Kevin Harvick dominated the AAA Texas 500 and led 119 laps en route to his third straight fall victory at Texas Motor Speedway. But he didn’t get the win without a fight from his teammates.
For the second time in their existence (Michigan – 2018), Stewart-Haas Racing scored a 1-2-3 finish. Aric Almirola and Daniel Suarez both posted season-best finishes of second and third, respectively on a night where SHR as a whole led 242 of 334 laps.
“I am really proud of the effort by everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing, Roush Yates Engines and Ford Motor Company,” Almirola said with a smile on his face. “Our cars were really, really good from the time we unloaded here and we all came with a little something different, just trying to learn and get ahead for next year. I think we learned some stuff.”
In what has been a dismal playoffs for Almirola, with the exception of a fourth-place run at Talladega Superspeedway a few weeks ago, the runner-up finish was just the second time he’s finished inside the top 10 since Daytona International Speedway in July.
“We have had such a bad run of luck the last two months and it is so nice to come here and just execute all night and have a fast car, lead laps and win a stage and run up front,” Almirola continued. “We had a great night on pit road. I did my part on restarts and on and off pit road and just an all-around solid night. We can build on that.”
Despite leading 62 laps, Almirola just didn’t have enough speed to compete for the victory as the laps wound down.
“For a little while I thought we had a car capable of winning,” he explained. “When Harvick got a good restart there and was able to keep pace with us I knew I was in trouble. His car was a good bit faster than ours in clean air.”
Meanwhile, Suarez matched the result he posted at Texas in the spring, and the third-place run marks the end of a three-race stretch of finishing outside the top 30.
“That was a very solid night and I am very happy with the performance and speed that we brought from the shop,” Suarez explained after the race. “Everyone back at the shop did a great job. We knew we would be fast here. We had a solid performance here last time. We did a good job. We had good execution and a good clean day.
“I am very happy for Stewart-Haas Racing and the 41 Ford Mustang was pretty sporty. I am very happy for Kevin getting his ticket for Homestead.”
Though he didn’t manage to finish inside the top 10, Clint Bowyer did contribute to what was a dominant day for SHR. He led 36 laps toward the end of stage one and ultimately ended up with an 11th-place run.
About the author
Content Director Beth heads up management of our 30-person staff, acting as Tom’s main assistant with technology and personnel while working as Frontstretch’s Truck Series expert. The author of Truckin’ Thursdays and the coordinator of the site’s pre and post-race coverage, she also runs a periodic charity column that spotlights when NASCAR gives back. A childhood transplant to Texas, Beth is a 15-year writing veteran who has contributed content to BRANDT and Athlon Sports, among other outlets.