Daniel Suarez will win the Ford EcoBoost 300 and the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Suarez becomes the first international driver to win a championship in one of NASCAR’s top three series. He is the first graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program to win a Xfinity Series championship.
With the victory at Homestead-Miami, Joe Gibbs will also win the owner’s championship. Erik Jones will be the 2016 Rookie of the Year for the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
“I’m just so proud of this team and everyone who has helped me get to this point. I just can’t believe this,” said Suarez, surrounded by family and crew members in victory lane.
The first half of the race began with a quick pull away from Suarez. Erik Jones began to drop as he tried to find his way to the top lane. However, the caution flew on lap five due to a spin by Brandon Hightower. On the restart, the outside lane proved to be the strongest. The field began to spread out and run the high line in the early part of the race. However, Larson was able to get up to Suarez and pass him for the lead. However, the caution flag flew again for a spin by Ryan Reed. During pit stops, the hose gun for Suarez got caught and caused him to lose two spots on pit road. On the restart, Larson was able to clear Justin Allgaier to keep the lead. Suarez was able to clear Larson a couple laps later to gain the lead. As the run progressed, drivers were moving closer to the wall, and Allgaier began to reel in Suarez. Allgaier was unable to pass Suarez for the lead. As the field moved closer to the wall, Larson and Allgaier were kissing the wall. Ty Dillon was able to pass Allgaier after his car turned tight after he kissed the wall. As green flag pit stops occurred, an uncontrolled tire from Brandon Jones made its way onto the pit lane. As pit stops cycled through, Larson was able to retain the lead. After pit stops cycled through, the caution flew for fluid on the speedway. On the restart, Ty Dillon was able to gain the lead, but Suarez was able to gain the lead at the halfway point. Dillon moved to second, Allfaier was third, Aric Almirola was fourth, and Larson rounded out the top five.
At the beginning of the second half, E. Jones scraped the outside wall, but continued. As the green flag run progressed, Suarez was beginning to fade in the run as T. Dillon was able to gain the lead. E. Jones and tea began to report that there was a hole in the nose. The caution flew for Brennan Poole who had tires going down after hitting the wall. As the sun began to set, the track began to change. Suarez was able to gain the lead on the restart. The caution flew for a spin by Reed that caught Jordan Anderson, who caught on fire, and Jeremy Clements. NASCAR red-flagged the field for cleanup. On the restart, Suarez was able to gain the lead as the field went four wide into turn one. The championship four were able to get together and separate themselves from the field. However, Sadler hit the wall and Allgaier was able to grab the lead. However, E. Jones was able to pass Allgaier for the race lead. However, the caution flew debris. However, Suarez was able to win the race off pit road as Jones had a slow stop. With under 10 laps remaining, the caution flew for a spin on the front stretch by Ray Black Jr. On the resatart, Cole Whitt was the control car, but held up the field and gave Suarez the lead and the race win. T. Dillon finished second, Sadler finished third, Blaney finished fourth, and A. Dillon finished fifth.
Sadler finished second in the championship with Allgaier and E. Jones rounding out the top-four in the championship standings.
The race saw 21 lead changes among 11 different drivers. Suarez led the most laps at 133. The caution flew seven times for 39 laps. The race went on for 2 hours, 39 minutes, and two seconds.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will have a 98 day off season before their season begins next year at Daytona International Speedway to kick off the 2017 season.