Race Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Clint Bowyer started 15th and finished ninth to earn two bonus points.
● The No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang raced in 16th when the competition caution flew at lap 25.
● Bowyer restarted in 14th and climbed to ninth by lap 33.
● Bowyer held his position through the end of the stage as all cars struggled to pass on the 1.5-mile oval.
● During the stage break, Bowyer pitted from ninth for four tires and fuel, but no major handling changes.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81 -160):
● Bowyer started seventh and finished 13th.
● The No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang raced between seventh and ninth-place for most of the stage.
● Bowyer pitted under green for four tires and fuel with 11 laps left in the stage, but a caution after he pitted cost him several spots.
● The stage restarted after a caution with only one lap remaining and Bowyer in 13th.
● During the stage break, Bowyer stayed on the track and moved to ninth.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Bowyer started ninth and finished 14th.
● Bowyer narrowly avoided disaster at the start of the stage when Kyle Busch brushed the wall a few car lengths in front of him.
● The No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang was as quick as any driver in clean air moving to seventh with 69 to go and fifth with 58 to go.
● Bowyer made a routine pit stop under green with 45 to go, but another caution flew with 38 to go dropping him off the lead lap.
● Bowyer took the free pass and returned to the lead lap in 12th when the race restarted with 31 laps remaining.
● After two quick cautions, the race restarted with 14 laps remaining and Bowyer in 10th.
● Amid four-wide racing, Bowyer suffered damage and dropped to 11th before another caution forced a two-lap shootout.
● In the final two laps, Bowyer held on to finish 14th.
● This was Bowyer’s second straight top-15 at Kentucky. He finished sixth in last year’s race.
● Since joining SHR in 2017, Bowyer has never finished outside the top-15 at Kentucky.
● Cole Custer’s margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr., was .271 of a second.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 42 laps.
● Twenty-six of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Kevin Harvick remains the championship leader after Kentucky with an 88-point advantage over second-place Brad Keselowski.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Our One Cure Ford Mustang was really fast today, but passing was so hard for everyone. We were sailing there at the end and figured we were top-five at least, but a caution after we pitted hurt us again. We got some damage before the finish so we were kind of hanging on. My guys gave me a great car today. They are working hard and I appreciate what they are doing. We are going to get the results soon. Congratulations to Cole (Custer), Gene (Haas) and SHR for winning the race. That was cool.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race on Wednesday, July 15 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 8:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 7 p.m. with the undercard NASCAR All-Star Open.