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.
AVONDALE, Ariz.-- Justin Allgaier held off a charge from Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones on a late race restart to win the DC Solar 200 from Phoenix Raceway snapping an 80-race winless streak. Allgaier also wins the $100,000 Dash4Cash bonus. All four of JR Motorsports entries finished in the top-10.
“It’s hard work and perseverance. Last year was tough. We had really good runs all year, weren’t able to get to victory lane. These guys fought hard. Same group of guys we had last year here at Phoenix. This is a team effort,” said Allgaier post-race to FOX.
On the Dash4Cash victory, Allgaier told FOX, “To finish first, you must first finish. We gotten the first thing out of the way, we got three more to do. These guys (XFINITY) what they do for our series, the sport of NASCAR. We have the best fans in the world. This is what this series is all about.”
Allgaier started the race from the fifth position. In the first stage, Allgaier had a car strong on the short runs. Allgaier remained towards the front of the field for the whole stage. On the 20th lap, Allgaier gained the lead from Erik Jones. . Allgaier and E. Jones battled for numerous laps before Allgaier took the advantage. As Allgaier was in the lead, his car turned from well handling to an ill-handling machine. Allgaier went on to lead nine laps in that stint. Allgaier began to fall back. Allgaier was one position from clinching a spot in the Dash4Cash in this stage. E. Jones won the first stage, Austin Dillon was second, William Byron was third, Ryan Blaney was fourth, and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-five. Allgaier finished sixth in this stage. Byron and Sadler clinched the first two Dash4Cash spots.
The second stage saw Allgaier start behind A. Dillon on the outside lane. E. Jones was unable to get a good restart moving Allgaier up to the second position. Off the backstrerch on lap 82, Allgaier was able to gain the lead. The caution flew for contact between Brendan Gaughan and Matt Tifft. On the restart, Allgaier gained the advantage. However, Blaney began to reel in Allgaier as he began to hit lapped traffic. Blaney grabbed the lead with 11 laps remaining to win the second stage. Allgaier finished second, A. Dillon finished third, Sadler was fourth, and E. Jones rounded out the top-five. Allgaier and Tyler Reddick were the final two drivers to compete in the Dash4Cash.
At the start of the final stage, A. Dillon restarted the race from the lead. However, Blaney and Allgaier continued to pressure Dillon for that lead. Allgaier was trying for the lead but the caution flew for an accident. Allgaier restarted on the inside lane for the restart, but A. Dillon took the advantage. Allgaier gained the lead at lap 139 to lead the next 21 laps. Allgaier lost the lead on put stops as he was the first driver to take four tires while everyone ahead of him took two tires in what would be the last pit stop of the day. Allgaier quickly jumped up towards the front of the field with four fresh tires to gain the lead on lap 165. The caution then flew for a spin by Drew Herring. On the restart, Allgaier made the decision to start on the bottom, a decision he quickly regretted. Allgaier lost the lead for for nine laps, but gained the lead coming into the third turn. As the laps began to wind down, cautions continued to breed caution. The caution flew again for a spin by Blake Koch. Allgaier learned from his mistake on the last restart. Allgaier restarted from the high line, but as quickly as he was clear for the lead, the caution flew for an accident involving A. Dillon, Ryan Sieg, and Cole Custer. That accident brought out the red flag. On the final restart, Allgaier gained an early jump on the field and set sail for his first victory of 2017. Blaney finished second, E. Jones finished third, Byron finished fourth, and Sadler rounded out the top-five.
There were 13 different lead changes among five different drivers. The caution flew nine times for 55 laps.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the 300-miler event from Auto Club Speedway. Motor Racing Network and Fox Sports 1 will have race coverage on March 25th at 4:00 p.m. EST.
AVONDALE, Ariz.-- William Byron will start from the pole in today's DC Solar 200 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Phoenix International Raceway. This is his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series pole in only his fourth event for JR Motorsports.
The first round of qualifying saw Ryan Blaney, Daniel Hemric, Daniel Suarez, Dakoda Armstrong, Brandon Jones, and Ross Chastain not make times due to issues in the inspection line during the opening round. All cars will start the race after the 77 car from Obaika Racing withdrew from the race. Stephen Leicht will race in the 97 car in the race today. Byron was fastest in the first round at 131.839 mph, A. Dillon was second fastest at 131.738 mph, Darrell Wallace Jr. was third fastest at 131.709 mph, Justin Allgaier was fourth fastest at 131.699 mph, and Brennan Poole rounded out the top-five at 131.550 mph.
In the second round of qualifying Erik Jones was fastest at 132.778 mph, Byron was second fastest at 132.548 mph, Elliott Sadler was third fastest at 132.470 mph, Matt Tifft was fourth fastest at 132.319 mph, and A. Dillon rounded out the top-five at 132.290 mph.
