Ford drivers don’t have a new car to decipher this year – as the Chevrolet camp does with the Camaro ZL1 – but Stewart-Haas Racing did just fine with a familiar platform in Friday’s qualifying session.
With Atlanta maven Kevin Harvick leading the way from the third position on the grid, all four SHR drivers will start from the top 11 spots in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, the second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season and the first without restrictor plates on the engines.
Harvick’s teammates – Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, and Aric Almirola – will start nose-to-tail on the inside row from seventh, ninth and 11th respectively. To Bowyer, the organization’s excellent performance in time trials represents a validation of their efforts.
“That’s a good start,” Bowyer said. “You always worry about, after Daytona, you get down to Atlanta and get to some of these mile-and-a-halves, and you wonder where you’re going to be. You’ve had a competitor (Chevrolet) get a new body this year, so you worry about that. There are a lot of unknowns as you go into the season off of a long offseason like we’ve had, but to have all four Stewart-Haas Fords in the top 11 and making that final round is very, very good for everybody involved.
“I have to thank the aero guys and the engine guys, everybody that makes up Stewart-Haas. It’s so fun to have a group like that that’s all racers. They all get it. They know the task at hand, and they all just get in there and get it done, and it’s fun to see. There are no oddballs at that place. Everybody fits in, and everybody chips in, and it’s a lot of fun to see.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!