We are 11 races into the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and there is one glaring thing missing when you look at who has visited victory lane so far — there are no Stewart-Haas Racing drivers listed. Every other power house team — Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske and Hendrick Motorsports — has gotten it done, yet somehow SHR remains winless.
Is Kansas Speedway the site of where a SHR driver will bust through for their first win of the year? Based on Friday, quite possibly.
In qualifying for Saturday night’s Digital Ally 400, Kevin Harvick took the pole (his third of 2019) and he was flanked by his three teammates (Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez) as SHR swept the front two rows for the race. All four have shown incredible speed all weekend long, and Harvick has basically been a boulder sitting atop the speed charts over runs of more than 10 laps in both practice sessions.
Harvick has three-career wins at Kansas, including this race a year ago. Another thing pointing to Harvick pulling off the win this weekend is his dominance over the last five years. In that span, Harvick has 22 of his 45 Cup Series wins. That being said, he and crew chief Rodney Childers should be able to unlock the keys to victory sooner rather than later, and I think he’s the overall favorite for this race.
However, if something odd happens to knock Harvick out of contention SHR has three solid bullets sitting behind him.
Bowyer is a Kansas native and this is the one race he wants to win more than any other. He will definitely be up on the wheel. Bowyer just finished runner-up at the last 1.5-mile race this season (Texas), so he will be stout.
This is also the track that Aric Almirola suffered a broken back at a couple of seasons ago. For personal reasons, Almirola definitely would like to capture victory at this 1.5-mile speedway. He has top-10 finishes in every race at a 1.5-mile speedway this season, so it isn’t far-fetched to believe he could garb career win No. two on Saturday night.
And of course, Daniel Suarez is still looking for his first career win, so he is ready to do that anywhere. Also, Suarez has two top-10 finishes (10th at Atlanta, third at Texas) in the three races at 1.5-mile tracks so far in 2019. If he takes the No. 41 to victory circle it should be no surprise either.
Unless a really odd race at Kansas Speedway breaks out, I expect the winner to be in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.