Byron was the fastest in the third round at 133.487 mph. E. Jones will start alongside Byron in second with his qualifying speed of 133.432 mph, A. Dillon will start third at 133.033 mph, Koch will start fourth at 132.724 mph, and Justin Allgaier will round out the top-five at 132.694 mph.
The DC Solar 200 will air live on FOX and Motor Racing Network beginning at $:00 p.m. EST.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) rolls out of Las Vegas and heads to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) for the DC Solar 200, the first Dash4Cash event this season. The first two stages will be 45 laps with a 110 lap shootout to the finish.
41 drivers are scheduled to compete for 40 spots this weekend at Phoenix. Only five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) drivers are scheduled to compete in this weekend due to the rules set last season in the Dash4Cash events. MENCS drivers with less than five full years in the series can compete on Saturday.
The top-four NXS regulars who have declared points will race for the Dash4Cash. Those for regulars are determined by the top-two in the first stage and then the top-two in the second stage. Those four drivers will race against each other in hopes to win the Dash4Cash prize.
PIR has hosted 30 NXS races. There have been a total of 15 different pole winners and race winners. Only 10 races have been won from the pole position. Elliott Sadler set the race record in 2012 at 116.317 mph. Kyle Busch set the qualifying record in 2015 at 138.504 mph.
NXS drivers are excited to return to the “Valley of the Sun” for the DC Solar 200.
“Phoenix is a great market for NASCAR and one of my favorite places to visit on the schedule. I’ve had some success here and hope we can build on some things we learned there last year. Our lower downforce package is going to make it interesting for us in terms of how we adapt, but I’m confident Kevin (Meendering, crew chief) and the guys will get a handle on it quickly. We’re in a great position to be leading the points but this weekend we’re going to be focused on the Dash 4 Cash as well. It’s a great program Xfinity does for the drivers, teams and fans. It’s going to be awesome,” says Sadler.
"Phoenix is becoming one of my favorite tracks. It historically has been a difficult track to get your car to handle on and with this new package we are running that will be even a more difficult task. It will be important to utilize our practice sessions on Friday and develop a good platform for our No. 28 Toyota,” said Dakoda Armstrong.
NXS will have all of their practice sessions on Friday at 1:00 p.m, 4:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. (All times Eastern) on Fox Sports 1. Qualifying will be held on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 2. The DC Solar 200 will air on Motor Racing Network and FOX at 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday.
Petty v. Pearson, Yarborough v. Allison, Earnhardt v. Wallace, Rudd v. Harvick
What do all those have in common? They were some of the rivalries that brewed from some of NASCAR’s greatest drivers. Rivalries are what caught the attention of many fans to bring the sport to where it is. However, that is not the case now.
There are no rivalries brewing among the top drivers of NASCAR, at this moment.
On Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch went at it on pit-road after an altercation on the final lap in the Kobalt 400. Busch went down on Logano after trying to avoid the slower car of Brad Keselowski on the backstretch then Busch went down on Logano in the fourth turn, getting Logano loose, and sending Busch for a spin. Both drivers were in the top-5 at the time of the accident.
Busch felt that he was wronged by the accident and went to talk to Logano after the cars stopped on pit road post-race that resulted in an altercation between Logano’s crew and Busch.
NASCAR announced earlier today that neither Logano, Busch, and the crew members would not be penalized. This decision was hinted on Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio with Steve O’Donnell and Brian France.
NASCAR made the right call to not penalize the drivers for their post-race altercation.
In my opinion, the sport needs rivalries in an effort to gain more footing in the national sports market in the United States.
Does there need to be a fight every weekend? Absolutely not!
The first question each of the drivers will be asked come this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway is, “Have you guys talked it out?”
When that question is asked to drivers who have had an incident with another driver, it irks me to my bones. Why? It squanders the possible of a potential rivalry among the best.
NASCAR was built on rivalries. The rivalries mentioned above were ones that stayed on the track, but sometimes did get physical. Fans would always turn their heads to the battle between rivals because neither driver would give an inch to the other person.
“Boys, have at it” was a term coined by Robin Pemberton that was used to describe a new “hands off” approach that allowed drivers to self-police and show their true selves without any repercussions from NASCAR.
“Boys, have at it” is a very grey area among the NASCAR garage. NASCAR has the right to step in when it feels that the policy has been violated. This situation is no different than Ambrose v. Mears or Keselowski v. Gordon. Ambrose and Mears were both fined, while Keselowski and Gordon were not fined for fighting.
All I ask is that NASCAR remain consistent with its rulings. My hope is that NASCAR and other media members let this “rivalry” play out naturally before asking if they are cool with each other.