Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (16875)

Michael McDowell
No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford Mustang
Started: 37th | Finished: 26th
"Kansas proved to be a really tough race. On Friday, we struggled a lot to find speed and dial in our car, but luckily I have a great group of guys on my team and they were able to rebound and get it in better shape for the race. Although we lacked some speed, I feel like we learned a lot and can take away some valuable information to apply to our mile and a half program."
Matt Tifft
No. 36 OutWest Express Ford Mustang
Started: 26th | Finished: 21st
"Our run at Kansas was one that we really, really needed. We performed well in the middle part of the race, which set us up for a good run at the end, putting us close to the lead lap. We were able to take the wave around a couple of times, but ultimately just didn't have enough laps to be able to make our way into the top-20. It was a great effort from our whole team. I feel like we were able to rebound from a difficult situation last week and have the kind of race that we really needed. It was great to have OutWest Express on the car with us and I hope we can have them back again at some point this season. Looking forward to coming home over the next couple of weeks to race in Charlotte."
David Ragan
No. 38 Mystik Lubricants Ford Mustang
Started: 24th | Finished: 27th
"It was a hard fought night under the lights at Kansas Speedway. We went 2 laps down early in the race after having a right rear tire go down and didn’t have the speed to make them back up. It was great to have Mystik Lubricants along with us for their first race of the season. I can’t wait to have them back on the car later this year at Texas Motor Speedway. Until then, we will keep working on improving the speed and handling of our Fords and come back stronger at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend."

FRM PR

Brad Keselowski won his 30th career NASCAR Cup win and 21st with Ford Performance in a thrilling overtime performance at Kansas Speedway. With a lot of grit and determination, Keselowski drove to his third win of the year in Kansas City, Kansas for Team Penske and the No. 2 crew.

“Congratulations to Brad, Roger, and crew,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “We saw an epic battle tonight, but Brad kept digging and never gave up until he took the checkered flag. These are the moments we live for in racing and remember for a long time afterwards. We are privileged to be part of this winning combination with Brad, Team Penske and Ford Performance.”

Pole winner and 2019 defending Kansas race winner, Kevin Harvick and Kansas native, Clint Bowyer led the forty-car field to the green flag on Saturday night at Kansas Speedway.

Harvick went onto lead a race high 105 laps on his way to winning Stage 1 of the Digital Ally 400. Five different Ford Mustangs led throughout the race to lead a combined 141 laps out of the extended 271-lap race.

The No. 2, Team Penske Ford Mustang, powered by the Ford FR9 engine, led two times for 12 laps. After going down a lap early in the race, it looked like it would be a long way back, but with grit, determination, and great pit call strategies by Paul Wolfe, he put the No. 2 in position to challenge for the win during over-time.

In a two-lap overtime shootout, Keselowski, beat Alex Bowman to the checkered flag by .205 seconds, as the race went four laps beyond its scheduled 267. This marked Team Penske’s fourth win of the season.

“I am just thankful to be at this level,” commented Keselowski in Victory Lane. “I never dreamed I would ever be in the Cup Series. I just dreamed of making a living in racing. I worked with guys like Mike Mittler who taught me the grit and energy and effort you have to have to be successful in this sport. Mike was local to this area and he passed away yesterday. It hurts to lose guys like that because they mean so much to me and the sport. I think this was hopefully something he would be proud of.”

Bowyer also battled hard, finishing P5, with Roush Fenway Racing’s, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finishing P11, followed by Aric Almirola P12, Harvick P13, Daniel Suárez P14, and Joey Logano P15.

The NASCAR teams will head to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2019 All-Star Race this weekend. Reference the full 2019 schedule on www.roushyates.com.

RYE PR

Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway has garnered rave reviews for its parity and competitiveness. Fords, Chevrolets and Toyotas all led laps and played into the final outcome.

Brad Keselowski’s Kansas victory – his third win of the season - means the sport has seen drivers from all three manufacturers hoist trophies in the last three weeks – Chevrolet at Talladega, Toyota at Dover and Ford this past weekend.

It was a similar multi-manufacturer display directly atop the Kansas scoring pylon with Keselowski’s Ford leading Chevrolet’s Alex Bowman and Toyota’s Erik Jones to the checkered flag.

