Date: July 19, 2020
Event: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (Round 18 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 334 laps, broken into three stages (105 laps/105 laps/124 laps)
Start/Finish: 37th / 23rd (Running, completed 329 of 334 laps)
Point Standing: 31st with 184 points
Race Winner: Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-105):
● Started 37th, finished 31st.
● From his 37th starting position, Daniel Suárez was up to 32nd by the lap-20 competition caution. He said his Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry was “low on grip and tight pretty much all around the track.” He pitted for tires, fuel, left-rear air pressure and track bar adjustments.
● Suárez restarted 29th on lap 25 and settled in the 31st position for a majority of the run.
● Green-flag pit stops commenced on lap 70 and Suárez was able to make his fuel last until lap 93, when he pitted from 17th place for four tires, fuel, and a right-rear air pressure adjustment. He resumed in 31st, the only car one lap down, with 12 laps to go to the stage break.
● Suárez held position to the stage break but one other car fell off the lead lap ahead of him. He said he needed big help getting through turns one and two, where the splitter was making contact with the track. He pitted during the stage break for a right-rear track bar adjustment and added tape on the grille.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 106-210):
● Started 31st, finished 31st.
● Suárez took the green flag on lap 112 in 31st place and held position until the caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 116. He pitted for a right-rear track bar adjustment and subsequently had to serve a one-lap penalty because tape was being pulled off the grille while it began rolling out of the pit box. He restarted 34th on lap 122, shown three laps down.
● Suárez was up to 30th when he made his second green-flag stop of the race on lap 189. His Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry was working well in turns three and four, still not so much in one and two. He took four tires and fuel, and more air pressure and track bar adjustments, and resumed in 31st.
● The caution flag flew on lap 210 to end the stage with Suárez holding down the 31st position, six laps down. He stayed on track during the break and took the wave-around to gain one lap.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 211-334):
● Started 31st, finished 23rd.
● Suárez held position during the lap-218 restart and avoided an 11-car incident ahead of him before the end of the lap that brought out the red flag for 11 minutes, 29 seconds. He pitted when caution flags commenced for four tires, fuel and a spring rubber added to the right rear. He took the green flag in 30th on lap 224, five laps down.
● The caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 243 with Suárez having climbed to 26th place. He pitted during the caution for four tires and fuel and resumed 27th. He picked up a position when the race went back to green on lap 248, and then the caution flag flew again for a two-car incident.
● Suárez took the green flag 26th on lap 255, then was up to 25th by lap 258 and up to 24th by lap 263.
● He was holding position through the run until the caution flag flew for a single-car incident in turn four. He stayed on track and restarted 24th when the race went back to green on lap 311.
● The caution flag flew again on lap 319, this time for a two-car incident in turn two with Suárez running 24th. He pitted for a splash of fuel and left-side tires only and resumed 24th when the race went back to green on lap 323.
● Suárez moved up to 23rd on lap 325 and held that position the rest of the way, including during a lap-328 caution that set up a final two-lap sprint to the checkered flag.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:
“I want to thank everyone for all the effort today. Our Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry was turning pretty good the last part of the race, but it was a struggle to find grip all day, especially in traffic. We got a respectable finish out of it, but obviously we know where we’re at and we know we need to just keep working. We have a lot of work to do.”
● Suárez’s 23rd-place finish was the single-car team’s fifth top-25 of the season.
● He’s driven the No. 96 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry to the checkered flag in 17 consecutive races.
● Austin Dillon won the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 to score his third career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Texas. His margin of victory over teammate and second-place Tyler Reddick was .149 of a second.
● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 45 laps.
● Only 18 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Kevin Harvick remains the championship leader after Texas with a 91-point advantage over second-place Ryan Blaney.
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule for Suárez and the Gaunt Brothers Racing team is the Super Start Batteries 400 on Thursday, July 23 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!