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Daniel Suarez capitalizes on late woes for teammate, wins first Truck Series race

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After William Byron‘s hope of a race win and a championship went up in his own engine smoke, Daniel Suarez took advantage of his teammate’s woes to win his first Camping World Truck Series race.

Suarez took the lead when Byron’s engine gave up with about 12 laps to go in the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Byron had led a race-high 112 laps from the pole before his engine gave out, allowing Suarez to add to his two Xfinity Series wins this  season.

“I guess it was our time to have a little bit of luck,” Suarez told Fox Sports 1. “This team, (Kyle Busch Motorsports), they work really hard. What a (great) way to clinch the Toyota manufacturer’s championship than with this victory.”

Filling out the top five was Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton, Cameron Hayley and Timothy Peters.

MORE: Race results

It’s Suarez’s first win in 26 Truck Series starts after having four runner-up finishes. He started second and led 34 laps, the fourth most in his career. Suarez likely would have had to settle for another second-place finish if not for Byron’s engine problem.

“I didn’t have any idea about the 9,” Suarez said of Byron. “I actually feel very bad for Byron, He definitely had the best truck out there. He did an amazing job. He was running a perfect race. Things like that happen in racing I guess.”

Byron’s DNF keeps him out of the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway after the rookie won a season-high six races.

Racing for the title in the inaugural Chase season will be Crafton, a two-time champion, Sauter, Peters and rookie Christopher Bell.

MORE: Point standings

HOW DANIEL SUAREZ WON: He took the lead when teammate William Byron lost an engine with 12 to go and led the rest of the way.

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Cameron Hayley finished fourth for his sixth top 10 of the season … John Hunter Nemechek was sixth for his 11th top 10, but just his third in the last seven races … Matt Tifft finished eighth for his third top 10 of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Spencer Gallagher lost control of his No. 23 truck and wrecked in Turn 1 on Lap 11. He finished last … Austin Cindric was involved in three cautions. He spun Myatt Snider while trying to pass him on the inside in the first turn of Lap 1. On the restart from the Gallagher caution, Cindric and Noah Gragson made contact and spun to bring out the third caution. Then on Lap 108, Cindric spun on his own to bring out the eighth caution. Cindric finished 15th … On Lap 78, Kaz Grala and Rico Abreu made contact entering Turn 1, causing Abreu to bounce off the inside wall and Grala to slide up into the outside wall. Abreu finished 11th, Grala in 28th.

NOTABLE: In their first Truck Series starts, Noah Gragson finished 16th and Myatt Sider finished 17th.

NEXT: Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway at 8 p.m. ET on Nov. 18 on Fox Sports 1.

NASCAR America: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. talks Phoenix finish, racing roots

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. joins NASCAR America to go over his fourth-place finish at Phoenix Raceway.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver also shares his racing origins in Mississippi and the hobbies he and girlfriend Danica Patrick share with each other.

Stenhouse is in his fifth full-time year competing in the NASCAR Cup Series with Roush Fenway Racing.

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: Alaska

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NASCAR America continues its journey through the United States with the second chapter in “50 States in 50 Shows.”

Following South Alabama Speedway, the show features Capitol Speedway and Alaska Raceway Park in Alaska.

Owned by Nancy and Wes Wallace, Capitol Speedway is a 3/8th-mile oval and features sprint car racing and demolition derbies.

 

Kevin Harvick crew chief fined, suspended one race for encumbered finish

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Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, Rodney Childers, has been suspended for one NASCAR Cup Series race and fined $25,000 for an unapproved track bar slider assembly last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

The penalty, a L1 infraction, results in an encumbered finish. Harvick placed sixth in the Camping World 500.

The No. 4 team has also been docked 10 driver and owner points. Harvick was seventh in the standings after four races. He trailed leader Kyle Larson by 61 points. The loss of points drops Harvick one spot to eighth behind Jamie McMurray.

Harvick has not won a race yet, which would qualify him for the playoffs.

MORE: Brad Keselowski closes crew chief for three races, team docked 35 driver points

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NASCAR docks Brad Keselowski, Team Penske 35 points; suspends crew chief Paul Wolfe

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NASCAR docked Brad Keselowski 35 points, suspended crew chief Paul Wolfe three races and fined Wolfe $65,000 because Keselowski’s car failed inspection after finishing fifth in last weekend’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR also docked the team 35 owner points for the L1 infraction. NASCAR stated that Keselowski’s result is an encumbered finish.

NASCAR cited Keselowski’s car for failing weights and measurements on the laser platform. NASCAR stated in Wednesday’s penalty report that the team failed the rear wheel steer on the Laser Inspection Station. 

MORE: NASCAR suspends crew chief Rodney Childers one race

Team Penske issued a statement Wednesday:

“We have acknowledged the penalties levied against the No. 2 team following last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.  The race cars returned to the race shop today and we are in the process of evaluating the area in question. In the meantime, we have decided Brian Wilson will serve as Brad Keselowski’s crew chief at Auto Club Speedway while we evaluate our approach relative to today’s penalties.”

The penalty drops Keselowski from second in the standings to fourth heading into this weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway.

The more significant issue is how this could impact Keselowski, who already has a win, in the playoffs.

The top 10 in points before the playoffs begin earn additional points. The points leader earns 15 playoff points. The driver second in the standings earns 10 playoff points, the driver third in the standings earns eight playoff points, the driver fourth in the standings earns seven playoff points. It goes down to the driver 10th in the standings earning one playoff point.

Those playoff points carry through the first three rounds, which is different from last year. Falling behind in the regular season – or losing points because of a penalty – could have ramifications in the playoffs. 

“I think it’s real important to explain why points matter this year,” Keselowski said on Fox Sports 1’s “Race Hub” on Wednesday night. “Last year, you got a win and you locked in and you got to the next round. This year with points, you still lock in with wins. The difference is there’s a huge points bonus for having the most points at the end of the season that carries all the way through the playoffs, and you only get that bonus if you’re one of the best cars and leading up front at the end of the regular season, which requires having a lot of points. Thirty-five points is a pretty big deal, and so is 10 points for Kevin (Harvick) and his team.”

 

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