Date: July 28, 2019
Event: Gander RV 400 (Round 21 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish: 7th/24th (Running, completed 163 of 163 laps)
Point Standing: 18th with 501 points, 323 out of first
Note: Race extended three laps past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):
● Daniel Suárez started seventh and finished 12th.
● The No. 41 Haas Automation Mustang was free on entry and tight on exit before Suárez pitted from the sixth position for a scheduled green-flag stop on lap 24. He received right-side tires and fuel.
● Suárez returned to the track in 24th and worked his way up to 12th before the conclusion of the first stage.
● During the Stage 1 break Suárez pitted for four tires, fuel and additional adjustments as the Haas Automation Ford had become tighter after the previous changes.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):
● The No. 41 driver started 24th and ended the stage in 26th.
● Suárez restarted 24th with several cars staying on track at the stage break.
● The Ford driver advanced to the 16th position before the second caution of the day on lap 85. He pitted under yellow for four tires and fuel.
● Suárez restarted 19th on lap 87 and gained two positions before caution came out on lap 93 for light rain.
● When the field returned to green on lap 95, Suárez was involved in a fierce battle for position when he sustained damage to the right side of his Haas Automation Mustang.
● The 27-year-old driver was able to stay on track until caution came out for a car spinning in turn three.
● He pitted on lap 100 for four tires, fuel and repairs, and returned for a second stop to make adjustments before going green for the final stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-163):
● The Haas Automation driver started 27th and finished 24th.
● The Mexico native gained four spots on the restart to sit 23rd when caution came out on lap 115.
● The No. 41 team chose to pit for fuel only and lined up fifth for the lap-117 restart.
● Suárez had dropped to the 16th position by lap 130 after being passed by teams with fresher tires.
● When caution came out on lap 152, Suárez pitted for right-side tires and fuel. He lined up 19th for the lap-156 restart.
● Suárez jumped to the 10th position on the restart, which was followed by another caution on lap 158.
● After being told that he had received a restart violation, Suárez pitted for left-side tires and dropped to the rear of the field.
● He was unable to advance his position in overtime and crossed the finish line in 24th.
● Denny Hamlin won the Gander RV 400 to score his 34th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his fifth at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Erik Jones was .341 of a second.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 24 laps.
● Only 25 of the 38 drivers in the Gander RV 400finished on the lead lap.
● Joey Logano remains the championship leader after Pocono with a six-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.
Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We worked on the Haas Automation Ford Mustang all day and ended up in a really good position in the top-10 for the last restart. We were told we had a penalty and had to restart in the back, which really hurt us because it was just so hard to pass today. It was disappointing to not get a good finish, but we’re usually pretty good at Watkins Glen, so we’ll try to make up for it there.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Go Bowling at The Glen on Sunday, Aug. 4 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!