Date: July 5, 2020
Event: Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 (Round 16 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish: 37th / 20th (Running, completed 160 of 161 laps)
Point Standing: 31st with 159 points
Note: Race extended one lap past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):
● Started 37th, finished 23rd.
● After an almost hour-long delay for lightning at the start of the race, Daniel Suárez made forward progress from the drop of the green flag, moving up to 33rd on the opening lap, 32nd on lap three, 30th by lap four, and settled back in 32nd by the time the competition caution flag flew on lap 12. He reported the balance of his Certified Used Vehicles Camry was good, and reiterated the importance of keeping up with the track as the race evolved. He pitted for four tires, fuel, slight air pressure adjustments to both fronts, and to remove a packer. He narrowly avoided contact during a multicar pileup at the entrance of pit road along the way. The race was red-flagged for 11 minutes to clean up the mess.
● Suárez restarted 20th on lap 19 and gradually dropped back to 25th by the time the caution flag flew again for a single-car incident on lap 40. He reported a power steering issue during the run and the team had a chance to apply a quick initial fix with the stage break less than 10 laps away. He restarted 23rd on lap 46 after a second stop to top off the fuel tank and take four fresh tires and held position until the caution flag waved to end the stage on lap 50 before pitting for an additional fix to the power steering issue.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):
● Started 27th, finished 20th.
● Suárez steadily gained positions after taking the green flag to start the stage, working his way up to 23rd by the time the caution flag waved for a single-car incident on lap 74. He pitted for tires, fuel and to make sure the power steering fixes were adequate, as well as to check the alternator fan.
● He restarted 25th on lap 82 and was up to 23rd when the caution flag flew again for a single-car incident before the end of the lap.
● The next restart was short lived, as well. Suárez took the green 23rd and was up to 21st when the caution flag flew yet again for another single-car incident. He pitted this time for four tires, fuel, slight air pressure and track bar adjustments.
● Suárez restarted 22nd on lap 91 and picked up two positions before the stage break, during which he stayed on track.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-161):
● Started 7th, finished 20th.
● Suárez took the green flag on lap 105 as the final car among the leaders to stay on track through the break. He was back to 21st and settled in that position by lap 112, losing positions to cars on fresh tires.
● The final scheduled fuel-and-tire stop for Suárez came under green on lap 130 after he climbed to 14th. He resumed in 24th and found himself one lap down when the caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 132.
● Suárez restarted 20th and in the Lucky Dog position when the race went back to green on lap 138, and was 21st when the caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 153.
● He restarted 20th and held position through the green-white-checkered finish for the team’s second top-20 of the season.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:
“I thought the balance of our Certified Used Vehicles Toyota was good today and we did a good job of keeping up with the track. One thing we know we have to do is keep working to find more speed. The team did a good job dealing with a couple of issues we had, one with the power steering that took a couple of extra stops to fix. We worked hard and got a top-20 out of it, but we also know we are better than that and we know the areas we need to keep working on. We’ll just keep working hard on getting better and if we keep working hard, we will. We all want this.”
● Suárez’s 20th-place finish was the team’s best since its 18th-place result May 31 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
● Kevin Harvick won today’s Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 for his fourth victory of the season and his third in 20 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Indianapolis. His margin of victory over second-place Matt Kenseth was .743 of a second.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 43 laps.
● Only 19 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Indianapolis with an 85-point advantage over second-place Chase Elliott.
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule for Suárez and the Gaunt Brothers Racing team is the Quaker State 400 on Sunday, July 12 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!