Suárez Soldiers to 28th Place at Charlotte

Race Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):

Started 28th, finished 28th.

● Suárez gained a couple of positions to 26th before the caution flag appeared as the front of the field approached the start-finish line on the opening lap.

● He restarted 25th on lap 9 but dropped back to 30th by the time a competition caution flag appeared on lap 20, reporting that his Today.Tomorrow.Toyota Camry was better over the bumps than it was during Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 but had “no grip.”

● Air pressure adjustments on the right-front and both left-side tires was the call from crew chief Dave Winston when Suárez pitted from 30th on lap 22.

● He restarted 32nd on lap 24 and again made forward progress, climbing to 25th on the opening lap of the run, then up to 23rd before dropping to 24th by the time the caution flag appeared for another accident on lap 29. Suárez said the grip issues continued and the car felt much different than it did Sunday night.

● One lap into the caution, lightning in the area forced officials to red-flag the race with 30 laps complete. Engines were refired one hour, 14 minutes later after lightning holds had expired and track drying was complete. Suárez pitted on lap 31 for tires, fuel, and a pressure adjustment in the right-rear tire.

● The race restarted on lap 34 with Suárez in 24th place, and he dropped four positions by the time the caution flag flew to end the stage. He said his Toyota Camry started out a little free but it came to him after about seven laps. He said he was still lacking grip, but the car felt much, much more comfortable through the bumps in turns three and four than it did Sunday night.

● Suárez pitted on lap 58 during the stage break caution for four tires, fuel and another track bar adjustment and rejoined 26th.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-115):

Started 26th, finished 28th.

Suárez grabbed a couple of position to 24th on the opening lap of the stage, but then dropped back to his original position of 26th, where he held his ground until the caution flag appeared on lap 72 for another single-car accident. He reported that the splitter of his Today.Tomorrow.Toyota Camry was beginning to make contact with the bumps in turns three and four.

He stayed on track during that caution period and restarted 13th when the green flag flew on lap 78. Over the next five laps, he dropped back to 29th as most of the field behind him benefited from fresher tires.

Suárez picked up one position shortly thereafter and held onto it all the way to the stage break. He reported his Toyota Camry was loose on entry and still contacting the bumps. Winston called for tires, fuel and slight pressure adjustments to alleviate the two problem areas.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 116-208):

Started 22nd, finished 28th.

This run started with Suárez’s Today. Tomorrow. Toyota Camry good in turns one and two but too tight in turns three and four. He dropped back to 29th by lap 130.

Suárez picked up one position shortly thereafter and held onto 28th until the caution flag appeared on lap 143. He said his Toyota was getting “way to tight” in turns three and four as the run progressed. Track bar and pressure adjustments in the right-front tire came on the pit stop during the caution.

He rejoined in 25th after that stop but had to come down pit road one more time before the restart to add a missing lug nut. He restarted 27th on lap 148.

Suárez held that relative position through the rest of the final stage, which stayed green all the way to the checkered flag. He dropped one position in the closing laps and crossed the finish line 28th, one lap down.


Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 Today. Tomorrow. Toyota Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:

“You know, another 28th – I’m getting a little tired of those 28ths. But we have to keep working. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed about this one because I thought we were going to bring a better car than last Sunday. We made adjustments hoping for that, but obviously it didn’t work out for us. I know what I signed up for and I trust in this team and I trust everyone involved – Toyota, Coca-Cola and CommScope, everyone who is making this happen. We have to keep pushing and the results will come. I really want to thank everyone for the amazing support. Let’s see what we can do Sunday in Bristol.”


Race Notes:

●  Chase Elliott won the Alsco Uniforms 500k to score his seventh career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Charlotte’s oval. His margin of victory over second-place Denny Hamlin was 2.208 seconds.

● There were seven caution periods for a total of 37 laps.

● Only 22 of the 40 drivers in the Alsco Uniforms 500k finished on the lead lap.

● Harvick remains the championship leader after Charlotte with a 14-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.


Next Up:

The next NASCAR Cup Series event for Suárez and the Gaunt Brothers Racing team is the Supermarket Heroes 500 on Sunday, May 31 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.