Date: Sept. 6, 2020
Event: Cook Out Southern 500 (Round 27 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.366-mile oval)
Format: 367 laps, broken into three stages (115 laps/115 laps/137 laps)
Start/Finish: 28th / 25th (Running, completed 364 of 367 laps)
Point Standing: 31st with 287 points
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr., of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr., of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-115):
● Started 28th, finished 30th.
● Daniel Suárez and his throwback “ARRIS now CommScope” Toyota made initial forward progress to 25th in the opening laps but then settled in 31st during the 25-lap run to the competition caution. He reported being tight and loose on the two ends of the egg-shaped oval, respectively, and pitted for tires, fuel, right-side air pressure adjustments, a track bar adjustment, packer removed from both fronts, and tape added to the grille. He restarted 29th when the race went back to green on lap 33.
● On lap 71, Suárez was among the first to pit under green, bringing his CommScope Toyota to pit lane for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. He settled in 30th when the rest of the field completed green-flag stops, the second car one lap down.
● The first incident-related caution flag appeared on lap 81 with Suárez running 30th. He reported his CommScope Toyota was “pretty good” in the initial laps since the pit stop. He stayed on track to take the wave-around back onto the lead lap, where he took the green flag 28th on lap 86.
● The stage stayed green until the caution flag flew to end it on lap 115 and Suárez crossed the line 30th. He pitted during the break for tires and fuel, air pressure adjustments to both rears, a left-rear track bar adjustment, and tape added to the grille.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 116-230):
● Started 29th, finished 29th.
● Suárez reported his CommScope Toyota was tight in the intial laps of the stage but then got free over the long run. He pitted under green from 10th on lap 173 and took four tires, fuel, and air pressure adjustments to both rears, and was 31st when the rest of the field completed green-flag stops.
● The caution flag waved for a single-car incident on lap 179 with Suárez holding down the 31st position. He stayed on track to take the wave-around back onto the lead lap, and restarted 28th when the race went back to green on lap 185.
● With the race staying green until the end of the stage on lap 230, Suárez was running 30th a majority of the time before finishing it 29th. He reported his CommScope Toyota was now a little better on the short runs but then way too loose over the long run. He pitted during the break for tires, fuel, air pressure and track bar adjustments in an effort to tighten up the racecar considerably.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 231-367):
● Started 29th, finished 25th.
● A single-car incident brought out the caution flag just nine laps into the segment with Suárez running 28th. He stayed on track to take the wave-around back onto the lead lap and restarted 25th when the race went back to green on lap 250.
● Suárez was running 16th when he pitted under green on lap 290 for tires, fuel and air pressure and track bar adjustments. He resumed 25th.
● Debris on the backstretch brought out the caution flag on lap 320 with Suárez running 26th. He stayed on track and restarted 25th when the race went back to green on lap 326 and held his position during the final green-flag run to the checkered flag.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 CommScope Toyota Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:
“We made the most of what we had in our throwback CommScope Toyota tonight. We didn’t have the speed we were hoping for, but everybody did a good job turning us around into the right direction. We struggled to find grip in the beginning, when we were not too good on the short runs but better on the long runs. That changed when the track changed – we were pretty good on the short run but then too free over the longer run. I’m proud of Dave (Winston, crew chief) and the guys for their hard work making the car better at the end of the race.”
● Tonight’s result was the eighth top-25 of the season for Suárez and his No. 96 CommScope Toyota.
● Kevin Harvick won the Cook Out Southern 500 to score his 57th career victory, eighth of the season and third at Darlington. His margin of victory over second-place Austin Dillon was .343 of a second.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 34 laps.
● Twenty of the 39 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule for Suárez and Gaunt Brothers Racing is the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. 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!