Date: June 14, 2020
Event: Dixie Vodka 400 (Round 11 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 37th / 31st (Running, completed 263 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 32nd with 113 points
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Started 37th, finished 31st.
● Suárez moved up to 29th in the opening laps and then was back to 31st when the first caution flag flew for lightning on lap four. The race ended up being red-flagged for two hours and eight minutes for several lightning delays before going back to green on lap eight, with Suárez restarting 28th.
● The caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 20 with Suárez running 31st. He said he needed help controlling the rear of the Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry, then pitted for track bar and left-rear air pressure adjustments and restarted 25th when the race went back to green on lap 24.
● Suárez dropped several spots on that restart, saying later his Toyota was “way too tight.” He settled back in 31st and held his position until the race was red-flagged a second time for lightning on lap 31, saying the balance of the car eventually improved.
● Before the race resumed after the 38-minute lightning delay, Suárez pitted under caution for fresh tires and left-side air pressure adjustments. He moved up as high as 24th in the initial laps after the lap-44 restart but then dropped back to 30th shortly thereafter. He said his Toyota was good on the restart but then had trouble with grip – “a little too free.”
● He dropped one position before the caution flew on lap 80 to end the stage. He pitted during the break for tires, fuel, right-side air pressure and left-rear track adjustments and resumed 30th.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Started 30th, finished 31st.
● Suárez dropped a position in the early laps of the stage before saying the balance of his Toyota was “pretty good” but that grip was becoming more and more of an issue.
● Green-flag pit stops cycled through the middle laps of the stage and Suárez was called to pit road from 31st place on lap 132. He said the balance of his Toyota was “not bad, just having trouble with grip.” He took four tires, fuel, left-side and right-front air pressure adjustments and resumed 32nd. He picked up one position before the end of the stage.
● He pitted on lap 164 for tires, fuel and slight air pressure adjustments, saying he was actually quite happy with the balance of his Toyota. Suárez resumed 31st.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Started 31st, finished 31st.
● The green flag flew on lap 167 to start the stage with Suárez 31st.
● He held his position until the caution flag flew on lap 170 for a single-car incident and stayed on track to take the wave-around and moved up to two laps back. The race went back to green on lap 175.
● Suárez made his final scheduled stop of the night under green on lap 220. He said the balance of his Toyota was still decent, and he took four tires, fuel and slight air pressure adjustments to get him to the checkered flag.
● The race went green the rest of the way and Suárez crossed the finish line 31st, four laps down.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:
“It was a good job by the pit crew. It was a good job by Dave (Winston, crew chief) and everyone. The balance of the car was good for most of the night. Now we just need to find more speed.”
● Denny Hamlin won the Dixie Vodka 400 to score his 40th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his third at Homestead. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .895 of a second.
● There were six caution periods for a total of 27 laps.
● Only 15 of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Kevin Harvick remains the championship leader after Homestead with an eight-point advantage over second-place Elliott.
The next NASCAR Cup Series event for Suárez and the Gaunt Brothers Racing team is the GEICO 500 on Sunday, June 21 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!