Daniel Suarez on contract status with SHR: ‘We are getting close’

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DOVER, Del. — Daniel Suarez said Friday that meetings in the next couple of weeks could determine his status for 2020 and also discussed his incident with Ryan Newman at the end of last weekend’s race.

Suarez says he and Stewart-Haas Racing are “not there yet” on his contract status for next year, but “we are getting close. … We’re still working. There are a lot of things moving the right direction.”

Suarez, who is in his first season at Stewart-Haas Racing, says sponsorship is a key.

“Everything is of the sponsor,” Suarez said Friday at Dover International Speedway. “If you have a sponsor, you can drive tomorrow, that’s how it works. We have some important meetings in the next couple of weeks that will give us a good direction of where we’re at. We have to be working at that. I know where I want to be. They know where they want me to be. We have to make sure we have the funds to do it.”

Suarez has said that Stewart-Haas Racing has an option on his contract for next year. He also has said he has an option.

Suarez missed the playoffs this season. He enters Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway (2:30 pm. ET on NBCSN) 17th in the points, the highest a non-playoff driver can finish in the points.

He leads Jimmie Johnson by six points for 17th. Suarez saw his lead on Johnson dwindle after finishing 34th at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. Suarez crashed at the end after an incident with Newman. They talked on pit road afterward.

Suarez explained what led to that incident:

“We were running towards the top the entire race and one of the pit stops we decided to stay out with no tires and everyone behind me took tires so we put ourselves in a bad situation. That is racing. Sometimes you make good decisions and sometimes you make bad ones. Unfortunately for us, that was a bad one and I put myself in the mess with all those guys that were fighting like dogs out there. It was a tough situation.”

Suarez hit the wall when Newman moved up the track to go to an area designated to serve a stop-and-go penalty for missing the backstretch chicane.

“I was very disappointed and I went to talk to Ryan after the race and he swears that he didn’t do it on purpose,” Suarez said. “Who knows if that is true or not but that is what he said and that is what I have to believe.

“If he was saying otherwise, I was going to go after him. He said he didn’t do it on purpose. He gave me his explanation of how things happened but as a driver it wasn’t a little contact. It was pretty hard contact.

“He missed the chicane and had to do a pass through, which is why I was passing him on the outside and all of a sudden he turned right. He told me he was going to do a stop and go. Who knows? Who cares at this point anymore? We just have to move on. I am here in Dover, one of my favorite places to race and I want to take advantage of that.”

Brandon Jones wins Xfinity pole at Texas Motor Speedway

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Playoff driver Brandon Jones won the pole position Saturday morning for Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Jones was clocked at 185.637 miles per hour.

MORE: Texas Xfinity qualifying results

MORE: Texas Xfinity starting lineup

Scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday on the USA Network, the race is the opening event of the Xfinity playoffs.

Following Jones in the top five were Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric, John Hunter Nemechek and Sam Mayer.

MORE: Post-race celebration? Try the Waffle House

The race is 200 laps (300 miles) on the 1.5-mile track. Drivers will be battling heat in the mid-to-high 90s.

 

NASCAR Saturday schedule at Texas Motor Speedway

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NASCAR Cup and Xfinity teams will be busy Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Cup Series enters the second round of the playoffs with 12 drivers remaining for the title. Cup teams will practice and qualify today.

The Xfinity Series begins its playoffs Saturday with 12 drivers in championship contention. Xfinity teams will practice and qualify before racing.

All track activity will be broadcast on USA Network. The temperature will climb into the mid-90s Saturday, according to Weather Underground.

Saturday, Sept. 24

Garage open

  • 8:30 a.m. — Xfinity Series
  • 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 10:30 – 11:05 a.m. — Xfinity Series practice (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 11:05 a.m. – noon — Xfinity Series qualifying (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 12:35 – 1:20 p.m. — Cup Series practice (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 1:20 – 2:30 p.m. — Cup Series qualifying (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 3:30 p.m. — Xfinity Series race (200 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, NBC Sports App, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday Texas Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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The Xfinity Series playoffs begin this weekend. Noah Gragson and Ty Gibbs enter as the favorites. They’ve combined to win 11 of the 26 races this season.

Gragson, who has six wins this season, seeks to win his fourth consecutive victory.

MORE: Noah Gragson’s special celebrations at Waffle House

Gibbs, who has five victories this year, is one of four drivers in the Xfinity playoffs for the first time. The other three are Josh Berry, Austin Hill and Sam Mayer.

Also in the playoffs are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric, Justin Allgaier, AJ Allmendinger, Brandon Jones, Jeremy Clements, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg.

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Texas Motor Speedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Andy’s Frozen Custard executives Andy Kuntz, Dana Kuntz and Carol Kuntz at 3:38 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:49 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 8:30 a.m. … Practice begins at 10:30 a.m. … Qualifying begins at 11:05 a.m. … Driver introductions are at 3 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Bret Shisler of Texas Alliance Raceway Ministries at 3:30 p.m. … Janie Balderas will perform the anthem at 3:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 200 laps (300 miles) on the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 45. Stage 2 ends at Lap 90.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3 p.m. on USA Network. The post-race show will air on USA Network. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 3 p.m. and also will stream at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 96 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Tyler Reddick gave Big Machine Racing its first series win in May. William Byron was second and Sam Mayer was third.

 

Ryan Blaney’s team to appeal Bristol penalty

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Team Penske will appeal the penalty to Ryan Blaney‘s team from last weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, the organization confirmed Friday.

NASCAR suspended crew chief Jonathan Hassler, jackman Graham Stoddard and rear tire changer Zachary Price four races each after a wheel came off Blaney’s car during a pit stop. His left rear wheel rolled off when he exited his stall and the tire bounced down pit road through before it was captured.

The penalty would have caused Hassler and the pit crew members to miss all of the second round and the first race in the third round. With the appeal. Hassler, Stoddard and Price will be able to participate in Sunday’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network.).

Blaney enters the second round holding the final transfer spot. He, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell are tied with 3,013 points. He won the All-Star Race in May at Texas.

Chase Briscoe is the first driver below the cutline. He’s four points behind Blaney. Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez are each six points behind Blaney. Austin Cindric is seven points behind Blaney.