FORT WORTH, TX – Kevin Harvick was en fuego in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500. The pole sitter went on to lead a race high 119 of 334 laps en route to his third straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory in the Texas Motor Speedway playoff race. Not even a bizarre pit road penalty could derail his race winning efforts.
But, it wasn’t just a great day for him and for Stewart-Haas Racing to get a car into the Championship 4 for the fifth time in six years. It was a great team day overall.
Aric Almirola followed Harvick across the finish line in his No. 10 Ford to earn a runner-up effort on Sunday evening. Their teammate Daniel Suarez followed Almirola across the finish line in his No. 41 Ford too as SHR went 1-2-3 in Sunday’s race. It was just the second time in team history that they accomplished that feat as they also went 1-2-3 in the rain shortened spring race at Michigan in 2018.
But, it was how the other drivers outside of Harvick ran that was much needed too.
Almirola, came into the playoffs struggling. His top five finish a few weeks ago in Talladega was his first since March 11 at Phoenix. On Sunday, he got his second.
Since Almirola joined SHR, Texas has arguably been his best track. He has three top 10 finishes now in four tries and heads back to Phoenix, the place he finished fourth at back in the Spring race following a day that he led 62 laps and came home second.
For Suarez, it was a solid outing for him to show that he belongs with SHR. See, Suarez is the only driver on the organization not signed for 2020. He sees that rides are being taken elsewhere as it appears that SHR may be down to one of his last options if he wants to race on the Cup level next year. A third place run will help those efforts. See, heading into this weekend, Suarez had four finishes of 30th or worse in his last five starts on the season. This was a much needed day. He looked competitive and would back up his third place finish in March with another third place run. He led 25 laps himself.
Clint Bowyer was the worst finisher of the team in 11th, but he led 36 laps to give SHR 242 of the 334 laps led on the day.
It was an all around fantastic day for SHR as a whole.