“Very Sweet” – Stewart-Haas Racing Crew Chief Mike Bugarewicz Explains the Significance of Aric Almirola Winning

Published 07/21/2021, 6:23 AM EDT
Jul 18, 2021; Loudon, New Hampshire, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola (10) enters turn four at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports


At the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Aric Almirola booked his seat in the 2021 Playoffs with a win. Naturally, the Stewart-Haas Racing team were utterly delighted. In fact, crew chief Mike Bugarewicz confessed that the victory was hard-earned and was quite an emotional one.

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“It has been such a challenging year. It’s been a long time since this team has been in Victory Lane. We are a good team, we are a team that had a lot of opportunities to win during the year.

“It is challenging because performances have been down and the team worked so hard. You’re working so much harder when you’re off and you tax a lot of things in your personal life.

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“After the year we’ve had and all the struggles, this one is definitely very sweet,” he said.

Why is Stewart-Haas Racing so happy with the win?

Last year, the outfit had a dream season with Kevin Harvick. He notched up the most wins in the season and almost won the 2020 Cup Series title. Sadly, he fell short in the penultimate race, but he was still proud of his efforts. Unfortunately, Stewart-Haas Racing has not enjoyed the same kind of dominance this year.

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Jun 20, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola (10) and NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell (20) race during the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

So, when Aric Almirola won at New Hampshire, it cemented his place in the Playoffs. With Kevin Harvick comfortably nestled in 10th place, it means that at least two Stewart-Haas Racing cars are in the 2021 Cup Series Playoffs. Given that three slots are left with four races to go, the 2021 Playoff seats will, without a doubt, be hotly contested.

Admittedly, it will be difficult for the likes of Chase Briscoe and Cole Custer to enter the playoffs. Their only hope of qualifying is if they somehow manage to snag an unexpected win. However, that will be difficult when pitted against teams like Hendrick Motorsports, Team Penske, or Joe Gibbs Racing.

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DIVE DEEPER

“Means So Much” – Emotional Aric Almirola Reflects on His New Hampshire Win

14 days ago

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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