Suárez Finishes 27th at Rain-Delayed Texas
The NASCAR Foundation Toyota Weathers 72-Hour Red Flag
Date: Oct. 28, 2020
Event: Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 (Round 34 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 334 laps, broken into three stages (105 laps/105 laps/124 laps)
Start/Finish: 30th / 27th (Running, completed 328 of 334 laps)
Point Standing: 31st with 349 points
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-105):
● Started 30th, finished 27th.
● Daniel Suárez and his The NASCAR Foundation Toyota Camry were among five who had to go to the rear for Sunday’s race start after prerace technical inspection issues, but Suárez was back to his original grid position of 30th when the first caution flag of the day flew for a single-car incident on lap four. He reported to crew chief Dave Winston that his Toyota was “so far, pretty good.” Suárez restarted 29th when the race went back to green on lap seven.
● The second caution flag flew on lap 21, four laps short of the scheduled competition caution, with Suárez running 29th. He pitted for tires, fuel, air pressure adjustments and tape added to the grille and restarted 29th when the race went back to green on lap 27.
● A steady mist that was falling since the start of the race had turned to significant drizzle by lap 43, and the caution flag flew for the moisture on the track with Suárez still running 29th. He pitted for tires and fuel, then pitted a second time for more tape added to the grille and was in 32nd when officials red-flagged the race to attempt to dry the track.
● The red-flag period ended up lasting more than 72 hours as rain persisted through late-morning Wednesday.
● The race was restarted Wednesday afternoon and Suárez took the green flag in 23rd on lap 56.
● He reported a significant vibration during the opening laps before the caution flag flew on lap 59 for a multicar incident while running 29th. He pitted for tires and fuel and restarted 27th when the race went back to green on lap 68.
● The caution flag flew on lap 75 for debris in turns three and four with Suárez having dropped a position to 28th. He stayed on track and restarted 20th when the race went back to green on lap 85.
● After climbing as high as 17th in the early laps of the run, Suárez crossed the line 27th at stage’s end, reporting his Toyota was “free on entry and tight everywhere else.” He pitted for tires and fuel with left-side air pressure adjustments.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 106-210):
● Started 25th, finished 29th.
● Suárez was running 28th when the caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 133. He reported his Toyota was tight, but also a little free in the rear, making grip problematic. He pitted for tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments and restarted 28th when the race went back to green on lap 138.
● The team called for an extended run and Suárez was able to make his fuel last all the way to lap 203, when he pitted for fuel only. He crossed the line 29th at stage’s end. He pitted during the break for tires, fuel, left-front and right-rear air pressure adjustments, and packer added to the left front.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 211-334):
● Started 29th, finished 27th.
● Suárez gained two positions during the first half of the stage, pitting from 27th under green on lap 276 for tires and fuel. He settled back into the same position, and held that spot all the way to the checkered flag.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 The NASCAR Foundation Toyota Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:
“That was an experience, waiting to finish the race three days after it started. We struggled on the short runs but then our NASCAR Foundation Toyota was pretty decent after about 20 or 30 laps. Then, something happened during the second half of the race that cost us speed. Something felt like it broke in the engine and we lost 60 or 70 horsepower. Not sure what it was.”
● Kyle Busch won the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 to score his 57th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his fourth at Texas. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr., was .468 of a second.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 47 laps.
● Only 15 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Kevin Harvick remains the championship leader after Texas with a 15-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule for Suárez and Gaunt Brothers Racing is the Xfinity 500 on Sunday, Nov. 1 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The penultimate event of the 36-race points paying season starts at 2 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.