Stewart-Haas Racing: Xfinity 500 from Martinsville

Race Winner:  Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner:  Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

 

SHR Race Finish:            

●  Aric Almirola (Started 12th, Finished 2nd / Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)

●  Chase Briscoe (Started 3rd, Finished 4th / Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)  

●  Kevin Harvick (Started 8th, Finished 16th / Running, completed 499 of 500 laps)

●  Ryan Preece (Started 9th, Finished 20th / Running, completed 499 of 500 laps)

 

SHR Points:

●  Kevin Harvick (14th with 2,194 points)

●  Aric Almirola (22nd with 651 points)

●  Ryan Preece (24th with 614 points)

●  Chase Briscoe (29th with 521 points)

 

Almirola Notes:

●  This was Almirola’s best finish so far this year. His previous best was third, earned Aug. 26 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

●  Almirola’s second-place result bettered his previous best finish at Martinsville – fourth, earned in October 2012.

●  Almirola earned his second top-five and his fifth top-10 of the season. This was his second top-five and ninth top-10 in 30 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville.

●  Almirola led once for 66 laps to increase his laps-led total at Martinsville to 141.

●  This was Almirola’s third straight top-15. He finished 14th Oct. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ninth last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

●  This was Almirola’s fifth straight top-15 at Martinsville. He finished sixth in October 2021, eighth in April 2022, 15th last October and sixth in March.

 

Briscoe Notes:   

●  Briscoe earned his fourth top-five and his eighth top-10 of the season. It was his second top-five and fourth top-10 in six career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville.

●  Briscoe equaled his best result of the year. He also finished fourth April 23 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

●  Briscoe’s fourth-place result bettered his previous best finish at Martinsville – fifth, earned in March.

●  This was Briscoe’s fourth straight top-10 at Martinsville. He finished ninth in each of his visits to the .526-mile oval last year and fifth in March.

●  This was Briscoe’s second straight result of 17th or better. He finished 17th last Sunday at Homestead.

●  Briscoe finished fourth in Stage 1 to earn seven bonus points and third in Stage 2 to earn eight additional bonus points.

 

Harvick Notes:

●  This was Harvick’s third straight result of 16th or better. He finished 16th Oct. 15 at Las Vegas and 11th last Sunday at Homestead.

●  Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has only one finish outside the top-20 at Martinsville, a span of 20 races.

●  Harvick finished 10th in Stage 1 to earn a bonus point and ninth in Stage 2 to earn two more bonus points.

 

Preece Notes:     

●  This was Preece’s second straight top-20. He finished 13th last Sunday at Homestead.

●  Preece finished eighth in Stage 1 to earn three bonus points and seventh in Stage 2 to earn another four bonus points.

●  Even with his 20th-place finish in the Xfinity 500, Preece is a winner at Martinsville. Preece won Thursday night’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at the track, leading three times for a race-high 134 laps to take his 26th career Modified Tour victory and his second at Martinsville.

 

Race Notes:       

●  Ryan Blaney won the Xfinity 500 to score his 10th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his first at Martinsville. His margin over second-place Almirola was .899 of a second.

●  This was Ford’s 728th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory and its seventh of the season.

●  This was Ford’s 31st all-time series win at Martinsville. It won its first race at the .526-mile oval on April 9, 1961 with NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen.

●  There were seven caution periods for a total of 61 laps.

●  Only 12 of the 36 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

●  This was the last race in the penultimate Round of 8 of the NASCAR Playoffs. Blaney, Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell secured their spots in the Championship 4 via their respective wins while William Byron earned his place on points. Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Tyler Reddick and Chris Buescher did not advance to the final, winner-take-all Championship 4 next Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.

 

Sound Bites:

 

“We had a good car. We just fought track position. Qualifying kind of set us behind and then when we finally cycled to the front and got track position, we had a great racecar. Man, I was being so patient and taking care of my tires. I wasn’t slipping a tire. I wasn’t doing anything to hurt my tires and they just started to give up on me there toward the end, and the 12 (Blaney), his car would hold on a little longer. I’m not sure if he was on four tires or two tires. We were on two tires with some pretty old lefts, so I don’t know if that was the difference or not. I’m just really proud, and really proud of this team. I wanted that one so bad. I got my family here. My grandparents here that helped me get my start in racing. I wanted so bad to celebrate with my family in victory lane.” Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang

 

“Overall, it was a good day. We were right inside the top-five for a large majority of the day and that’s what we need to do. We need to consistently be running up front. We definitely have a good package every time we come here and we just need to get it a little better. I feel if we do that, we’ll be right there with a chance for the win. This was a definite step forward.” Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford Mustang

 

“We had a really strong day for our 41 team. We qualified in the top-10, which was great because track position just means everything here. When the race started, it felt like all the drive we had in practice yesterday was gone. Our car was free, but still really good so I only wanted minor adjustments and we were able to finish eighth in Stage 1. We got more dialed in during Stage 2 and before the conclusion of the stage, we were the best we had been and finished seventh there. Everyone had a different strategy there in the final stage. We took four tires on pit road and had to restart deeper than we would’ve liked. Just couldn’t rally back to the top-10 after that, and the traffic made it even worse. We had a good car capable of being in the top-10. Wish it shook out that way at the end, but we’ll head to Phoenix looking to end the season on a high note.Ryan Preece, driver of the No. 41 United Rentals Ford Mustang

 

Next Up:

The NASCAR Cup Series season finale is Sunday, Nov. 5 at Phoenix Raceway. The championship race starts at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

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