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APR 8, 2018 | Ford Performance Staff

Harvick Leads Fusions with Second Place Finish at Texas

O'Reilly Auto Parts 500

FORT WORTH, Texas –  Kevin Harvick had one of the fastest machines on the track Sunday afternoon but could not overcome a series of pit-road penalties, finishing second to Kyle Busch (Toyota) at Texas Motor Speedway.

Harvick had one of the most eventful days, rallying from three pit-road penalties, a sluggish stop because of a jammed-up jack, and an extra pit-road visit for a loose wheel to still lead 87 laps, win Stage 1 and finish only three-tenths of a second behind the checkered flag.

Harvick’s second place finish paced a Blue Oval effort that saw five Fords land inside the top-10. Ryan Blaney came home fifth while Team Penske teammate Joey Logano was sixth and Harvick’s SHR teammates Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer were seventh and 10th, respectively.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was poised to give Roush Fenway a top-10 day as well, but fell victim to brake issues with around 20 laps remaining and had to retire early, finishing 25th. RFR was led on the day by Trevor Bayne’s quiet 12th place effort.

Michael McDowell (14th) and Matt DiBenedetto (16th) rounded out the top-20 Fords.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series resumes next Sunday afternoon with Ford one point ahead of Toyota for the MENCS Manufacturer lead. Next week’s race is a 2:00 pm green flag at Bristol Motor Speedway.

MONSTER ENERGY CUP RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
1st - Kyle Busch
2nd - Kevin Harvick
3rd - Jamie McMurray
4th - Erik Jones
5th - Ryan Blaney
6th - Joey Logano
7th - Kurt Busch

8th - Darrell Wallace Jr.
9th - Clint Bowyer
10th - William Byron

REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
14th - Michael McDowell
16th - Matt DiBenedetto
23rd - David Ragan
25th - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
30th - Paul Menard
32nd - Aric Almirola
33rd - Brad Keselowski

POST RACE QUOTES
KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Light Ford Fusion - Finished 2nd
YOU OVERCAME AN AWFUL LOT THROUGH THE COURSE OF THE DAY TODAY:
“We did overcome a lot. That was unfortunate. We had a pathetic day on pit road, two days on pit road because of pit guns. When you have a pit gun problem like we have multiple times and been able to overcome it and then today we couldn’t overcome it. Time after time you can’t get the lug nuts tight because the pit guns don’t work.”  

DID YOU FEEL YOU HAD A SHOT TO CHASE DOWN THE 18 IN THE FINAL SEGMENT? “Kyle’s car was good enough to where he could get out there and run pretty good in clean air. It took us the whole run to be able to get everything back together and do everything we needed to do to make up a position. We weren’t as good behind him as we were in front of him. His car would run fast enough. There is only so much you can make up.”

KURT BUSCH, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion - Finished 7th
TALK ABOUT YOUR RACE:
"I'm really proud of these guys and the effort that we made today. We had really good speed. We didn't have the whole package. We'd lose the front on restarts or lose the rear. We're just trying to find that happy medium. We should have pitted with 12 laps on our tires because the restart after that was treacherous for us and we lost all of our track position. So we got bottled-up into seventh and that's where we finished."

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion - Finished 6th
“Three straight sixth place finishes in a row. We scored some stage points, finishing fourth and third in the stages but at the end the caution came out and kind of bit us and we just didn’t pass enough cars at the end to get back up there. We made some good changes at the end. My car was pretty good and probably could have ran third but that caution came and those guys were hoping for that and they got it. They got track position on us. We fought hard, it is just where we are at right now. We are stuck at sixth. We need to go faster.”

RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards Ford Fusion - Finished 5th
“That was a long day. It is a good thing it was 500 miles because we needed about every bit of it. We started good running second and had green flag pit stops and an uncontrolled tire and had to come back in. Then we worked our butt off to get back up there and got a lap down and caution came out and we got the lucky dog, got some damage. We were getting back up toward the front and had a loose right front wheel and had to come back in and get the lucky dog again and then I got in that wreck and had a bunch of nose damage. It was a long day that felt like it would never end. It just felt like it would get worse and worse but everyone did a good job on this Menards Ford Fusion to get back and have a solid finish. It stinks not getting any stage points. We had a good car. I hate that we couldn’t see what we had with a 100-percent, intact race car. It just shows the strength of this team and hopefully we can keep showing our speed in the coming weeks.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion - Finished 14th
“We have had some bad luck and lost a lot of points but today we had good luck and gained some points. We were pretty lucky to get through that first accident. We had a little damage but not bad enough. Not as bad as some of the others. We had a lot of people from Love’s here today so it is exciting to get a top-15 run and go on to Bristol.”

DAVID RAGAN, No. 38 1000Bulbs.com Ford Fusion - Finished 23rd
“Our team did a nice job working on our car from Saturday night. I feel like our 1000Bulbs Ford was fast the first two stages. I saw the 11 spin and I checked up a little and as he came back down the track I couldn’t go low quick enough and I tore our car up. We just didn’t have the car to compete in the last half. I am glad the team was able to repair the car enough to get back out there and I am really excited about the way it drove the first half of the race.”

PAUL MENARD, No. 21 Quick Lane Ford Fusion - Finished: 30th (Accident on Lap 215)
“Long day. We had a really fast Quick Lane Ford Fusion, but our day virtually ended on Lap 2. Disappointing. Not much you can do when someone spins in front of you at those speeds. You’re really at the mercy of what happens in front of you. Too much damage and it eventually caught up to us on that last incident.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion - Finished: Involved in multi-car accident on lap 178
“Somebody got loose and the net thing I knew there was a big mess in front of me and it was either pick left or pick right and I made a quick decision to pick right and it was the wrong decision. Tough break. I hate it for everybody on the team. We were sludging along with the Miller Lite Ford, right in that fifth to 10th range every day and we just didn’t make it through.”

HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE FRUSTRATION OF THAT? “That is just it. Not much you can do. Just pick up the pieces and move on.”

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion - Finished: Involved in multi-car accident on lap 178
“We just come to these repaves and we are going really fast and all fighting for the bottom lane and the second lane isn’t as good and the third lane is really not as good. So we got down to turn three and I was trying to be smart and be patient and we still have a long way to go in the race. I backed out of it to let the 18 have the second lane and the 11 just got loose under me. It was a frustrating end of the day for us. Our Smithfield Ford Fusion was fast and I hate that we didn’t convert today into a top-10 if not better than that. We definitely had a car capable of a really good result today and unfortunately have nothing to show for it.”

WAS THE RACING WHAT YOU EXPECTED IT WOULD BE? “Yeah, it is cold and overcast and the track is incredibly fast. I think it is just really hairy and sketchy on the restarts and it gets strung out. Unfortunately that is the byproduct of a repave.”