There were 10 different race leaders – eight of whom led double digit laps. Five of the drivers who finished in the top-15 at Kansas started 30th or worse. It all speaks to the possibilities that exist with this new technical package at the 1.5-mile tracks.

“With this package you have to be really scrappy and really fight for every spot," Joe Gibbs Racing driver Erik Jones said. “They’re just really valuable and really tough to get."

And that kind of “fight” for every position, every lap is what the NASCAR sanctioning body has been intent to deliver. The racing is more naturally like that on the superspeedways at Talladega and Daytona, but judging by the race on Saturday night, it’s something to expect more of at the 1.5-mile tracks as the teams figure out the technical package and the drivers negotiate the intense competition on every lap.

It’s all a positive sign for the sport as it heads into the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. The popular $1 million-to-win All-Star event in NASCAR’s North Carolina backyard is followed a week later at the track by the longest event on the schedule – the Coca-Cola 600 –  all capping a highly-anticipated Memorial Day race slate.

Last year’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star race was essentially a high-profile test ground for the new package that has since been implemented fulltime in 2019. It produced a thrilling show that included 38 green flag passes for the lead and ultimately a cool million dollar paycheck for winner Kevin Harvick.

Drivers fully expect to see a similarly competitive atmosphere in Charlotte during the next two weeks.

“I think it’s part package and part the way the race played out," Jones said of the Kansas weekend. “The package tonight was the closest iteration that NASCAR is, what I’m guessing, shooting for. We were very close to wide open and there was definitely some pack racing moments after the restarts and stuff like that."

Not only did Keselowski’s effort at Kansas tie him with Kyle Busch for most wins (three) on the season, his Team Penske teammate, reigning series champion Joey Logano wrangled the championship points lead away from Busch too. Logano now leads the 2015 champion (Busch) by nine-points heading into the non-points paying All-Star weekend – the first time in nine weeks Busch isn’t atop the series standings.

Perhaps more so than in years past, the always-anticipated Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race will not only be an opportunity to connect with fans and work toward a huge paycheck, it will be an important check-up for the team’s package heading into the 600-miler at the track the next week. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch is the last driver to win both the All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same season (2010) – in fact, he’s the only driver in the last decade to do so.

And with the 600’s evening start time, Keselowski was pretty sure Saturday’s Kansas night-time thriller would also be a good indicator of where things may stand for the Coca-Cola 600.

“I felt like going into this race that this would be a good – especially with it being a night race and being cool temps, this would be a strong showing for these rules and for the ability to pass and do those things," Keselowski said. “And obviously I’m a little biased because I won the race, but I felt like it was.

“I feel like you saw the cars run closer than they probably ever have here and saw some pretty good battles throughout the day. And that's definitely because the rules package. It has its strengths and weaknesses, and if there's going to be a strength, it's going to be races like this, and I feel like it delivered."

Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Dutch Boy Mustang had a fast start but ended up with a frustrating 24th-place finish in Saturday night’s Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Menard qualified 16th but started 10th after six drivers ahead of him in qualifying failed a pre-race inspection. He quickly drove up to fourth place and remained in the top five through a competition caution at Lap 30.

The Menards/Dutch Boy team opted for four fresh tires during the caution period while others took just two, which dropped him to 14th place for the restart. But he drove his way back into the top 10 before contact with the outside wall near the end of Stage One knocked him of the top 20.

The team made repairs during the caution period following the first 80-lap Stage, and Menard quickly drove from the back up to 15th place and maintained his position through the end of Stage Two.

Menard continued to run in or around the top 15 until a round of green-flag pit stops with about 40 laps remaining. Just after Menard made his stop, the caution flag flew, trapping him a lap down.
 
The bad luck got worse when a tire blew with six laps remaining, forcing an unscheduled pit stop that left him 24th at the finish.

 “We were really good at the start of the race,” Eddie Wood said. “And even after hitting the wall, we ran good again.
 
“It looked like we were going to be OK, but it was tough back there in traffic, and then we had a flat tire late.

 “Paul was able to make up some of the spots we lost changing the tire, so we’ll take that, head home and spend Sunday with our mom and wish all the other moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day.”
 
