Thursday, October 4, 2018

Stewart – Haas Racing’s 2018 Dover International Speedway Race Advance

Stewart – Haas Racing’s 2018 Dover International Speedway Race Advance
Stewart – Haas Racing’s 2018 Dover International Speedway Race Advance

In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Stewart – Haas Racing currently fields Ford Fusions for Kevin Harvick - #4; Aric Almirola - #10 , Clint Bowyer - #14 and Kurt Busch - #41. All four drivers advanced to the round of twelve last weekend.  This 'first-time' accomplishment is evident of the team’s grit, sweat and determination.

KEVIN HARVICK

Kevin Harvick - #NASCAR #4
The saying, “Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees” may take on a special meaning for Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Ford team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) this week as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 to kick off the Round of 12 in the NASCAR playoffs.

Winning the first race in the Round of 12 at Dover is the immediate focus, but the big picture remains the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Championship.

This weekend at Dover, Harvick will drive the No. 4 Busch Outdoors Ford Fusion in support of the National Forest Foundation. The foundation promotes the health and well-being of 193 million acres of public lands that people use every day to hunt, fish, camp and enjoy nature.

For every lap Harvick leads at Dover, Busch Beer will donate $1,000 to the National Forest Foundation up to $25,000. Each dollar donated is approximately equivalent to one tree being planted in a national forest, so if Harvick were to lead 25 laps at Dover, Busch Beer would be donating approximately 25,000 trees to national forest lands.

“Dover is the racetrack where you feel the sensation of speed more than anything. It’s a place where you drop off into the corner and slam into a lot of banking and then, as you come out of the corner, it’s kind of like jumping out of a hole and up onto the straightaway. It’s a really fun place to race. You feel that sensation of speed and you can be really aggressive.” Kevin Harvick describing what it’s like to take a lap around Dover.

ARIC ALMIROLA

Aric Almirola - #NASCAR #10
Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head to Dover International Speedway this weekend for the first race in the Round of 12 in this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. The Smithfield team looks for a much calmer weekend after a dramatic but successful end to the Round of 16 Sunday on the “roval” at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

It was a nail-biting final three laps on the Charlotte roval Sunday with every position turning out to be crucial for the No. 10 team’s ability to advance on to the Round of 12. Almirola’s 19th-place finish put him in a three-way tie with Kyle Larson and Jimmie Johnson, and his solid finishes in the previous two Round of 16 races Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Richmond (Va.) Raceway were enough to break the tie and vault him into the next playoff round.

“It’s crazy, I think back to Las Vegas and Stage 1 with two laps to go and I passed Ryan Newman for 10th and got one point,” Almirola said. “I think about Richmond with a couple of laps to go, the No. 3 car had run me down and I was doing everything I could to keep him behind me to run fifth, and I was able to stay in front of him. That one point made a difference. Then you think about the race at the roval and all of those cars I had to pass in the race. For most of the race we were good. Johnny (Klausmeier) kept telling me we’re good, we’re plus 18 (points), to save fuel, we’re plus 15. He was, like, just stay on the track, don’t make mistakes, don’t wreck, we’re good. Then we had that pileup on that restart late in the race and I get stopped, and then get hit from behind and pushed into the accident. I was, like, ‘Really? Come on.’ So we had to come down pit road and fix the car, again, and had to restart at the tail of the field. Johnny told me coming to the green that we needed six or seven spots and I was, like, ‘Here we go, we’re either going to make it or we’re not.’”

CLINT BOWYER

Clint Bowyer - #NASCAR #14
After breathing a deep sigh of relief Sunday night knowing he survived the roval carnage at Charlotte Motor Speedway, No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1/Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver Clint Bowyer is ready to kick off the Round of 12 of this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs this weekend at Dover International Speedway.

Bowyer and his No. 14 Ford Fusion team entered Sunday’s final race in the Round of 16 on the Charlotte roval four points out of the final transfer position. But he qualified seventh Friday, then racked up 14 bonus points in the first two stages of Sunday’s race while surviving three- and four-wide racing throughout and avoiding a massive wreck in the closing laps en route to a third-place finish that boosted him to ninth in the points and advanced him to the next playoff round with 11 other drivers.

“There were some sleepless nights last week,” Bowyer said with a laugh. “I was worried about the first few races because they weren’t at tracks where we’ve been strong, but these next races are at places where we’ve run well and I expect we’ll run well again. I can’t wait to get to that old track at Dover and get going this weekend.”

He has a simple goal at Dover Sunday. The Emporia, Kansas native wants to finish just one spot better than he did in May at the concrete mile oval when he led 40 laps but finished second to SHR teammate Kevin Harvick by 7.4 seconds.

KURT BUSCH

Kurt Busch - #NASCAR #41
Kurt is headed to Dover, Talladega and Kansas City after advancing to the upcoming Round of 12 of the NASCAR playoffs. He’s seventh in points, and in his first visits to those events in 2018, he posted finishes of fifth at Dover, second at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, and eighth at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. If that happens again, Busch will transfer to the Round of 8.

He has one win, eight career top-five finishes and 10 top-10s at Dover. Additionally, the 40-year-old driver has led 426 laps, has an average starting position of 11.5, an average finish of 18.3, and has completed 92.7 percent (13,362 of 14,415) of the laps he’s contested there. He finished fifth in May 2018 after starting ninth.

Busch scored a huge Dover win in October 2011, when he started second and led 90 of 400 laps. He grabbed the lead from Jimmie Johnson on the final restart and paced the final 42 circuits to win by .908 of a second over Johnson.

“It’s called the Monster Mile for a reason – the track can chew up cars and spit them out. It’s because of those tough transitions into the corners with the high banking and even the high-banked straightaways. It’s tough to do that sharp of a turn on a mile racetrack. It’s like you literally jump down into the corner and then jump back up out of the corner onto the straightaway, and so those points of the track are the toughest part – the transition from straightaway to corner. It’s a fun track to drive.” Busch responded to the question if the track earned its nickname.




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