By all accounts, it’s been a rather frustrating start to 2021 for normally potent Stewart-Haas Racing. After five races, only one of the organization’s four NASCAR Cup Series drivers—Kevin Harvick—is higher than 20th in the standings. Of the four SHR drivers, Harvick is also the only one with a top-10 finish this year. Nevertheless, the organization and its drivers are trying to remain optimistic for a turnaround in the near future, possibly beginning this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“I am confident,” said SHR driver Aric Almirola, a 2020 playoff qualifier. “We’ve got a really great race team. We did it last year. We went on a run of top-10 and top-five finishes for a couple of months straight, so it’s possible. We just have to get back on track. We got off to a rough start, and sometimes that happens.”
So far, SHR has lagged well behind Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing—the top two performing organizations of 2021 to date. “Life doesn’t always go the way you want it to, and you go through some rough patches, but it doesn’t stay that way forever, especially with a great race team like we have,” said Almirola, whose best finish of 2021 is an 11th-place result this past weekend at Phoenix Raceway. “We will start getting the good finishes. We’re a great race team, and I have all the confidence in the world that we will start putting the finishes on the board that we need to.”