Daniel Suarez powers from Monster Open stage win to All-Star runner-up finish

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CONCORD, North Carolina — Entering the first turn of the overtime finish of Saturday night’s All-Star Race, Daniel Suarez thought he had a chance.

Then the gut feeling he had before the green flag waved proved accurate.

“I knew that two Fords together are dangerous,” Suarez said after finishing second in the race.

Suarez, who had raced his way into the main event by winning Stage 2 in the 50 lap Monster Energy Open, began the overtime restart in second in the inside lane.

Behind him was Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.

But in the outside lane was leader Kevin Harvick and fellow Ford driver Joey Logano.

“I was trying to somehow on the radio, obviously that didn’t work, to keep them away from each other,” Suarez said. “Kevin did a good job. I think in the previous restart, he went on the bottom, then he went up top. I think he did the right decision, trying to find the right guy behind him to push him to the lead.

“Denny, like I say, he did a very good job. For whatever reason, we just disconnected. He couldn’t keep moving forward.”

When Hamlin’s push failed and Logano’s succeeded, Harvick pulled ahead of Suarez’s No. 19 Toyota as the field charged down the backstretch.

In a two-lap shootout, no one had a chance.

Until then Suarez thought he “had the car capable to win the race.”

The 26-year-old driver was competing in his second All-Star Race. For the second consecutive year Suarez won a stage in the Open to make the field. He led a race-high 18 laps in addition to his stage win.

Suarez didn’t think the 50 extra laps in the Open offered him any advantage over his competitors in the main event when it came to figuring out how to master the special rules package, which included restrictor plates, a taller spoiler and larger splitter.

“What I learned is that the top came in actually faster and quicker than what I was expecting,” Suarez said. “I’m sure that these guys, they find out at exactly the same time (as) me. Maybe even sooner, because they were watching everyone, and I was just watching a few cars.

“I don’t feel like I had any advantage. For sure I was able to adjust my car a little bit for that. But other than that, I feel like we were in the same boat.”

Suarez never led a lap, but he came within a corner of winning the third stage before he was passed by Harvick.

Of the three drivers who advanced to the All-Star Race from the Open via a stage win, Suarez was the only one who finished in the top five.

“I feel like we did everything that we could,” Suarez said. “If I would have to do it again, I’m not sure what I would do different. The car was driving well, maybe a little bit tight at times, but I was loose as well. I don’t know. I feel like just different circumstances maybe could give us the victory. Just didn’t work out.”

Kyle Larson takes the heat after getting spun by Joey Logano

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CONCORD, N.C. – It wasn’t quite the slam-bang action of a vintage NASCAR All-Star Race, but there was one memorable moment of retaliation Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Racing for a top-five position late in the race, Kyle Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet squeezed Joey Logano’s No. 22 Ford into the wall off Turn 4.

After slapping the concrete, Logano came down the track and tagged Larson’s car in the right rear, causing the event’s final caution as Larson spun through the frontstretch grass.

Larson wasn’t upset, taking the blame after finishing seventh and rebounding from one of only two multicar incidents over the 93-lap event.

“Yeah,” the Chip Ganassi Racing driver told NBCSports.com with a smile when asked if he felt it was payback by Logano. “I didn’t mean to run him into the fence. I was trying to stay clear of him on exit. I got really tight because I tried to carry a lot of throttle through there and just stay in front of him.

“I tried to bail to leave him a lane but kind of shoved him up in the wall. He’s got a fairly short temper. He took it out on me. Thankfully, it’s not a points race or anything like that. I put myself in that spot. Obviously, you don’t want to be crashed on purpose, but I felt like I put myself in that spot a little bit.”

Asked whether the contact was intentional, Logano somewhat demurred but clearly felt Larson deserved the result.

“He fenced me, then I bounced off the wall, then there he was,” Logano said. “After he fenced me, I bounced off. He happened to be there. Probably shouldn’t have fenced me.”

The Team Penske driver hung on for third after the incident, delivering a critical bump to winner Kevin Harvick that helped push him past runner-up Daniel Suarez on the final restart.

“Kevin and I always end up together at superspeedway races, and we did again tonight, which is kind of funny,” he said. “I didn’t have quite a good enough run to go three-wide, and if I did, the bottom lane would have gone by both of us, and there would have been no gain for any of us. We wouldn’t have won anyway.

“My only shot was to push (Harvick) ahead and try to clear (Suarez), which I couldn’t. It was a hard-fought night. You can tell by the right side of my car that it was hard fought. It was crazy.”

What drivers said after the All-Star Race

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Kevin Harvick – Winner: “I thought on that last restart that my best opportunity was (Joey) Logano. He is one of the best on the restarts. I knew he would work with me as good as possible because that is just the way that most of us do it from Ford. We were able to just stay even through (Turns) 1 and 2, and I really thought once we got to the backstretch, we could clear him. I didn’t want to be on the bottom. I didn’t feel my car was stable enough to be under someone when they were on my right side. I had to take my lumps through (turns) 1 and 2 and hope that the guy behind me was still with me when we got to the exit of 2, and we were able to win.”

