Daniel Suarez scores first Cup win at Sonoma Raceway


Daniel Suarez finally rolled into a NASCAR Cup Series victory lane Sunday, outrunning Chris Buescher over the closing miles to win the second road course race of the season at Sonoma Raceway.

Taking the checkered flag first for for the first time virtually guarantees Suarez, a former Xfinity Series champion, a spot in the playoffs. He became the 12th different winner of the season.

The victory marked only the fifth in the Cup Series by a foreign-born driver. Suarez is from Mexico and becomes the first driver from that country to win a Cup race.

Buescher, Michael McDowell and Kevin Harvick chased Suarez during the race’s final stage, but Suarez, in his sixth season in Cup, generally maintained a lead of at least a second. By race’s end, he was almost five seconds ahead of second-place Buescher.

The win gives the Trackhouse Racing team three wins for the season. Ross Chastain has won twice.

Following Buescher in the top five were McDowell, Harvick and Austin Cindric.

Kyle Larson, who won the pole, was clearly the boss of the first stage, leading all 25 laps without a serious challenge.

Larson started the second stage in the middle of the pack after pitting, leaving Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott in the lead. Elliott retained a comfortable lead during most of the second stage. Elliott pitted from the lead with three laps left in the stage, leaving the stage win to Joey Logano. Elliott then was hit with a penalty for pitting outside of his pit box, dropping him to the rear of the field for the stage of the final stage.

Larson’s victory hopes plummeted with 27 laps to go when the right front wheel on his Chevrolet came off, sending Larson off course and then onto the pit road. Because of the wheel issue, four-race suspensions for some team members likely will follow this week.

The race’s first incident occurred on lap 10 as Bubba Wallace blew an engine in his Toyota and sailed off course.

Stage 1 winner: Kyle Larson

Stage 2 winner: Joey Logano

Who had a good race: Daniel Suarez turned his 195th Cup start into gold, entering victory lane for the first time and virtually assuring a place in the playoffs. He became the fourth driver to win for the first time this season. … Chris Buescher chased Saurez most of the final stage and finished second, scoring a top three for the second time in the past three road-course events. … Brad Keselowski remains winless on road courses, but he had a strong day, finishing 10th and in the top 10 for the first time since the season-opening Daytona 500.

Who had a bad race: Kevin Harvick finished fourth, but a long pit stop robbed him of a shot at contending for the win, leading him to criticize his team after the race. … Kyle Larson won the pole and was fast in the first stage, but his Chevrolet later lost a wheel, dropping him to a 15th-place finish and likely leading to team member suspensions. … Bubba Wallace blew an engine only 10 laps into the race and finished last.

Next: The Cup Series is off next weekend and returns to action June 26 at Nashville Superspeedway (5 p.m. ET on NBC).

Texas Truck race results: Carson Hocevar scores first series win

Texas Truck race results
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Carson Hocevar was in front after the leaders crashed in overtime and scored his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.

MORE: Texas Truck race results

Rookie Nick Sanchez, who led 168 of the 172-lap race, dueled reigning series champion Zane Smith on the last lap when Sanchez’s truck hit Smith’s. As Sanchez tried to regain control of his vehicle, he was hit from behind by Hocevar. That contact sent Sanchez into Smith. Christian Eckes also was collected.

Hocevar’s first win came in his 59th series start.

Chase Purdy placed second. Stewart Friesen finished third. Ty Majeski was fourth. Jake Garcia completed the top five.


Richmond Xfinity results, driver points


RICHMOND, Va. — Chandler Smith won a stage, led a race-high 83 laps and rallied late to score his first career Xfinity win Saturday at Richmond Raceway.

MORE: Richmond Xfinity results

MORE: Xfinity points after Richmond race

John Hunter Nemechek placed second. The rest of the top five featured Josh Berry, Kaz Grala and Cole Custer. Austin Hill, who had won three of the first six races of the season, placed ninth.

Hill continues to lead the points. He has a 12-point advantage on Riley Herbst and an 18-point lead on Nemechek heading into the next series race in two weeks at Martinsville.

Chandler Smith scores first career Xfinity win with Richmond victory


RICHMOND, Va. — Chandler Smith held off John Hunter Nemechek to win his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday at Richmond Raceway.

