Suárez Finishes 28th at Fontana
Date: March 1, 2020
Event: Auto Club 400
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (2-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 31st / 28th (Running, completed 198 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 31st with 16 points, 106 out of first
Race Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):
● Started 31st, finished 29th, one lap down.
● Suárez held position through the entire initial fuel-and-tire run, saying the Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry started the run on the loose side and ended on the tight side. He picked up two positions to 29th as the field cycled through the initial green-flag stops.
● He was in 29th and stayed on track through the session break in order to take the wave-around back onto the lead lap.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):
● Started 25th, finished 26th.
● Pitted from 25th on lap 69 for tires, fuel and air-pressure adjustments to free up the car a bit.
● At lap 87, Suárez was running 29th, one lap down, when the team asked him to save fuel enough to make it to the end of the segment.
● The caution flag flew shortly thereafter, and Suárez was called into the pits after all on lap 93 to take on four tires and fuel. He resumed 26th and was the beneficiary of the free pass back onto the lead lap.
● Suárez reported the car was getting tighter and tighter through the course of the run but that it was manageable.
● Pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to both fronts during the stage break.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 121-200):
● Started 24th, finished 28th, two laps down.
● Suárez drove up to 13th as the field cycled through green-flag pit stops. He finally pitted on lap 162 for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment and resumed in 27th, one lap down.
● The No. 96 Toyota Used Vehicles Camry dropped another lap to the leaders in the closing laps and took the checkered flag 28th.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:
“It was OK. It was a decent day. We pretty much maximized what we’ve got. We’ve got to keep working to get more speed out of the racecar. We’re one more race further along as a team, and everything was pretty smooth from beginning to end, no major dramas. We’ll go on to Phoenix and try and get that much better there.”
● Alex Bowman won the Auto Club 400 to score his second career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Fontana. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was 8.904 seconds.
● There were three caution periods for a total of 13 laps.
● Only 17 of the 38 drivers in the Auto Club 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Ryan Blaney remains the championship leader after Fontana with an 11-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.
The next event for Suárez and Gaunt Brothers Racing is the FanShield 500k on Sunday, March 8, at Phoenix Raceway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.