Daniel Suarez fast again, gets the result on dirt at Bristol

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One week ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Daniel Suarez had a top-10 performance and looked poised to finish there – until a speeding penalty on his last pit stop relegated him to 17th at day’s end.

But during Monday’s dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Suarez had even better pace. This time, there were no setbacks.

Suarez’s fourth-place finish was the first top five for new Cup organization Trackhouse Racing. It was also his first top five since November 2019 at Texas Motor Speedway, where he finished third for Stewart-Haas Racing.

“It’s the second week in a row that we’ve been running strong,” Suarez said after the race. “I don’t see this as, ‘Ok, we ran good because we’re on dirt.’ I feel like everyone at Trackhouse Racing has done an incredible job to work hard on these cars and get them better. (There’s) really a lot of support from RCR (Richard Childress Racing) – engines and chassis and everything.

“I feel like we still have a long ways to go from where we want to be, but we’re heading in the right direction. Hopefully, we can compete in the top 10, top five like we’ve been doing the last couple weeks on a weekly basis. Eventually, we’re going to get a trophy.”

Earlier this month, Suarez described the “potential” he saw in his new organization. During that same teleconference, he also said he had never raced on dirt before.

Last week, Suarez turned his first laps on dirt at Smoky Mountain Speedway (Maryville, Tennessee) to prepare for the Bristol weekend. In addition to running the Cup race, Suarez would run the Camping World Truck Series race for Young’s Motorsports.

After two days of bad weather, Suarez finally pulled double duty Monday at “The World’s Fastest Half Mile.” He finished 17th in the Truck race before stepping into his Cup ride.

Starting 18th, Suarez found himself inside the top 10 at the Lap 50 competition caution. He climbed as high as second place before ending the first stage in fourth place.

Suarez moved back into second place on the restart to begin the second stage at Lap 103, then slowly reeled in Martin Truex Jr. before taking the lead on a bump-and-run at Lap 135.

During the Lap 150 competition caution, Suarez told Fox Sports from pit road with a laugh: “Honestly, I don’t even know what I’m doing.”

Suarez finished second in the stage behind eventual race winner Joey Logano. But before the final 50-lap stage began, a period of track preparation took place on the Bristol half-mile.

The changes were not to Suarez’s liking.

“They did a lot of things to the racetrack – to some cars, it came to them; some others, they lost the balance a little bit,” Suarez said. “Unfortunately, I was one of those that lost the balance a little bit. For some reason, my rear grip wasn’t the same. I felt that my car was capable to challenge for the race lead before that. I kind of like had a plan in my mind.

“The last 50 laps, for some reason, I lost that grip. I just couldn’t do much about it. From being a first- or second-place car, I became a fifth- to fourth-place car. That’s exactly where we ended.”

Suarez chalked it up to being on a “learning curve” with dirt. He’ll have another opportunity next spring at Bristol to put that lesson learned into practice.

But after Monday’s great run, he and Trackhouse will enjoy the Easter weekend off before turning their attention back to asphalt at Martinsville Speedway.

“For now, I’m really looking forward to sitting down a little bit, relax for a few days, try to see everything that we have done the last month and a half, either good or bad, and what can we do better,” Suarez said.

“But I definitely believe that this team is very good and we just keep getting better and better. I’m just very excited and happy to be back racing with these guys.”

“I feel like Martinsville has been a good place for me in the past. … I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of fun there.”

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin

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NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Elliott’s car slapped the outside wall. Elliott’s car then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.