Suárez Nets 27th-Place Result at Martinsville
Peacock Returns on GBR Toyota at Next Week’s Season Finale
Date: Nov. 1, 2020
Event: Xfinity 500 (Round 35 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish: 29th / 27th (Running, completed 497 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 31st with 359 points
Race Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):
● Started 29th, finished 23rd.
● Suárez and his Peacock Toyota Camry dropped a position to 30th by the time the competition caution flag flew on lap 60. He reported his racecar fired off well, but then began losing its ability to turn in the center and also lost forward drive toward the end of the run. He pitted for four tires, fuel, air pressure and track bar adjustments and restarted 30th when the race went back to green on lap 68.
● It was a short run to the next caution flag that appeared on lap 74 for a two-car incident with Suárez running 30th. He stayed on track and restarted in the same position when the race went back to green on lap 79, one lap down but in the Lucky Dog position.
● The next caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 103 with Suárez still running 30th. He pitted for tires, fuel and packer removed from the left-front and resumed 30th, back on the lead lap, when the race went back to green on lap 109.
● Another caution flag flew for a multicar incident on lap 116 with Suárez running 30th. He pitted for fuel only and restarted 25th when the race went back to green on lap 120. He picked up two positions during the 10-lap run to the end of the stage, pitting during the break for tires, fuel, and front air pressure adjustments to help with the tight condition in corner center.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):
● Started 26th, finished 24th.
● Seven laps after going green to start the stage on lap 139, Suárez was running 23rd when cars suddenly checked up ahead of him on lap 146. He made contact with the car ahead and then was hit from behind. The front-end damage required repair work and he pitted multiple times during the caution before restarting 32nd when the race went back to green on lap 158.
● Suárez was up to 28th when the caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 184. He said the handling was improving but he was still having a difficult time turning in the center. He pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to the left sides, and tape added to the grille. He restarted 23rd when the race went back to green on lap 192.
● The next caution flag flew on lap 215 for a single-car incident with Suárez running 22nd. He said the left-side air pressure adjustments during the last stop helped. He pitted for four tires and to top off the fuel tank, as well as tape added to the grille. He restarted 26th when the race went back to green on lap 221, and gained two positions by the end of the stage. He pitted during the break for tires, fuel and right-rear track bar adjustments.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 261-500):
● Started 22nd, finished 27th.
● The initial run of the stage was the longest of the day, from the green flag on lap 267 to the caution for a single-car incident on lap 351. Suárez reported the adjustments made at the end of Stage 2 hurt more than helped his Peacock Toyota, so he pitted for tires, fuel and to go back on the adjustments made during the last stop. He restarted 27th when the race went back to green on lap 358.
● Suárez was 28th when the next caution flag appeared on lap 399. He stayed on track and restarted 27th when the race went back to green on lap 408.
● Suárez picked up a position but fell to two laps down during the run to a lap-449 caution flag for a single-car incident. He stayed on track to take the wave-around to within one lap down and restarted 27th when the race went back to green on lap 449.
● Having last pitted on lap 353, Suárez’s tires just didn’t have the grip he needed to make any more forward progress on his way to the checkered flag.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 Peacock Toyota Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:
“Well, we finished 27th. I think Dave (Winston, crew chief) did a good job with our Peacock Toyota. The balance of the car was OK, I think good enough for 30th or 29th, but we finished a little bit better than that. We have to keep working. One more.”
● Chase Elliott won the Xfinity 500 to score his 10th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place Ryan Blaney was 6.577 seconds.
● There were 12 caution periods for a total of 83 laps.
● Only 17 of the 39 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Elliott advanced to next week’s winner-take-all Championship 4 with fellow playoff drivers Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule for Suárez and Gaunt Brothers Racing is the season finale Sunday, Nov. 8 at Phoenix Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.