Menard and the Wood Brothers team return to the track next week for the Monster Energy All-Star weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

WBR PR

Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

● Daniel Suárez started Stage 1 from the 34th position and ended the stage 29th.

● Suárez was in the 27th spot when the competition caution came out on lap 30.

● The Haas Automation driver reported his Mustang was tight on exit and free on entry. Suárez came down pit road for fuel, two right-side tires and adjustments. He restarted 12th on lap 35.

● The second caution came out on lap 59 while Suárez was 17th. He stayed out and restarted in the eighth position on lap 65.

● In a 14-lap shootout to the stage end, the Ford driver dropped back to 29th with an ill-handling Mustang.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● The No. 41 driver started Stage 2 in 24th and completed it in 25th.

● Suárez began Stage 2 in 24th after pitting for fuel, four tires and adjustments.

● Suárez came down pit road on lap 143 for a scheduled green-flag stop for four tires, fuel and adjustments and returned to the track in the 27th position.

● The 27-year-old worked his way back up to 25th, where he ended the stage.

● Suárez stayed out during the Stage 2 break and took the wave-around to start the final stage on the lead lap.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-271):

● Suárez began the final stage in 24th and concluded it in 14th.

● The Mexican native made his only scheduled green-flag pit stop of the stage on lap 208 from 21st for fuel, four tires and adjustments. He returned to the track 24th.

● The caution came out on lap 217 with Suárez in the 20th spot while green-flag stops were still cycling through. He took the wave-around to gain one of his two laps back.

● After the restart, the Haas Automation driver worked his way forward and came down pit road under caution on lap 242 for four tires and adjustments. He restarted 22nd.

● The final caution came out with a just a few laps to go, and Suárez was the beneficiary of the free pass. Suárez pitted for four tires and adjustments and returned to the track in the 14th spot, where he ultimately finished.

 

Notes:

● Suárez earned his eighth top-15 of the season and his second top-15 in five career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kansas.

● Brad Keselowski won the Digital Ally 400 to score his 30th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his second at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Alex Bowman was .205 of a second.

● There were seven caution periods for a total of 41 laps.

● Only 14 of the 40 drivers in the Digital Ally 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Joey Logano leaves Kansas as the new championship leader with a nine-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.

 

Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Demo Day Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

We’re leaving Kansas with a 14th-place finish. We were able to make something out of our day with the Haas Automation Mustang. We battled a few different things and one of those was a hole in the nose of the car, but Billy and the guys kept after it and we came back from two laps down to finish on the lead lap.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the nonpoints Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race on Saturday, May 18 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 6 p.m. with the undercard Monster Energy Open.

TSC PR

In a race that provided a lot of highs and lows, Ryan Newman crossed the line 23rd in his Performance Plus Oil Ford Mustang Saturday night under the lights at Kansas Speedway.

After riding around 20th for a good portion of the race, Newman and the team looked to solve the handling issues with around 100 to go and were locked into the top-10. But, a pit road penalty cost Newman the track position which ultimately led to the finish.

The South Bend, Indiana, native qualified 28th in Friday’s single-car session, but actually started 19th after nine cars failed pre-race technical inspection Saturday afternoon. With the first two stages running 80 laps each, Newman was 21st at the time of the competition yellow at lap 30.

After the team put two right-side tires on his machine, he lined back up seventh for the restart. The yellow was again displayed at lap 60, just 20 laps before the break, and Newman stayed out. He would restart second with 15 to go in the stage, but his handling faded causing him to cross the line 20th.

The team went to work to try and fine-tune his handling issues, and by the time he would pit under green at lap 122 he was too loose. However, 20 laps after the stop Newman reported it was his best balance of the race, before he finished 21st to end stage two.

Following more adjustments on pit road under the break, Newman gained four spots for the restart, and less than 20 laps later had driven into the top-10. The third and final stage ran caution-free until lap 216 when Newman hit pit road for service.

While in his pit stall, the left rear tire rolled away from the car, which resulted in a penalty, but also brought out the yellow for debris on the grass. He would go on to lose two laps to the leaders, forcing him to restart 32nd at lap 228.

Over the course of the final laps Newman would pit one final time for four fresh tires, but was never able to gain a lap back. He did however advance through the lapped cars to cross the line 23rd.

