Stewart-Haas Racing: NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale at Phoenix

hampion:  Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Race Winner:  Ross Chastain of Trackhouse Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner:  William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner:  Chris Buescher of RFK Racing (Ford)

 

SHR Race Finish:            

●  Kevin Harvick (Started 3rd, Finished 7th / Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)

●  Aric Almirola (Started 28th, Finished 13th / Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)

●  Ryan Preece (Started 12th, Finished 14th / Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)

●  Chase Briscoe (Started 26th, Finished 24th / Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)  

 

SHR Points Final:

●  Kevin Harvick (13th with 2,241 points)

●  Aric Almirola (22nd with 675 points)

●  Ryan Preece (23rd with 637 points)

●  Chase Briscoe (30th with 534 points)

 

Championship 4 Final:

1.  Ryan Blaney (5,035 points)

2.  Kyle Larson (5,034 points)

3.  William Byron (5,033 points)

4.  Christopher Bell (5,001 points)

 

Harvick Notes:  

●  Phoenix marked Harvick’s 826th and final NASCAR Cup Series start. The 47-year-old from Bakersfield, California, has officially retired as a Cup Series driver, and the surefire, first-ballot NASCAR Hall of Famer leaves an incredible mark on the sport.

  • His 826 career starts ranks eighth all-time.
  • He won the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series championship (in the inaugural season of elimination-style playoffs).
  • His 60 points-paying wins ranks 10th all-time.
  • His 63 runner-up finishes ranks sixth all-time.
  • His 251 top-five finishes ranks ninth all-time.
  • His 444 top-10 finishes ranks fifth all-time.
  • His 309,630.958 miles completed ranks fourth all-time.
  • His 16,058 laps led ranks 11th all-time. His 1,299 starts across NASCAR’s top-three series – Cup, Xfinity and Truck – is the most all-time (and 85 more than the next-best driver in this category, Kyle Busch, who has 1,214 starts).
  • His 121 wins across NASCAR’s top-three series ranks third all-time. His 29 wins after turning 40 ranks third all-time. His 37 wins since 2014 (when his career with SHR began) are the most of all drivers. His 784 consecutive starts is the third-longest streak in NASCAR Cup Series history.

●  Harvick earned his 14th top-10 of the season and his 31st top-10 in his series-leading 42nd career NASCAR Cup Series start at Phoenix.

●  This was Harvick’s fourth straight result of 16th or better. He finished 16th Oct. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 11th Oct. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and 16th last Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

●  This was Harvick’s 21st straight top-10 at Phoenix – a streak that began in March 2013.

●  Harvick’s nine wins, 20 top-fives and 31 top-10s at Phoenix are the most among all NASCAR Cup Series drivers, past and present.

●  Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has not finished outside of the top-10 at Phoenix and has scored five of his nine wins.

●  Harvick finished second in Stage 1 to earn nine bonus points and third in Stage 2 to earn eight more bonus points.

●  Harvick led twice for 23 laps to increase his laps-led total at Phoenix to a series-best 1,722.

●  Harvick has now led 11,643 laps since joining SHR in 2014.

 

SHR Notes:        

●  Phoenix served as Almirola’s final race with SHR. The 39-year-old from Tampa, Florida, joined the organization in 2018 and scored two points-paying victories, won two non-points races, earned five poles, made the NASCAR Playoffs four times and finished a career-best fifth in points in 2018 during his six-year tenure with the team. Almirola is not retiring from racing. He is instead “ready for the next adventure.” SHR wishes him well and is grateful for all the contributions he made to the company.

●  Almirola earned his 12th top-15 of the season and his 15th top-15 in 26 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix.

●  This was Almirola’s fourth straight top-15. He finished 14th Oct. 15 at Las Vegas, ninth Oct. 22 at Homestead and second last Sunday at Martinsville.

●  Preece earned his 12th top-15 of the season and his second top-15 in nine career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix.

●  This was Preece’s third straight top-20. He finished 13th Oct. 22 at Homestead at 20th last Sunday at Martinsville.

