RACE: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Bank of America 500
TRACK: Charlotte Motor Speedway
DRIVER: Daniel Suárez
CAR: No. 19 STANLEY Toyota Camry
Daniel Suárez and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) returned to the track for their second and final visit of the 2017 season at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend for the annual Bank of America 500. Sporting the STANLEY colors once again this weekend in the Queen City, Suárez earned the 14th starting position during qualifying on Friday night. Suárez and the STANLEY team took the green flag under cloudy skies at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday afternoon. After 337 laps were complete at the Concord, NC facility, Suárez crossed the finish line in the sixth position, his fourth-consecutive top-10 finish.
Following the drop of the green flag, Suárez worked his way to 10th by lap 10 and maintained his position until brushing the wall in turn one on lap 15. After slight contact with the wall, Suárez was scored in 16th when the first caution of the afternoon waved on lap 35. Under the caution, crew chief Scott Graves called the rookie down pit road for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments to the STANLEY Camry. Following a lightning-quick stop by his crew, Suárez restarted in 11th on lap 40. With the latest changes to the STANLEY Camry working, Suárez worked his way up to seventh by lap 55 and was scored in ninth when the caution flag waved once again on lap 90 signaling the end of Stage One. Fighting a tight Camry during the run, Graves used the caution to once again bring Suárez down pit road for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. Following another great stop by his crew, Suárez restarted in eighth on lap 97, the start of Stage Two.
With the latest round of changes upsetting the STANLEY Camry during the run, Suárez slipped to 12th by lap 101 and was scored in 14th when the caution flag waved once again on lap 116. Under the caution, Graves once again brought Suárez down pit road for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. Following the stop, Suárez restarted in 16th on lap 120. With the latest round of changes working during the run, Suárez worked his way up to 15th by lap 121 and was scored in 13th when the caution flag waved once again on lap 136. After a four-tire stop under the caution, Suárez was caught speeding on pit road and restarted at the tail end of the longest line in 27th on lap 140. Despite the setback, Suárez charged his way towards the front and was scored in 20th when the caution flag waved once again on lap 180, the end of stage two. Following another pit stop under the caution, Suárez restarted in 21st on lap 185, the start of the final stage.
The 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion continued his march towards the front during the third and final stage, being scored in 10th on lap 225 when Graves called the Rookie down pit road for their first green-flag pit stop of the afternoon. Following the stop, Suárez returned to the track and was scored in 13th when green-flag stops cycled through on lap 234. Suárez continued to maintain his position inside the top-15 until a late-race caution waved on lap 326. With another set of Goodyear Eagles in the pit box, Graves once again called Suárez down pit road for one final pit stop. Following the stop, Suárez restarted in 10th on lap 328. Suárez would continue his march towards the front, surviving a late-race caution and NASCAR overtime to cross the finish line in the sixth positon, securing his fourth-consecutive top-10 finish.
With his sixth-place finish, Suárez was the highest finishing rookie for the third time in the last four races.
The MENCS returns to action next Sunday, October 15th when they return to Talladega Superspeedway for the Alabama 500. The race will be broadcast live at 2:00 PM ET on NBC, MRN Radio and SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio.
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