Suárez Finishes 26th at Bristol Night Race
Late Contact Costs It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Team Ninth Top-25
Date: Sept. 19, 2020
Event: Bass Pro Shops Night Race (Round 29 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile, concrete oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (125 laps/125 laps/250 laps)
Start/Finish: 29th / 26th (Running, completed 495 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 31st with 306 points
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):
● Started 29th, finished 29th.
● Suárez and his It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Parts & Service Camry was up to 24th by the end of the first lap but then settled back into his original grid position of 29th when the first caution flag of the race waved for a single-car incident on lap 28. He reported being good on corner entry, a little tight in the center and loose on late-corner exit. He pitted for four tires, fuel, right-side and left-front air pressure adjustments, and a track-bar adjustment. He restarted 29th when the race went back to green on lap 40.
● The stage went green from there to the end with Suárez crossing the line 29th after flirting with the top-25 early in the run. He asked for more grip but to not free up the rear of his Toyota any more than it already was. He pitted during the break for four tires, fuel, and air pressure adjustments.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):
● Started 30th, finished 26th.
● Suárez was running 27th and two laps down when the caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 232. He reported his It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Camry was extremely tight in the center of the corners, but he stayed on track during the caution to take the wave-around to within one lap down. He restarted 26th when the race went back to green on lap 241.
● The caution flag flew again for a single-car incident on lap 249, one lap short of the scheduled Stage 2 distance, with Suárez running 26th. He pitted during the break for tires, fuel, and track bar and air pressure adjustments. He pitted a second time to repair slight damage to the right front of his Toyota without losing any positions.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):
● Started 27th, finished 26th.
● The race stayed green until the caution flag flew for a multicar incident on lap 406 with Suárez running 25th and three laps down. It was a 146-lap green-flag run and the No. 96 It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota was turning among the best laps on the racetrack toward the end of that run on old tires. Suárez pitted for four tires and fuel enough to get to the scheduled finish, and no other changes as he reported the handling of his racecar was good. The race went back to green on lap 418 with Suárez 25th and three laps down.
● Suárez appeared headed to the team’s ninth top-25 of the season when, on lap 480, he made right-front contact with the No. 95 Toyota of Christopher Bell. The It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Parts & Service driver did his best to nurse his wounded racecar to the finish, dropping from 24th to 26th by the time the checkered flag flew.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Parts & Service Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:
“We deserved better than that. I don’t know what happened at the end there, but it should not have happened. We had a few things to work on at the start of the race. Then, in the middle part of the race, we were super tight for a long time until the Toyota Genuine Parts & Service car really started coming to me on old tires. We didn’t make any changes on the last stop and it was feeling pretty good until what happened there at the end. That’s Bristol, I guess. Let’s go to Las Vegas.”
● Kevin Harvick won tonight’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race for his 58th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his ninth of the season and third at Bristol. Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .310 of a second.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 50 laps.
● Only six of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Bristol with a 19-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule for Suárez and Gaunt Brothers Racing is the South Point 400 on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.