It’s a good time to be Stewart-Haas Racing.
In the midst of celebrating its 10th anniversary, the team enjoyed its best Cup race yet as a four-car operation Sunday at ISM Raceway.
While Kevin Harvick grabbed a third consecutive Cup win for the first time, SHR put all four of its cars in the top 10 for the first time ever.
Busch has two top 10s through four races. Bowyer has two top 10s and one top five. Almirola has two top 10s. He was a half a lap away from winning the Daytona 500 until he was wrecked on the backstretch.
The team has four races with its new driver lineup after Danica Patrick departed at the end of last season. It’s also in its second season of working with Ford.
Team co-owner Tony Stewart took note of the team’s improvement at Atlanta, a race he watched from home due to the threat of rain.
“I took a picture of the screen when we had all four cars in the top seven,” Stewart said. “I took a screen shot of it as a fan. Just kept looking at it, going, ‘This is really cool.'”
Is this the strongest his team has ever been?
“I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Stewart said. “It just shows the strength of having four really good teammates that are giving four valid sets of information that they can all feed off of and work off of. It just seems like this group of these guys really work well together.
“I think a lot of it, too, is having that little extra time like we mentioned last week, for these guys to be able to massage everything, take everything we had and make it better. It’s nice to look on the board and see all four cars in the top 10. That’s a proud moment.”
Harvick, who earned his 17th win with SHR, received a positive text message from Almirola Saturday night predicting a top-10 run for his No. 10 Ford.
“Dude, you’ve got a top-five car,” Harvick responded. “You need to go out and run in the top five.”
Almirola’s result is his best in 15 starts at ISM Raceway.
“That’s really the most important thing because that progression as a race team, when everybody ups the ante on the car, you learn something from each car and each person,” Harvick said. “The confidence in the company goes up. The evolution of things starts to happen more rapidly. Now that the 10 car is in that evolution, it is good for our company.”