Date: November 3, 2019
Event: AAA Texas 500 (Round 34 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedwayin Fort Worth(1.5-mile oval)
Format: 334 laps, broken into three stages (85 laps/85 laps/164 laps)
Start/Finish: 1st/1st (Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
Point Standing: 2nd (4,113 points, 1 win – ADVANCES TO CHAMPIONSHIP 4)
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):
● Kevin Harvick started from the pole and finished first, collecting 10 bonus points and a playoff point.
● The No. 4 Busch Beer Ducks Unlimited Ford Mustang took the lead on the start and led 43 laps during the stage.
● On lap 38, while leading, Harvick said the car was a bit too tight in the center at the exit of turn two.
● Harvick pitted on lap 45 for fuel only.
● The race restarted on lap 85 and Harvick was able to pass his teammate Clint Bowyer for the lead and won the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):
● Kevin Harvick started 19th and finished sixth and earned five bonus points.
● The No. 4 Busch Beer Ducks Unlimited Ford Mustang pitted on lap 88 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
● By laps 125, Harvick had moved from 18th to 10th.
● Harvick said on lap 132 that his car was too loose in turns three and four.
● On lap 150, Harvick moved into second place.
● Harvick pitted for fuel only while leading on lap 153.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 171-334):
● Kevin Harvick started 14th and finished first.
● The No. 4 Busch Beer Ducks Unlimited Ford Mustang pitted on lap 174 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
● On lap 188, Harvick came down pit road for a fuel-only stop but was penalized for a tire positioned over the wall too early, sending him to be tail end of the lead-lap cars on the ensuing restart.
● He worked his way toward the front during the run and was up to third by lap 245, when he pitted for four tires, fuel and a pressure adjustment.
● Ten laps later, Harvick took the lead for the fifth time in the race and held the point for 52 laps, when he made his final schedule fuel-and-tire stop on lap 307.
● Harvick took the lead for good on lap 314 when the leaders completed their final scheduled stops, leading a 1-2-3 SHR finish at the checkered flag.
● Harvick’s victory was his fourth win, 13th top-five and 24th top-10 of the season, and his third victory, 11th top-five and 22nd top-10 in 34 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas.
● This is Harvick’s 49th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win. He is now tied with SHR co-owner and 2020 NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart for 14th on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series win list.
● The victory qualified Harvick and the No. 4 team for the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
● This was Harvick’s 26th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory since joining SHR in 2014. Harvick has scored more than half of his career NASCAR Cup Series victories in his six years with SHR. The rest came in his 13 previous Cup Series seasons (2001-2013).
● This is Harvick’s 11th straight top-10 at Texas. He finished eighth in the series’ last visit to the track in March.
● Harvick’s 11 consecutive top-10s at Texas are the most among the active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers.
● This is Harvick’s third straight top-10 and his ninth top-10 in the last 10 races. He finished seventh in the series’ last race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
● Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has only one finish outside the top-10 at Texas. All three of his victories at the track have come in consecutive seasons and with the No. 4 team.
● Harvick led six times for 119 laps to increase his laps-led total at Texas to 614.
● In his last three Texas playoff-race wins, Harvick led one-third of all possible laps – 334 of 1,002.
● SHR teammate Aric Almirola finished second and Daniel Suarez came home third to secure the second 1-2-3 finish in SHR history. Bowyer, Harvick and then-teammate Kurt Busch earned the trifecta in June 2018 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
● Harvick’s margin of victory over Almirola was 1.594 seconds.
● Ford took the top-four finishing positions and five in the top-10 in the AAA Texas 500.
● Harvick’s victory in the AAA Texas 500 marked the 71st overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s 55th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win, its fourth of the season and its fourth at Texas.
● This was SHR’s 19th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
● This was Ford’s 15th all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Texas. Ford has the most wins of any manufacturer at Texas, and it has won the last three AAA Texas 500s – all with Harvick.
● All four SHR cars led multiple green-flag laps in the AAA Texas 500 for a total of 242 of 334 possible race laps.
● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 56 laps.
● Only 14 of the 40 drivers in the AAA Texas 500finished on the lead lap.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ducks Unlimited Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
How do you feel about making it to the Final Four again? Is it old hat for you, or is it a new experience every time and something to be really enjoyed?
“You know, I think every year is different. For me, I would tell you that I just — I don’t think we’ve run as well as we’ve probably wanted to run week in and week out compared to the things that we expect. But this particular year has been neat for me to sit back and watch the evolution of how we progressed with the race cars, how the conversations have progressed, how my theories and things that I think are right and wrong have changed. It’s such a process of going to all these different racetracks. You know, there’s just a lot of choices of what you can do to the car and the things that you do, and not being the dominant car on the racetrack has made us work harder. The thing that I can tell you is it’s evolved into not making mistakes, and yes, Dustin (Long, reporter), we made it through the whole night without having a speeding penalty, so I don’t have to find you this next week to — we didn’t have a speeding penalty, so you’re off the hook. But that’s the type of scenario that — it’s like tonight where you have the pit road penalty, you put it behind you, and you’re like, okay, well, now what do we do. We went right out and had a bad restart and went further backwards, then you had the penalty and you go all the way to the back and then you change the tires, and you’re like, okay, well, that’s over. And you have to start thinking about how you’re going to get back to the front, and we stayed out longer and the caution came out and next thing you know you’re on the right side of the cycle. So those are the types of things that we’ve been reminded of this year, that you have to think about things outside of the box because the box changes a lot. Obviously the rules changed a tremendous amount this year, and the thought processes and the things that you’ve done in the past are irrelevant. Any time you hear about — any time you hear about we did this last year, it’s like, I just stop him and say, there’s no reason to talk about last year because it is absolutely irrelevant to the things that we’ve done. The day that you stop thinking about how you’re going to evolve and get stuck in today and what you did yesterday is the day that this sport will leave you behind. You have to be very open-minded, and this is a progressive sport and you have to keep up with that progression on a weekly basis because it changes rapidly. And those are the types of things that I have really enjoyed this year, even though we haven’t been the dominant car. We’ve figured out how to win. We’ve figured out how to run fast and put ourselves in position to have chances to win races, and we’ve capitalized on the few chances that we’ve been in position to win, and that’s really — it’s been a good character-building year to have to battle in order to get yourself in position.”
Again, today (your son) Keelan set up the air pressure before the race and again you won.
“Yeah, I think he’s three for three or four for four. I think all four races he’s set the air pressure this year, so if anything we’re helping him with math. It’s fun to have him at the racetrack. Had a fun weekend. They have a great zoo here, in case you were wondering. We didn’t do much yesterday. But just really proud of everybody on this team. Just got to thank everybody from Busch Beer, from Hunt Brothers Pizza, Mobil 1, Jimmy John’s, everybody from Haas Automation and Stewart‑Haas Racing, Roush Yates engines for the last‑minute engine change and the things that they worked on to give us all the speed we had here, and it was definitely fun to drive.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bluegreen Vacations 500k on Sunday, Nov. 10 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. It is the penultimate race of the 10-race playoffs and the final race in the Round of 8.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!