Newman and the No. 6 team return to action next weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the All-Star Race. Newman is locked in to the All-Star event by way of his previous win in the race. Race coverage for The Open begins at 6 p.m. on FS1, with the All-Star Race to immediately follow. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.

RFR PR

After leading 11 laps in Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Kansas Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his SunnyD Ford to an 11th-place finish after the race was sent into overtime.

“My guys gave me a really good car,” Stenhouse said. “Yesterday we struggled with the balance and I think they changed everything on our SunnyD Ford before qualifying. After our last couple of weeks, it was good to run up front, lead laps, and contend for the win.”

After posting the 21st fastest lap on Friday evening, the Olive Branch, Miss. native lined up 14th for the 267-lap race after seven cars of the top-20 failed post-qualifying tech. Stenhouse quickly worked his way inside the top-10 and was scored in the seventh position when the competition yellow waved on lap 30 for rain overnight. Despite battling a loose handling machine, Stenhouse ended stage one in the third position gaining seven valuable stage points.

With a caution free stage two, the two-time Xfinity champion steadily ran in the top-10 for the 80-lap stage. Crew chief Brian Pattie chose to long pit allowing Stenhouse to be on point before relinquishing the lead for a scheduled two-tire stop. The gamble paid off allowing Stenhouse to take the second green-checkered in the fifth position and once again picking up valuable stage points.

For the final stage, the Roush Fenway Racing driver lined up in the sixth position and quickly maneuvered his SunnyD Ford up to the second position within 15 laps. When the yellow flag waved on lap 217, Pattie called him to pit-road for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment in hopes to help the loose handling condition.

After the caution flag waved on lap 240, Stenhouse lined up in the third position for the final 27 lap shootout. With the restarts being dicey, Stenhouse dove to the bottom taking the lead with 19 laps remaining. While racing for position, Stenhouse made slight contact with the outside wall costing him a few positions.

When the final caution flag waved on lap 263 sending the race into overtime, Pattie called Stenhouse to pit-road for four tires, fuel, and to clear the fenders for the final shootout. Stenhouse lined up in the 13th position for the final restart and was able to pick up two positions in the final two laps to take the checkered flag in the 11th position.

RFR PR

Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner:  Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Clint Bowyer started third, finished eighth and earned three bonus points.

Bowyer held his second-place starting spot but dropped to fourth before the competition caution at lap 30.

Bowyer took only two tires and restarted the race in second.

Bowyer jumped to the lead on the restart and held it laps 37 through 48.

He reported his car was loose and struggled in the outside groove.

Bowyer pitted for four tires on lap 63 and drove up to eighth by the time of the stage’s conclusion.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Started fifth, finished eighth and earned three bonus points.

Bowyer raced at the front of the field in the opening laps of the stage but faded back, battling handling issues.

He pitted on lap 123 for tires and fuel.

Bowyer and the crew worked throughout the stage to improve the handling and finished eighth.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-271):

Started ninth, finished fifth.

Bowyer continued to struggle with handling and dropped to 12th in the running order.

Bowyer said that late in green-flag runs the handling improved, but needed to be better.

Crew continued to make major adjustments to improve the handling.

Bowyer was ready to make his final green-flag stop of the race on lap 217 when a debris caution came out. He stayed on the track and moved to sixth.

Crew took the opportunity of being only one of seven cars on the lead lap and made major handling changes during the pit stop. Bowyer restarted the race in sixth with 43 laps remaining.

Those changes worked, helping Bowyer stay at the front of the field until contact with Kyle Busch dropped him to eighth.

It appeared that would be where Bowyer would finish, but a caution with four laps remaining set up an overtime finish.

Bowyer elected to pit for right-side tires and restarted the overtime in eighth.

He jumped out on the restart and looked like he would battle for the victory, but Bowyer had to avoid an accident when Erik Jones blocked him as the field raced the final two laps.

Bowyer crossed the finish line in fifth.

 

Notes:

● Bowyer earned his fourth top-five and seventh top-10 of the season.

● This was the Emporia, Kan. native's third top-five and seventh top-10 in 22 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kansas.

● This was Bowyer’s second straight top-10. He finished ninth last week at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

● Bowyer finished eighth in Stage 1 to earn three bonus points and eighth in Stage 2 to earn three more bonus points.

