Daniel Suarez is finally a NASCAR Cup Series winner having completed the job in dominating fashion Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.
Suarez led the most laps (47) in the Toyota / Save Mart 350 and won by a margin of 3.8s over Chris Buescher. It was the pit strategy of crew chief Travis Mack that kept Suarez near the front of the field and cycling to the race lead after the final caution flew with 28 laps to go.
When the race restarted, Suarez ran the final 23 laps perfectly. Although Buescher initially kept pace with Suarez, the No. 99 of Suarez started to pull away with 10 laps to go.
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“It’s crazy; I have so many thoughts in my head right now,” Suarez said. “It’s been a rough go. It’s been a rough journey in the Cup Series and these guys believe in me – Trackhouse Racing, Justin Marks, Ty Norris, and everyone that helped me to get to this point. A lot of people in Mexico — my family; They never gave up on me. A lot of people did, but they didn’t, so I’m very happy that we were able to make it work.”
Suarez delivered Trackhouse Racing their third win of the season and is the first driver from Mexico to win a NASCAR Cup Series race. He is the fourth first-time winner this season joining Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe and teammate Ross Chastain.
Suarez is the 12th different winner in the first 16 races.
Behind Suarez and Buescher was Michael McDowell in third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Cindric fifth. Ryan Blaney finished sixth, Chastain seventh, Chase Elliott eighth, William Byron ninth, and Brad Keselowski completed the top 10.
Elliott led 26 laps and rebounded from a pit road penalty in the second stage — having to go to the rear of the field. After leaving his pit box, Elliott was called back when the team realized the left rear wheel was loose. He did not back up all the way into his stall and the team was called for pitting outside the box.
Kyle Larson finished 15th after starting from the pole, winning the first stage and leading 26 laps. He was taken out of contention when the right-front wheel came off his Chevrolet causing the race’s final caution.
Joey Logano won the second stage and finished 17th.
Joey Hand finished 20th for Rick Ware Racing in his second start of the season.
Thirty-five of the 36 starters finished the race. Bubba Wallace was the only DNF due to a blown engine.
There were six lead changes among six drivers and four caution flags Sunday afternoon.