Daniel Suarez – Finished 2nd: “I felt like we had a car actually capable to win the race. We were very strong, competitive. For whatever reason (on) restarts, my car was taking like one lap to go and those guys, when two Fords were connected, they were pretty strong. We just – I needed a little bit more right there. (Denny Hamlin) got disconnected with myself a little bit. I tried to side draft (Kevin Harvick), but it was just tough. After that it was pretty much game over because I started racing (Joey Logano) instead of (Harvick), but proud of my guys. We’ve been racing really in the All-Star twice already, two times, so that’s not bad. It hurts to be close and to not get it.”

Joey Logano – Finished 3rd: “We wanted to be up in the lead, and I thought we were in the best spot. We put tires on, and the cars ahead of us didn’t have as good of tires as us. We restarted fifth, and the bottom is just rough down there. We were able to push ahead, and the car in front of me got pushed back and the bottom lane fell apart. I lost like five spots at least and started making them back up and got tangled up and put in the wall and got back and thought I had a decent shot there at the end hooking up with Kevin. Kevin and I always end up together at superspeedway races, and we did again tonight, which is kind of funny.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 4th: “I think in general our cars were just too slow to be up front. Once we did get the lead, it was complete defense mode. It looked like when (Kyle Busch) and (Martin Truex Jr.) were up front as well, it was just constant defense where when (Kevin Harvick) got up front, he could just kind of run his line. Hard to overcome that seven tenths that we were off from speed, especially in a drafting type race. Still, we did a good job there. Tried to get (Daniel Suarez) free of (Harvick) there on the bottom, I just came off his bumper there just slightly there and he wasn’t able to get us free of (Harvick).”

Chase Elliott – Finished 5th: “Yeah, I actually had some fun, really. It was different for sure, but it wasn’t all bad, I don’t guess. Obviously, there was way more potential to crash and what not, which is I guess good and bad depending upon who you are. If you are sitting at home and watching it was probably fun because we are all close. If we see this package more, I’m sure you will see some more torn-up cars, too.  And I’m sure the teams will get better at building and preparing for it too, but proud of our night. To be able to come from last to fifth, and I get the fan vote and end up coming home with a top five wasn’t all bad.”

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 6th: “I mean, it’s funny how there ends up being a sweet spot. It doesn’t matter if it’s a restricted motor or not.  The outside lane was really the place to be to keep the momentum up.  Depending on the restart you had and the lane you are in and how to time a pass, I spent plenty of time kind of coming through the field. I really couldn’t get past second or third.  The times I tried to make a pass on the leader, I would get pinned on the bottom and go to the back and have to start all over again.”

Kyle Larson – Finished 7th: “It was just tough.  I felt like I could get to around second or third, just getting to the lead was tough.  I never really got to lead. The times I would get to lead, they would get a run on me and pass me right back.  We just didn’t have the speed the Toyotas had.  I thought the Toyotas were super-fast and then obviously, (Kevin Harvick) I mean he won, but (Martin Truex Jr.) was ridiculous. But, yeah it was a pretty fun race.”

AJ Allmendinger – Finished 8th: “The first stage was pretty awesome to go 18th to fourth in a couple of laps.  The car handled really good. I just got a little bit tight there with the track getting going into the night.  We were a little bit draggier down the straightaway, so I had to keep the momentum up that second stage. I just got too close to (Truex), and it snapped loose and got some body damage.  The guys did a good job to fix it. Kind of salvaged the third session there.  I thought if we could have got back up there we could have maybe had a chance to fight inside the top three or top four again. I cost us a little bit there, but I was getting after it.  It was a fun night.  Really competitive and proud of the guys.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 11th: “We weren’t very good tonight. We were slow. The car drove about the same with this package as it did with the other package, and everybody else was just a lot faster. It was a bummer we couldn’t take that front row start and do something with it. We were kind of a moving road block out there.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 12th: “What a race! I had a blast out there tonight, and I hope it was as fun to watch as it was to drive. Throughout the race, we made quite a few adjustments to the Dow Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. With limited practice and this being the first time we have raced this package, we were a little off on the setup. We got it pretty close, though. At the end, we opted to pit. Looking back, it’s a toss-up on whether that was the right call or not.”

Ryan Newman – Finished 16th: “This one is on me. I miscounted the green-white-checkered flag to end Stage 3, and I left off the gas too soon. It cost us a top five on the final restart and instead we took the green in 11th. I hate it for the Caterpillar/Grainger team. We got off sequence on pit stops and the way the cautions fell from there, it really worked in our favor. I simply messed up. I did all I could do to regain the ground I had lost. On the final restart, we climbed back into the top five, but unfortunately when we took the white flag, I made contact with the wall and lost all our momentum resulting in the 16th-place finish. We had nothing to lose so I went for it in the end.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished 17th: “This was the first time running this package and we had to gamble a little bit. We had to roll the dice a little bit, and we were off when we came in. Had a lot to learn today and we used it well. The guys did a really good job with our car. Pit stops were really good tonight again. We had a lot to be proud of, just sucks that we couldn’t finish it off. We had a really strong race car and felt like we maybe had a shot to win it, just four wide going into three there we all just ran out of room. (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.), I had him squeezed down so low, I just don’t know that he could hold it down there. I was trying to keep (Clint Bowyer) to my outside and just one those deals at the end of the race.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 20th: “You definitely seem to draft more, which has its highs and lows. Track position, power and drag is super important. Give us a few weeks to work on the race cars with a package like this, and I am sure we can mess it up.”

