Suárez Comes Home 18th at Kansas

Suárez Comes Home 18th at Kansas NK Photography Photo

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Started 37th, finished 30th.

● Suárez moved up to 31st by the end of the opening lap and held that position until the lap-25 competition caution. He said the rear end of his Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry was too free and the condition got worse as the run progressed. He pitted on lap 27 for four tires, fuel, air pressure adjustments to both rears, a right-rear wedge adjustment, and packer removed from the left front. He restarted 29th when the race went back to green on lap 30.

● The caution flag flew to end the stage with Suárez in the 30th position. He said that while the rear of his Toyota was still loose, he also had to use too much steering input to get it to turn. He pitted during the stage break for tires, fuel, wedge adjustments to both rears and packer removed from the right front.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Started 28th, finished 28th.

Suárez took the green flag on lap 86 in 28th place and had fallen back to 30th and one lap down by the time the caution flag flew on lap 99 for a single-car incident. He said his Toyota was a bit better in the rear that run but still had other grip issues, due in part to a still-green racetrack. He stayed on track during the caution and restarted 27th on lap 104 and back on the lead lap.

● The caution flag flew on lap 142 for another single-car incident with Suárez holding down 28th place and one lap down. He stayed on track once again and took the green flag on lap 148 in 27th place and back on the lead lap.

● The caution flag flew on lap 160 to end the stage with Suárez having stayed on track the entire stage and saving fuel the last 32 laps. He pitted during the break for fuel, tires, track bar adjustments on both rears and packer removed from both fronts.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

Started 27th, finished 18th.

Suárez took the green flag to start the stage on lap 166 after the wholesale changes during the break and climbed to 26th when the caution flag flew for a two-car incident on lap 170. He came down pit road to pull bodywork to eliminate a tire rub, as well as a left-rear track bar adjustment and to top off the fuel tank.

The green flag flew on lap 175 with Suárez restarting 23rd, and then a multicar incident took place ahead of him before the end of the lap and he was successful in avoiding it.

Suárez took the green flag 20th on lap 181, and another multicar accident occurred ahead of him, which he was able to avoid. This incident brought out the red flag for less than three minutes. Suárez pitted once cars were rolling again for tires and fuel, feeling he might have picked up some debris maneuvering through the two multicar incidents. He resumed 20th when the race went back to green on lap 186.

Another caution flag flew on lap 195 with Suárez running 21st. He pitted to top off the fuel tank and restarted 19th when the race went back to green on lap 199.

Suárez climbed to 17th place but just went a lap down when the caution flag flew on lap 235 for a single-car incident. He reported his Toyota was handling pretty well before pitting for fresh tires, a track bar adjustment and a splash of fuel. He restarted 16th and back on the lead lap as the beneficiary of the Lucky Dog when the race went back to green on lap 239.

The caution flag flew again two laps later for another single-car incident, Suárez having dropped a position to 17th. He stayed on track and restarted 16th on lap 245.

Suárez dropped a pair of positions before the checkered flag but brought his Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry home 18th and on the lead lap.

 

Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:

“It was another good execution day, I’m proud of everyone. It took a while for the track to come in and we struggled with the rear end being loose and trying to make the Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry turn in the first part of the race. Dave (Winston, crew chief) did a good job with the adjustments and we were running pretty good at the end. Communication was really good tonight. I have to say good job by my spotter (Steve Barkdoll) for helping me get through all the trouble that happened in front of me. We all know we need to get faster. We just need to keep building. Once we get all the pieces together, we’re going to be good.”

 

Race Notes:

● Suárez’s 18th-place finish equaled the single-car team’s best finish of the season, first achieved May 31 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, and gives the team three top-20 finishes and six top-25s through the first 19 races.

● He’s driven the No. 96 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry to the checkered flag in 18 consecutive races.

● Denny Hamlin won the Super Start Batteries 400 to score his 42nd career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his third at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Brad Keselowski was .510 of a second.

● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 47 laps.

● Only 18 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

● Kevin Harvick remains the championship leader after Kansas with a 97-point advantage over second-place Keselowski.

 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule for Suárez and the Gaunt Brothers Racing team is the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on Sunday, Aug. 2 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

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Speedway Digest Staff

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