'Amazing' pit call helps Suarez move into playoff contention

Daniel Suarez can see the light at the end of the NASCAR playoff tunnel.

'Amazing' pit call helps Suarez move into playoff contention
 Daniel Suarez, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Haas Automation
 Daniel Suarez, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Haas Automation
 Daniel Suarez, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Haas Automation
 Daniel Suarez, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Haas Automation
Daniel Suarez, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Haas Automation and Billy Scott
 Daniel Suarez, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Haas Automation Demo Day
 Daniel Suarez, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Haas Automation Demo Day

Some smart stage racing strategy and a gritty eighth-place finish in Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway has put Suarez into position to claim one of the 16 berths in the Cup Series playoffs.

With two races remaining before the 16-driver field is set, Suarez now owns the last spot, holding a two-point advantage over Clint Bowyer

Races at Darlington, S.C., and Indianapolis Motor Speedway remain before the playoffs begin at Las Vegas.

Why stage points matter

Bowyer actually finished ahead of Suarez in the race, but a decision by Suarez’s team to not pit late in Stage 2 gave him a second-place finish and nine extra points.

“I feel like we had a top-10 car the entire weekend and that’s pretty much where we ran. We had some ups and downs on pit road and had some mistakes there as well as some electrical issues that I feel like we’re lucky we were able to continue to finish the race with the battery, but overall I’m proud of my team,” Suarez said.

“Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going in the next few weeks.”

About the decision to stay out in Stage 2 and collect stage points, Suarez said, “I feel like that was probably the biggest thing of the day. I feel like that was an amazing call from my crew chief Billy Scott and I’m proud of that call.

“We have to just keep making those decisions.”

 

Had Matt DiBenedetto won the race – Denny Hamlin passed him with 11 of 500 laps remaining to take the victory – that would have greatly shaken up the playoff picture, putting drivers who haven’t won yet this season like Suarez is a dire situation.

Suarez said he remains focused on what his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing team does because it’s all he can control.

“I feel like I have to do my race and let everything else play out by itself. I can’t control that, but I will tell you that I wish in a way I’m kind of lucky that he didn’t win, but I wish he would have won the race because he’s an amazing driver,” Suarez said.  

“He deserves that ride and he’s been doing a very good job this year.”

Read Also:

shares
comments
Emotional DiBenedetto "wanted to win so bad" at Bristol

Previous article

Emotional DiBenedetto "wanted to win so bad" at Bristol

Next article

Kyle Busch: "Flat out getting our ass kicked by our teammates"

Kyle Busch: "Flat out getting our ass kicked by our teammates"
Load comments
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020