Rough Day for Stewart-Haas Racing in Vegas

Stewart-Haas Racing cars were the class of the field the first two races of the season, with a win in the Daytona 500 by Kurt Busch and most laps led in both the 500 and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway by Kevin Harvick. Unfortunately, a 10th-place finish by Clint Bowyer was the highlight of a lousy day at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from the four-car organization.

But even Bowyer admitted that was a struggle.

“To be truthful, we weren’t the best all weekend, but we just kept digging,” he said after the race. “(Mike) Bugga didn’t give up on the box and kept adjusting on it and got me pretty good, the best we’d been right there at the end. It’s a top-10 and gives us some momentum. It’s our third race together and we got a top-10, so we’ve got to keep digging.”

Kurt Busch dealt with electrical issues that forced him to pit and change batteries with 66 laps to go. He finished in 30th place, four laps down.

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“Obviously it wasn’t the day we were hoping to have with our Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion,” Busch said. “We didn’t have the long-run speed or the balance, and we had an electrical issue that forced us to change batteries on pit road. We kept battling, we didn’t give up. I hoped to have a better run here in front of the hometown fans.”

The other two SHR cars didn’t make it to the finish.

Exiting the tri-oval on lap 68, Kevin Harvick suffered a right-front tire blowout and slammed the wall. He said the tire started vibrating four or five laps prior and was he trying to nurse it to the end of the stage.

He was critical of the response time by American Medical Response.

“The worst part was the medical response. It took them forever to get to the car,” Harvick said. “I thought we made that better, but obviously we haven’t.”

He finished 38th and lost the points lead.

With 16 to go, Danica Patrick’s engine expired on the frontstretch, relegating her to a 36th-place finish.

“We just got the car to a place where I think we could have got a little more racy with it,” Patrick said, “especially if we would have caught some breaks, but then it just flattened out. I just rode around the top in case I blew up, but having a teammate behind me was not ideal for the timing of it, but unfortunately it happened. We’ll just move on.”

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My name is Tucker White. I'm currently majoring in journalism at the University of Tennessee. I started getting into NASCAR around 1998 and started following the sport full-time in 2001. I live and breathe everything related to NASCAR. I also have a burning passion for all things auto racing. I've been following Formula 1 since 2011 and am slowing getting into IndyCar. I do my best to keep up with the World Endurance Championship. But at the end of the day, NASCAR is my primary beat. Being both a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a student at UT, I'm naturally a die-hard Tennessee Volunteers fan. Especially when it comes to Tennessee Volunteers football. While I'll never stop being one, it can be the most heart-wrenching thing ever. Since 2005, this team has delivered more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments and inhuman frustration. I've stuck with the Vols from the best of times - 1998 National Champions - to the worst of times - 2005 to present - because I know that it'll make it all so worth it when the mighty Vols finally return to the top of the college football landscape. In the last few years, I started to really get into baseball. This past season, I decided to pledge my sporting allegiance to the Atlanta Braves. It didn't turn out too well as they finished 67-95 and finished fourth in the NL East. I do see great potential with the young roster and they might be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

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