CONCORD, N.C— Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, and Daniel Suarez will transfer into the Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway based on their victories in the stages.

 

After starting from the pole position, Bowyer led all 20 laps in the opening stage. He had a 3.653 second lead over Blaney at the start-finish line.

 

In the second stage, Blaney led the field to the green to led all 20 laps. Blaney beat Chase Elliott by 0.203 seconds.

 

In the final 10 lap stage, Landon Cassill was the race leader, but was punted by Elliott before the first turn. Daniel Suarez assumed the race lead, but Elliott was pass Suarez with four laps remaining. The caution flew as Erik Jones went through the grass in an effort to pass Suarez and Elliott. Suarez won the final stage by 1.039 seconds over Austin Dillon

 

The winner of the fan vote was Chase Elliott.

 

The Monster Energy All-Star Race is set to go green shortly after 8:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.

RIDGEWAY, Va— In his first time at Martinsville Speedway, Daniel Suarez kicked off the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice by getting a backup car prepared.

 

Suarez hit the wall going into the third turn resulting in the back end of the car being damaged.

 

“It just wheel hopped. I don’t know what was going on with my brakes. It was something weird. On the first run I felt something similar. Something was weird with my brakes and I just wheel hopped and here we are,” said Suarez after the accident.

 

However, things have changed drastically this week for Suarez.

 

Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Dave Rogers would be taking an indefinite leave of absence. Scott Graves was announced as the crew chief until Rogers comes back.

 

Suarez found out about Rogers at the same time as everyone else early Wednesday evening.

 

“I pretty much got to know this almost at the same time as you guys. It was something that took me as a surprise and actually it took him as a surprise as well.”

Suarez understands and respects Rogers and the decision he has made. However, he does not know when the return of Rogers will be.

 

Luckily for Suarez, he will be working with Graves, his crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Suarez and Graves were able to win the championship in 2016.

 

It was important for Suarez and Joe Gibbs Racing to put somebody in that knows the style of Suarez.

 

“I had some input for sure to put Scott in the seat because I know Scott. I know what he can do. I know what we’ve done together. It was important to put somebody there that I knew already.”

 

What does Graves know about Suarez?

 

“I was expecting to race with him more than 14, 15 times in XFINITY stuff this year so we know him very well. He knows what I need to be fast. He knows my weak points as well. I think having Scott jump into the Cup program I think is important. And I hope we don’t have to get back any. I hope we stay the same or even forward. And try to move from there.”

 

In his rookie season, Suarez sits 19th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings. He comes into Martinsville with back-to-back top-10 finishes.

AVONDALE, Ariz.-- Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Phoenix Raceway did not go the way Daniel Suarez has planned or hoped for.

Earlier in the day, Suarez was unable to make a lap in qualifying. Suarez and his team were stuck in the inspection line during the opening round of qualifying. They joined Ryan Blaney, Daniel Hemric, Dakoda Armstrong, Brandon Jones, Ross Chastain, BJ McLeod, and Stephen Leicht at the back of the field. Suarez started in the 34th position.

Suarez was working his way through the field when he was pushed towards the wall by Jeremy Clements as they were racing for position. The contact with Clements resulted in a tire rub.  Suarez continued to race at speed for numerous laps.

As Suarez was entering the first turn on lap 11, his car went for a spin towards the outside wall. This accident caused major damage to the car to end Suarez’s day early.

Suarez was unhappy with the way the drivers in the middle of the pack were racing.

“I don’t really know what happened. I just know that I wasn’t racing yet. The 51 (Jeremy Clements) hit me in the right rear and then I had a flat tire and I hit the wall. Just a little disappointed at the way that those guys race back there. It’s way way to early in the race to be racing like that. We have more than 150 laps to go, so it’s way way to early.”

Suarez finished in the 39th position. He ended up scoring one owner’s point for the position.

he 2016 season for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series was one for the record books. The team kicked of their 25th season with winning the Daytona 500 to winning a second consecutive championship. The team formed a technical alliance with Furniture Row Racing, but that did not stop the success of the organization. Drivers for the organization were Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Matt Kenseth.

 

Hamlin kicked off the season at Daytona with a close finish in the Daytona 500 edging out Martin Truex Jr. by .008 seconds. Hamlin’s season was plagued with numerous penalties on pit road. Hamlin was in contention to win numerous races over the season. Hamlin had four DNF’s throughout the season with three resulting from accidents and one engine issue. After winning the season opening race, Hamlin scored victory at Watkins Glen and Richmond, where he started on the pole. With his three wins, Hamlin was able to make the playoffs. Hamlin made it to the third round by the skin of his teeth edging out Austin Dillon by .006 seconds at Talladega. In the third round, Hamlin scored three top-10 finishes, but was able to advance to the final round at Homestead Miami Speedway.

 

Busch picked up in 2016 where he left off after his championship in 2015. His season started out with a third place finish at Daytona. In the following week, Busch won the pole but had to forfeit the pole after his time was disallowed due to failing post-qualifying inspection. Despite losing the pole, Busch captured the pole at Phoenix. Busch captured his first victory of the season and first victory at Martinsville leaving Charlotte and Pocono as the only tracks where he hasn’t won at.  He followed up the victory in Martinsville with a win at Texas Motor Speedway. However, Busch was in an accident at Bristol which resulted in his first DNF on the season. However, the rebound came quickly with second place finishes at Richmond and Talladega, and a victory at Kansas Speedway. However, that comeback was short lived with DNF’s at Dover and Charlotte, a 31st place finish at Pocono, and engine issues at Michigan. Busch stayed consistent over the next seven races with a victory at Indianapolis. Bristol was another DNF for Busch as he suffered a crash. Going into the playoffs, Busch started off strong with a win at Chicago that moved him into the next round. In the second round, Busch had strong finishes at Charlotte and Kansas, but was conservative with Kenseth and Edwards to secure a spot in the “Round of 8”. Busch made his way through that round with three top-five finishes in a move to return to the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami. However, Busch came up short on a back-to-back championship, but left the season with strong momentum going into 2017.

