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Stewart-Haas Cars Make Daytona Effort, Fall Short of Wins


Chase Briscoe and Aric Almirola lead at Daytona. (Photo: Christopher Vargas | The Podium Finish)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — With fewer than 20 laps to go in Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona, all four Stewart-Haas Racing cars ran inside the top five. While all but Kevin Harvick needed a win to make the playoffs, none of them found victory lane.

The main pack split their pit strategies with a group of cars making their final stops with 16 to go and another pitting with 13 to go. The SHR cars went with the second group and came out with Harvick leading and ahead of the other group.

However, the SHR cars got completely split up. The packs finally rejoined and with five to go, Ryan Preece got tapped behind by Erik Jones and went airborne, flipping at least 10 times down the backstretch. He got out of the car under his own power, laid down on a stretcher and was transported to a local medical facility. Preece got discharged and traveled home to North Carolina on Sunday morning.

Chase Briscoe also was involved in the crash. The dominant car on Saturday, Briscoe led a race-high 67 laps after winning the pole award. His No. 14 team had an L3 penalty earlier in the season for use of a counterfeit part and lost 120 points, part of the reason why he needed to win to get in.

Briscoe finished 30th with damage.

Ryan Preece races at Daytona. (Photo: Christopher Vargas | The Podium Finish)

Harvick led at the time of the crash and controlled the restart for NASCAR Overtime. The bottom lane had trouble getting going but got back to nearly even with Chris Buescher in the top lane at the white flag. But coming out of Turn 4, Harvick got hung out to dry with no help and dropped back to ninth.

“We knew we were in a bad spot with the two teammates,” Harvick said. “The Fords could just push so much better than the Chevys. Chase (Elliott) gave me a couple of good shots, but they can’t really stay attached and push because of the shape of their nose, so they just got in front of me. We fought all the way to the end and then they hung me in the middle and we finished ninth, but it was fun.”

Aric Almirola, however, moved forward during overtime. He restarted third on the top and finished the race third overall, but was frustrated since he needed to win his way in. Almirola led three laps and ran behind Briscoe in second for a significant portion of the race.

Buescher went on to win for the third time in the last five weeks while teammate Brad Keselowski finished second. Almirola crossed the line as the first non-RFK Racing car.

“I’m just dejected. It was such an amazing race car,” Almirola said. “Drew (Blickensderfer, crew chief) and all these guys brought an incredible Smithfield Ford Mustang and we should have won the race. I’m just disappointed. Congrats to RFK. Congrats to Chris Buescher and Brad (Keselowski). I mean, they executed the end of that race flawlessly and they did a great job, but I thought we certainly had a car capable of getting up there and trying to win. Restarting on the third row of a green-white-checkered — it’s really hard to materialize a run and make something happen and they did a good job.”

Harvick advances as SHR’s only car in the playoffs and is seeded 15th to start the Round of 16.

Nathan Solomon serves as the managing editor of The Podium Finish. He has been part of the team since 2021 and is accredited by the National Motorsports Press Association. Solomon is a senior in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. Contact him at

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