Top-30 Finish for Suárez at Las Vegas
Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Team Weathers First-Lap Glitch
Date: Feb. 23, 2020
Event: Pennzoil 400
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 35th / 30th (Running, completed 263 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 34th with seven points, 78 out of first
Race Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Daniel Suárez started 35th, finished 33rd.
● With five cars ahead of him on the grid having to go to the rear, Suárez took the green flag from 30th. Less than halfway through the first lap, he reported the No. 96 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry lost power. He came to a stop on the apron just short of turn three, bringing out the caution flag.
● Safety crews pushed Suárez back to his pit box during the caution. There the team was able to reset the electronics and successfully refire the engine. Suárez rejoined the race in 38th place, two laps down.
● A competition caution waved on lap 25, and Suárez pitted from 37th for four tires, fuel, and track bar and air pressure adjustments to help fight a loose condition.
● Suárez finished the segment 33rd, three laps down. He pitted for four tires, fuel, tape on the grill, and further air pressure and track bar adjustments. He resumed in 32nd, three laps down.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Started 32nd, three laps down, and finished 32nd, four laps down.
● Suárez held position throughout the stage, which began for him with a long, 60-lap fuel-and-tire run. He pitted from 32nd on lap 140 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to both front tires. He resumed in 32nd, four laps down.
● The team opted to have Suárez stay out on track during the stage break. He took the wave-around, gaining one position and one of the four laps he trailed to the leaders. The team planned to make it to the end of the race on just one more stop.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Started 31st, three laps down, finished 30th, four laps down.
● The caution flag flew on lap 168, sending Suárez to the pits for four tires and fuel on lap 170. He continued in 31st, three laps down, on the lap-171 restart.
● Suárez reported the rear end of the car felt different – “darty” – in the opening laps of the ensuing restart. The caution then flew again on lap 175 and gave Suárez the opportunity to attend to the rear-end issue. He pitted from 31st on lap 178 to top off the car with gas and make rear-end adjustments. He resumed in 31st.
● The final fuel-and-tire stop for the native of Monterrey, Mexico, came under green on lap 245, when the team also made slight air pressure adjustments again to both front tires. He dropped from 29th to 30th and held position the rest of the way.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:
“Obviously, this is just a learning process. We had an issue with the ECU box in the beginning. We couldn’t figure out what was going on, but it put us into a hole and it was difficult to get out of the hole. I feel like we could have finished somewhere in the top-25, maybe even better than that. We had to fight hard. We learned a lot of different things that we can improve for next week. It feels good to get that first race in. We now know what we have to work on. We just have to go out there and keep digging.”
● Joey Logano won the Las Vegas 400 to score his 24th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his second at Las Vegas. He beat second-place Matt DiBenedetto as the race ended under caution.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 37 laps.
● Twenty-four of the 38 drivers in the Las Vegas 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Ryan Blaney leaves Las Vegas as the championship leader with a three-point advantage over second-place Logano.
The next event for Suárez and Gaunt Brothers Racing is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 1, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at 3 p.m.