●  This was Preece’s second straight top-15 at Phoenix. He finished 12th in the series’ prior visit to the track in March.

●  Briscoe led once for two laps to increase his laps-led total at Phoenix to 114.

 

Race Notes:       

●  Ross Chastain won the NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale to score his fourth career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the year and his second at Phoenix. His margin over second-place Ryan Blaney was 1.23 seconds.

●  Blaney, in his eighth fulltime season, earned his first NASCAR Cup Series championship by virtue of his runner-up finish. He is the 36th different driver to win the series title.

●  Blaney, from High Point, North Carolina, is the 11th NASCAR Cup Series champion from the state of North Carolina. The others are Buck Baker (Charlotte), Dale Earnhardt (Kannapolis), Bobby Isaac (Catawba), Dale Jarrett (Hickory), Ned Jarrett (Newton), Lee Petty (Randleman), Richard Petty (Randleman), Herb Thomas (Olivia), Rex White (Taylorsville) and Benny Parsons (Ellerbe).

●  This was Ford’s 729th all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory, its eighth of the season and second in a row. Blaney won last weekend at Martinsville.

●  This was Ford’s 11th NASCAR Cup Series championship by its ninth different driver. Joey Logano won in 2018 and again in 2022. The only other Ford driver with multiple championships is David Pearson, who won back-to-back titles in 1968 and 1969. Ford’s other champions are Ned Jarret (1965), Bill Elliott (1988), Alan Kulwicki (1992), Dale Jarrett (1999), Matt Kenseth (2003) and Kurt Busch (2004).

●  This was Ford’s series-leading 20th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Phoenix. The manufacturer won the first two races at Phoenix with NASCAR Hall of Famers Alan Kulwicki on Nov. 6, 1988 and Bill Elliott on Nov. 5, 1989. It has now won the three of the last four races at Phoenix with Briscoe (March 2022), Logano (November 2022) and Blaney (November 2023).

●  There were four caution periods for a total of 27 laps.

●  Twenty-four of the 36 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

 

Sound Bites:

 

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster, for sure. I think as you look at this last week, this really means a lot to me just because I love driving the racecar, I love being around the people more. I love our sport. It’s given our family so much through the years to be thankful for and proud of. I can’t wait to be able to walk in that tunnel with my head up and look around, just look at all the really cool things that are NASCAR racing in every venue that we go to with great fans and people all over the place. I think for me, you walk into that tunnel laser focused on how you make your car go faster and communicate with your team the best you can. Sometimes you don’t see everything around you. I opened this chapter unexpectedly in 2001, and closed it in 2023 how we wanted to. That was to be competitive. The thing that means the most is having the respect of the drivers and competitors and the crew chiefs, my team, organization, all the past people that I worked for or worked with. There have been so many great stories and things that have happened over this year, but especially this week. I think for me, we gave it all we had, right? Every lap, every week in some way, shape or form we touched every aspect of this racecar. I care about how everything looks, whether it’s the color of the car, the stickers. I sit in the sponsorship meetings, marketing meetings, the team meetings, and there’s just not any piece of it that I don’t feel like we are a part of in some way, shape or form. We built a team here at Stewart-Haas Racing. We built so many things from the bottom up. I think the hard work is something that people recognize. As you guys have seen through the week, I’m a pretty emotional person. I’ve just done a really good job of hiding that.” Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light HARVICK Ford Mustang

 

“I’m going to really miss that part right there. Going to battle with my guys. Just competing – competing at the top level with this 10 team. That’s the coolest thing about my job. I get to do what I love to do with people I love. It’s enjoyable to do this with the people that you love. I will certainly miss competing at the top level and competing with them and stepping into that racecar and feeling like a gladiator going to battle in front of a packed out racetrack. I’m so grateful and so thankful. God has blessed me in ways I never imagined possible.” Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang

 

Next Up:

The 2024 season begins with the non-points Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum on Feb. 4 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before kicking off its 36-race slate of points-paying events with the 66th Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Both events will be broadcast live on FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

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