The 20-year-old Smith took the lead with 12 laps to go and withstood a restart with six laps to go to earn the victory for Kaulig Racing.

MORE: Richmond race results, driver points

His victory came about a month after being passed for the lead with two laps to go at Las Vegas and finishing third day.

“It obviously wasn’t in God’s works for me that and I was fine with that, I was good with that,” said Smith, who will make his Cup debut Sunday. “I knew there was something bigger and better that He was playing it out for me and I just had to be faithful and keep on trucking. Here’s proof of it.”

Nemechek was second. Josh Berry placed third and was followed by Kaz Grala and Cole Custer.

Justin Allgaier finished 13th to win the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

“Today was weird because of how we finished,” Allgaier said. “Given the same circumstances a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, 13th wasn’t going to win the Dash 4 Cash but today it did.”

Stage 1 winner: Chandler Smith

Stage 2 winner: Josh Berry

Who had a good race: A caution caught Justin Allgaier a lap down, ending his chances for a top-five finish but he was able to bounce back and win the Dash 4 Cash for a fifth time. … Derek Kraus finished 10th in his Xfinity debut. … Chris Hacker placed 14th in his Xfinity debut.

Who had a bad race: Riley Herbst had his career-long streak of top-10 finishes snapped after nine races. He placed 23rd after he was hit and spun late in the race.

Notable: This is the second time in the last four races that there has been a first-time series winner. Sammy Smith scored his first series win last month at Phoenix.

Next: The series is off until April 15 at Martinsville Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Daniel Suarez, Ross Chastain move on from COTA incident


RICHMOND, Va. — Daniel Suarez says he’s been trying to “work on myself” after conflicts with teammate Ross Chastain and Alex Bowman last weekend at COTA but noted that if NASCAR doesn’t make adjustments with restarts on road courses, he’ll change his driving style.

NASCAR fined Suarez $50,000 on Wednesday for hitting another vehicle on pit road after the race. Suarez hit Chastain’s car at pit entrance and hit the back of Bowman’s car while they were both on pit road.

MORE: Cup starting lineup at Richmond 

“I’ve been trying to work on myself mostly during the week, trying to clear my mind and reset,” Suarez said Saturday at Richmond Raceway. “My team, we’re good. I think the issue wasn’t really with one driver. I feel like it’s more as an industry, how we are allowing to have those kind of bump-and-run restarts at the end of the races at road courses.

“I don’t think that’s right.”

Suarez restarted fifth in the second overtime restart. Alex Bowman, with Ross Chastain and Chase Briscoe aligned behind, charged and got beside Suarez as they approached Turn 1.

As Bowman slowed to make the tight turn, he was hit from behind and that sent him into Suarez, who clipped the left rear of Martin Truex Jr.’s car. Truex spun in front of Suarez and blocked his path, allowing the rest of the field to go by. Suarez finished 27th.

Chastain said he and Suarez have moved on from last week’s incident after talking this week.

“Every household on this earth has their moments of arguments and we had ours,” Chastain said Saturday.

“We’re family. We’re in the same house, right. It’s in our name. It’s Trackhouse. No matter what, we all think we have to put that behind and know that moving forward we’re brothers. … We’re brothers at Trackhouse and we’re going to be stronger together.”

Suarez is among the number of drivers who have raised concerns about the rough driving in the series. The Next Gen car is more durable and can take more hits — as evident in the Clash at the Coliseum to start the year when drivers barreled into the back of cars in the corners to slow down.

Add the emphasis of winning, less respect for one another and the result is the type of racing on display at the end of the race at Circuit of the Americas, as drivers charged down a long straightaway before braking hard for a tight turn and making contact with one another.

So, what can be done?

“I don’t have the answers to that,” Suarez said. “All I know is that NASCAR is working toward trying to make a better solution for some of these restarts. It doesn’t look right. This sport looks embarrassing.

“That’s not real. Just go into the corner and bump three cars to push people out of that way, that’s not real. We know that. That’s how some people got top fives and top 10s last week and some of the guys that were fast, like myself, finished 27th.

“If NASCAR does something about it, that’s amazing. If they don’t I’ll just join the party.”