Busch is 15th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 2,193 points.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!