● Bowyer led once for 12 laps to increase his laps-led total at Kansas to 63.

● Brad Keselowski won the Digital Ally 400 to score his 30th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his second at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Alex Bowman was .205 of a second.

● There were seven caution periods for a total of 41 laps.

● Only 14 of the 40 drivers in the Digital Ally 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Joey Logano leaves Kansas as the new championship leader with a nine-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.

 

Clint Bowyer, Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Mobil 1 Ford Mustang:

“Tonight wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be. We struggled with handling, especially as soon as the night fell and it got dark outside we were not handling at all. It was tight and it was loose and on top of the race track. With two stops to go we came in and raised the back of the car up and we got better in traffic and were able to race. Then all hell broke loose on the restart and things like that. It was tires, no tires, two tires. Everyone was on different strategies, people were a lap down that should have been up front. It was hard to even figure out who you were racing. We should have finished second. I had a huge run on both those guys but that kid (Jones), I guess he was willing to wreck himself to hold the position. It is frustrating. It is always disappointing when you come here and don't get a win. A top-five was a solid night for us. We did a good job of fighting for that finish because it probably wasn’t exactly where we deserved to run the way we ran all night.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the nonpoints Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race on Saturday, May 18 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 6 p.m. with the undercard Monster Energy Open.

TSC PR

To say Clint Bowyer was annoyed at the end of Saturday night’s Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway is putting it mildly.

In the two-lap overtime shootout that decided the race, Bowyer had a strong run through the tri-oval coming to the white flag, but as Bowyer’s No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford flashed across the start/finish line, Erik Jones steered his No. 20 Toyota up the track and blocked Bowyer’s progress.

Bowyer could have driven through the Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s car, but he broke momentum, essentially giving Jones a break, rather than wrecking him. That kindness, however, cost Bowyer positions at the finish.

“We should have finished second,” said Bowyer, who had to settle for fifth. “I had a huge run on both those guys (Jones and race runner-up Alex Bowman), but that kid, I guess he was willing to wreck himself to hold the position

“Yeah, that wasn’t very smart. If it had been another scenario where I would have had some room, I would have just turned him in front of the whole field, and he would be back there wishing he wouldn’t have done that. Oh, well.”

 

ERIK JONES HAS NO REGRETS ABOUT PROTECTING HIS POSITION

Though Clint Bowyer had a few choice words for Erik Jones after the race, Jones wasn’t about to surrender his position after the final restart, even if it meant blocking Bowyer’s run.

As it was, with his third-place run, Jones matched his best finish of the season, and he was unapologetic about blocking Bowyer to start the final lap.

“I think it was just racing,” Jones said. “We’re racing hard, and I think this (competition) package really kind of leads into a lot of blocking and a lot of protecting your position.

“And we’re taking the white flag. I’m not going to give up a lane and give up two, three, four spots if he would have gotten to the inside. Besides that, the DeWalt Camry was good. We had a car that could have won. We just got in the wrong spot at the end of the race, and we weren’t able to capitalize on it.”

Jones’ third-place performance followed a sixth on Monday at Dover.

“We’ll keep moving forward,” he said. “It’s been two good weeks. This was the best car we’ve had in a long time—since Texas (where Jones finished fourth on March 31)—and it’s nice to be up in contention and have that shot.”

 

CHEVROLETS MAKE STRONG SHOWING IN KANSAS NIGHT RACE

When the curtain fell on Saturday night’s Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway, seven Chevrolets—starting with runner-up Alex Bowman—were scored in the top 10, a high-water mark for the manufacturer this season.

Stage 2 winner Chase Elliott ran fourth and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, capped a late-race charge with a sixth-place result.

Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson came home seventh and eighth, respectively, and Tyler Reddick and Chris Buescher were ninth and 10th. It was the second Cup start for Reddick.

For Buescher, it was the second top 10 of the year and his best run since finishing ninth at Atlanta in February.

Race winner Brad Keselowski took note of the collective results of the Chevys and of Bowman’s third straight second-place run.

“Yeah, the 88 (Bowman) the last two weeks has looked very, very strong,” Keselowski said. “He looked when I was behind him here today, very, very strong. I think they're definitely starting to hit their stride, for sure, and we can't let our guard down.”

Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Kevin Harvick started first, finished first and collected 10 bonus points and one playoff point.

● On lap 10, Harvick was leading but said the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Mustang was a bit loose.

● At the competition caution on lap 30, Harvick led by 3.92 seconds, but he said his car was quite loose. He pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Several cars took just two tires, and Harvick restarted 11th.

● After going from 11th to fourth in one lap on the restart, Harvick then retook the lead on lap 49.

● On lap 62, Harvick pitted for right-side tires and fuel. Several cars stayed out, so Harvick restarted 10th.

● By lap 72 Harvick had passed Chase Elliott for the lead.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Started second, finished second and collected nine bonus points.

● Harvick pitted on lap 84 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. He restarted second behind Kurt Busch, who took only two tires.

● On lap 123, while leading, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.

● Harvick said his car was out of control in the back and shoving the front on lap 145, but he finished the stage in second place.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-271):

Started first, finished 13th.

● On lap 163, Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.

● Harvick pitted on lap 178 while leading, thinking he had a flat tire. He took on two tires and fuel, and the crew cleaned a large piece of debris off the grille. He restarted 27th and the crew found no issues with the tire. It is believed that the debris caused the issue.

● With 50 laps to go, a caution came out and Harvick was 11th, one lap down, as cars were pitting. Harvick was not the Lucky Dog so did not get his lap back. He pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.

● On lap 224, Harvick restarted 14th, one lap down.

● He pitted on lap 242 for four tires and fuel.

● Harvick pitted for the final time on lap 265 for two tires and fuel and restarted ninth. He finished the race in 13th.

 

Notes:

●  Harvick won Stage 1 to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point and finished second in Stage 2 to earn an additional nine bonus points.

●  Harvick led five times for a race-high 104 laps to increase his laps-led total at Kansas to 855.

●  Brad Keselowski won the Digital Ally 400 to score his 30th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his second at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Alex Bowman was .205 of a second.

●  There were seven caution periods for a total of 41 laps.

●  Only 14 of the 40 drivers in the Digital Ally 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  Joey Logano leaves Kansas as the new championship leader with a nine-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the nonpoints Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race on Saturday, May 18 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 6 p.m. with the undercard Monster Energy Open.

TSC PR

Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

● Aric Almirola started 33rd, finished 13th.

● Almirola raced his Smithfield Ford Mustang into the top-20 by lap 16.

● He pitted during the lap-30 competition caution for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments and gained one spot off pit road.

● After restarting 18th, he drove the No. 10 Ford as high as fifth place before a caution was called on lap 60. During the caution period he pitted for two tires and fuel to restart 11th.

● Almirola noted that the handling was much worse on just two fresh tires, and he was unable to drive through the field like he did with four tires.

● At the conclusion of the stage, he pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Started 11th, finished 13th.

● Almirola pitted under green-flag conditions on lap 124 for four tires, fuel and adjustments.

● Toward the end of the stage, spotter Joel Edmonds told the team they were turning some of the fastest lap times on the track.

● The No. 10 pitted at the end of Stage 2 for four tires and fuel.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-271):

● Started 11th, finished 12th.

● Almirola pitted under green on lap 218, but the caution was called while he was on pit road. He restarted 10th when racing resumed.

● He raced the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang in and around the top-10 until another caution was called with four laps to go.

● Almirola pitted during the caution period for four tires and fuel. He came off pit road in 10th.

● He battled just outside the top-10 during the two-lap shootout before crossing the finish line.

 

Notes:

●  This was Almirola’s fourth straight top-15 at Kansas. 

●  Brad Keselowski won the Digital Ally 400 to score his 30th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his second at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Alex Bowman was .205 of a second.

●  There were seven caution periods for a total of 41 laps.

●  Only 14 of the 40 drivers in the Digital Ally 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  Joey Logano leaves Kansas as the new championship leader with a nine-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.

 

Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang:

“We had a fast Smithfield Ford Mustang to start the race. We drove from the back all the way up to the top-five but couldn’t seem to find that speed for the rest of the race. We’ll keep working hard to improve each weekend.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the nonpoints Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race on Saturday, May 18 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 6 p.m. with the undercard Monster Energy Open.

TSC PR

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