 

For Edwards, 2016 would be his last as a driver in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition. His 2016 season started strong with two top-five finishes at Daytona and Atlanta. After an 18th place finish at Las Vegas, Edwards scored two poles at Texas and Bristol as well as two wins at Bristol and Richmond. His first DNF of the season came at Talladega. His second DNF came two weeks alter at Dover. Edwards was able to recover after Charlotte with three top-10 finishes and a pole at Sonoma. His third DNF came at Daytona, but came into Kentucky with a  second place finish. After terrible finishes at New Hampshire and Indianapolis, Edwards posted five top-20 finishes including two poles at Watkins Glen and Bristol. Going into the playoffs, Edwards did not have the momentum, but had the consistency. He scored the pole at New Hampshire in the first round, but no wins. He made it into the second round with finishes of 12th and second at Charlotte and Kansas, and went conservative at Talladega to keep his hopes going into the “Round of 8”. With a win at Texas, Edwards clinched his spot into the Championship Four at Homestead-Miami. Edwards was less than 10 laps away for clinching his first championshi, but greed for position ensued from behind leaving Edwards with a wrecked vehicle.

 

Kenseth rode in 2016 very quietly. In the first few races of 2016, he was without his veteran spotter, Chris Osborne, after he suffered injury from an accident in the offseason. Kenseth was about a half a mile away from winning another Daytona 500, but a gutsy move pushed him out of the draft and resulted in a 14th place finish. The season did not start off strong for Kenseth; His first top-10 finish in the first eight races came at Phoenix. His second top-10 came at Richmond. His first DNF came at Talladega after an accident on the backstretch. However, the next four races resulted in a top-10 finish including a win at Dover. His next run of top-10 finishes began at Kentuck with three top-10 finishes including a win at New Hampshire. After Indianapolis, Kenseth only had two top finishes before the playoff began. When the playoffs began, Kenseth became more consistent with his top-10 finishes. In the opening round of the playoffs, Kenseth had three top-10 finishes. In the second round, Kenseth won at Kansas to move to the third round. Kenseth came just short in the third round to move to the Championship Round. Kenseth ended the season at Homestead with a seventh place finish.

 

2017 will be a year of change at Joe Gibbs Racing. With Edwards going into retirement, Daniel Suarez will move on up and have his chance in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Despite not having Edwards, JGR will continue to be the dominate powerhouse in the Cup Series. It will be interesting to see how Hamlin, Busch, and Kenseth will lean on Suarez and vice versa. JGR is the team to watch going into 2017.

The 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series season was full of magic and history breaking wins for champion, Daniel Suarez. 2016 was his second full-time season racing for Joe Gibbs in the Xfinity Series.

 

Suarez started the season at Daytona through starting on the outside of the front row. He ultimately finished eighth. As the season began to get going, Suarez kept qualifying within the top-three alongside Joe Gibbs Racing teammates. While his teammates kept grabbing poles, he was finally able to grab his first pole of the season at Auto Club Speedway. He went on to win three more poles at Iowa, Dover, and Homestead-Miami. Suarez qualified within the top-10 throughout the season.

 

Coming out of the 2015 season, it was not a matter of if, but when Suarez would win his first career race in the Xfinity Series. It took Suarez only 13 races to snag his first win and lock him into the Chase in the Xfinity Series at Michigan International Speedway.

 

The race was dominated by Kyle Busch, but Suarez was able to pass Busch at the start of the last lap. Suarez was able to hold off a charging to Busch to gain the victory. He suffered a speeding penalty earlier in the race. On that day, Suarez only led four laps to become the first driver from Mexico to win in NASCAR.

 

Suarez was able to finish all the races in 2016 except two. At Daytona in July, he was involved in an accident on lap 48. At Iowa, Suarez suffered an engine failure on lap 134 that resulted in a 30th place finish.

 

In the final 10 races of the season, Suarez did not post a finish outside of the top-10. When the Chase began, Suarez was able to win in the rain-delayed race at Dover. In the “Round of 8”, Suarez was consistent with two fifth place finishes and a third place finish to move on to Homestead.

 

Homestead was when the fire caught a flame. Suarez was able to start from the pole position. Suarez ran a flawless race in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead, where he scored a perfect driver rating of 150.0.

 

“It’s very hard to put into words,” said Suarez after making his title run. “I’m speechless right now. I’m just very proud of everyone and thankful to have the family that I have – my mom, my dad. They gave me all the tools to be here right now. They put me in a car even when we didn’t have the support or the racing background. They supported me and right now we are just living a dream.”

 

The victory at Homestead by Suarez allowed for Toyota to win the Manufacturer’s Championship in the Xfinity Series.

 

Suarez completed 5424 laps of the 5579 laps ran in the 2016 season. He lead  347 laps throughout the season. He had 19 top-fives and 27 top-10’s. On average, he started at 3.9. He had an average finish of 8.0 throughout the 33 races.

 

Suarez will continue to race for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017.

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