NASCAR America: Scan All from ISM Raceway

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“History making right there, you’re the man.”

That’s what crew chief Rodney Childers said to Kevin Harvick after he won his record ninth Cup race at ISM Raceway and his third consecutive race, a career first.

Scan All is back this week to relive Sunday’s race through the best scanner traffic from the Ticket Guardian 500.

Here are some highlights.

— “Went from needing long johns yesterday to I can take my shirt off today.” – Brett Griffin, spotter for Clint Bowyer.

“I probably wouldn’t do that.” – Bowyer

— “My back tires are shaking so much.” – Kyle Larson, who would spin to bring out the caution on Lap 123.

— “Fix your radio, you’re worthless to me right now.” – Jamie McMurray while experiencing radio problems that kept him from communicating with his spotter.

— “Oh, saved by the bell! Gosh, we’ve gotta’ fix this!” – Michael McDowell right after a Paul Menard wreck brought out the caution.

Watch the above video for the full “Scan All” experience.

 

Stewart-Haas Racing puts together best race yet (video)

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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.

Clint Bowyer finished sixth, Aric Almirola finished seventh and Kurt Busch, who won Stage 2, placed 10th.

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.”

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Chase Elliott gives Hendrick Motorsports first top five of season

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It took four races, but Hendrick Motorsports showed signs of competitiveness Sunday at ISM Raceway.

Chase Elliott became the first Hendrick driver to earn a top five in 2018 as he finished third in the TicketGuardian 500.

The result comes after pit strategy late in the race put Elliott in position to take the lead after a swift-green-flag pit stop.

But Elliott was passed by race winner Kevin Harvick well before leader Ryan Newman pitted with 23 laps to go. Elliott then fell behind runner-up Kyle Busch.

“We had a good car, solid,” Elliott told Fox. “(Crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) made a good call there at the end. We had a good pit stop there to give us the lead and just felt I needed a little bit more forward drive there to put the power down in front of (Harvick). I had pretty good turn those last two runs, before that I wasn’t turning good enough and had too good of forward bite. (Harvick) was definitely the car to beat. … There was a lot of laps left and I tried my best to hold him off as long as I could. I felt like him and Kyle (Busch) had just a little bit on us.”

The previous best finish for the No. 9 Chevrolet in the first three races this season was 10th at Atlanta. Elliott wrecked at Daytona and Las Vegas.

Sunday’s result was Elliott best since Cup’s last visit to the 1-mile track in November when he finished second to Matt Kenseth.

Hendrick’s other three Chevys finished in the top 15, with rookie William Byron placing a career-best 12th, was followed by Alex Bowman (13th) and Jimmie Johnson (14th).

Byron also led 15 laps, the first of his Cup career. He took the lead with a two-tire stop under caution on Lap 195.

“I think it just showed myself that I can do it; that I can do those restarts up there,” the 2017 Xfinity Series champion said. “I know I have the pace up there to run until our handling kind of took over, but I felt like if we can really start to hone in on what we need a little better we are going to be right there.  It’s going to take a little bit of work, but it was fun to at least be up there a little bit.”

Bowman started the day in fourth, but his race started to unravel during his first pit stop when he came out 15th. Then the driver cooling systems on the No. 88 Chevrolet failed.

Bowman was called for a speeding penalty on Lap 147.

“It was a frustrating day,” Bowman said. “I don’t know if we had brake fans or not because we didn’t have any other fans, everything inside the car quit.  My helmet blower quit, everything quit.  It was hot.  I burnt my feet pretty good, but the race car wasn’t bad.  Just my track bar quit when everything else quit, so I had no adjustment all day too.  We overcame a lot.  I sped on pit road, when I swerved to miss some debris.  Had some bad pit stops and rebounded from it.  We will take 13th for as rough as today was.”

Bowman and Johnson have yet to finish in the top 10 through four races.

“We got up to eighth and then had some pit strategy kind of work against us and fell back into the teens again, and it’s just so stinking hard to pass,” Johnson said. “I think if we could have stayed up there in that top 10 where we were, we would have finished there, but once we got mired back and had to start all over again, it was just a long grind.”

Kevin Harvick leads Cup standings

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After his third win in four races to begin the season, Kevin Harvick reclaimed the top ranking in the Cup point standings.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has a 12-point lead over Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. following Sunday’s race at ISM Raceway.

Harvick briefly lost the points lead when NASCAR docked his team 20 driver and owner points for an L1 penalty after his March 11 victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Car co-owner Tony Stewart said Sunday that the team won’t appeal the penalty.

Joey Logano (-16) and Ryan Blaney (-16) rounded out the top five in the standings.

Click here for the points standings.

Results, stats for TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway

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Kevin Harvick led 38 laps Sunday at ISM Raceway and won his third consecutive Cup race.

Harvick beat Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott.

The win is Harvick’s 40th in the Cup Series. It’s also his ninth win at the 1-mile track.

Busch was runner-up to Harvick for the second week in a row.

Elliott’s top five is the first for Hendrick Motorsports this season.

Click here for the race results.