Alex Bowman – Finished 21st: “Yeah, just got loose. We had been really tight all night.  I knocked the nose off of it early.  We got slid, and I wasn’t happy about it and instead of checking up, I didn’t lift.  I probably should have lifted because it hurt me more than the guy that ran us like that.  I’m just frustrated.  I feel like these guys have taken advantage of me quite a bit this year, and I’m over lifting for guys.  I’m not going to go out of my way to slow myself down to help somebody else out.  They would race me the same way.  I’m just kind of over it, but as far as the crash, I just got loose, and it stepped out. I saved it, it stepped out again, and I couldn’t save it.  Really frustrating.  I hate it for my guys, it’s my fault that we were in the situation further back than we should have been.  I should have just been more patient and not knocked the nose off of it early.”

Kevin Harvick wins All-Star Race in overtime finish

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CONCORD, North Carolina — Kevin Harvick prevailed in an overtime finish to claim his second win in the Monster Energy All-Star Race.

Harvick was able to pull away in the two-lap shootout to beat Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott.

He won all but one of the race’s four stages.

Harvick’s first All-Star win came 11 years ago to the day in 2007.

The victory in the exhibition race joins the five points wins the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has already accumulated this season.

“A special thanks to the Roush Yates Engine department, they put in a lot of effort, they love restrictor-plate racing and we won!” Harvick told Fox Sports 1. “Our car was super fast, I could accelerate well. If I could just get to Turn 2 even I felt like we were going to accelerate passed them on the backstretch. I was not very good on the bottom. I would push and slide, but in a straight line this thing was a rocket.”

The overtime finish was setup by an incident involving Joey Logano and Kyle Larson. Coming to two laps to go in the scheduled distance, Logano ran out of room exiting Turn 4, bounced off the wall and into Larson. The contact sent Larson spinning through the infield grass. Without any major damage, Larson finished seventh.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 3 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

STAGE 4 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

MORE: Race results

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Kasey Kahne managed to finish 10th on the lead lap after getting into the front stretch wall on Lap 6 of the third stage and ultimately going three laps down … Chase Elliott and Daniel Suarez each finished in the top 10 after advancing from the Monster Open. Suarez won Stage 2 and Elliott won the fan vote. AJ Allmendinger, who won the final Open stage, placed eighth after making contact with the wall in Stage 2.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. were eliminated by an eight-car crash in the first overtime restart attempt in Stage 3. Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr were able to continue … Alex Bowman finished last after spinning on his own and hitting the wall out of Turn 2 with two laps left in the third stage … Stenhouse and Kenseth started on the front row but quickly fell back. They never contended after the opening laps and finished 11th and 14th respectively.

NOTABLE: Kevin Harvick is the seventh driver to win the All-Star Race more than once … Harvick joins Jimmie Johnson as only the second driver to win the All-Star Race more than once in the last 20 All-Star races.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “He fenced me, then I bounced off the wall, then there he was. After he fenced me, I bounced off. He happened to be there. Probably shouldn’t have fenced me.” – Joey Logano on his accident with Kyle Larson.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Coca-Cola 600 at 6 p.m. ET on May 27 on Fox.

Bowman, Suarez, Allmendinger advance to All-Star Race via Monster Open; Elliott wins fan vote

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CONCORD, North Carolina — Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez and AJ Allmendinger advanced to the Monster Energy All-Star Race through stage wins in the 50-lap Monster Energy Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Chase Elliott advanced via the fan vote for the third consecutive year.

Bowman won Stage 1 after leading the last nine laps of the stage. He started third and passed Aric Almirola on Lap 11. He will compete in the All-Star Race for the first time.

Suarez claimed Stage 2 after leading 18 laps and swapping the lead twice with Elliott, who led two laps. This is his second All-Star Race.

Allmendinger won the final 10-lap stage in a mad last-lap scramble that saw him lead the final two laps, but keep the lead for good after a three-wide pass of Elliott and Erik Jones out of Turn 2 on the final lap. This is his fifth All-Star Race.

“At that point I didn’t lift for the last four laps,” Allmendinger said. “I got a run down the front straightaway there and Chase and I think it was Erik were side-by-side and I knew my only shot was Chase was going to need to kind of get loose and check ‘em up.  I came off the corner and saw just enough there and held them off.”

Darrell Wallace Jr. led seven of the stage’s 10 laps and finished 11th.

There were no cautions in the event.

The All-Star Race is set to begin at 8:16 p.m. ET.

Click here for the results.