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Edwards Finishes Seventh in Hard Fought Battle at Bristol
Edwards and his No. 19 team started from the third position at Bristol Motor Speedway and ran in the top-10 for the first 360 laps. Edwards reported his Toyota Camry was too tight, so crew chief Darian Grubb called for air and wedge adjustments. On lap 205 Edwards passed his teammate Denny Hamlin for fourth and was the fastest car on the track for the next several laps. Edwards’ crew blistered off a great pit stop on the fourth yellow on lap 253 and put Edwards in the lead for the first of three times. Edwards led three different times for a total of 74 laps. On lap 354 Edwards had a right front flat which brought him in to pit immediately under green and causing him to go down two laps on the half-mile track. The fifth caution flag flew on lap 372 and Edwards was able to stay out and take the wave around getting one of his laps back. He spent the next 52 laps fighting a tough battle for the Lucky Dog position and finally won it on lap 431. Edwards charged his way through the field gaining six positions and into the top-10, finishing seventh and for the sixth time in seven weeks finishing in the top-10.
Suárez Records Fifth Top 5 of Season
Warm temperatures and mostly sunny skies during the day gave way to a cool evening as the XFINITY Series competitors lined up for racing under the lights at Bristol. Suárez, who qualified his No. 18 Toyota ninth during Coors Light Pole Qualifying earlier in the day, got straight to work on improving his track position as soon as the green flag flew to start the Food City 300 event. Under the guidance of veteran spotter Chris Osborne, the young driver speedily worked his way around the track, quickly catching up to the tail end of the field as he continued to chase down the race leaders.
The first caution of the evening was displayed on Lap 53. After Suárez informed his team that his Camry needed more grip in the center of the turns, crew chief Eric Phillips brought the Juniper Networks machine down pit road for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and an adjustment. The team restarted the event in 13th on Lap 59 and after slipping back to 15th several laps later, the No. 18 Camry began to work its way back towards the front.
Over the next 70 laps, Suárez would maneuver his way around the competition, landing in the 11th spot by the time the second caution of the event was displayed on Lap 129. A strong pit stop for four tires and fuel put the team back on the track in 11th for the Lap 136 restart.
As the laps continued to tick away, Suárez found himself in a fierce battle for entry into the top 5. The former NASCAR Next alum held off various attempts by defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick for the 7th spot. Suárez was in sixth when the final caution of the evening was displayed on Lap 296, setting up an attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. The rookie driver used a good restart and an impressive combination of defensive and offensive driving skills to break into the top 5 shortly after the restart, ultimately settling into the fifth spot as the checkered flag flew. Suárez’s top-5 finish earned him a $100,000 bonus as the highest finishing eligible driver in the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash program, a four-race series within the XFINITY Series with a $1 million prize on the line. The fourth and final race of the program will take place in two weeks at Darlington Raceway.
Suárez Finishes 30th at Bristol
Daniel Suárez’s Bristol Motor Speedway debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ended in disappointment as the 23-year-old driver could not overcome an early on-track incident and overheating in his eighth series start of the season.
The bad luck began for Suárez with 15 minutes remaining in final practice. As the session resumed following a short rain delay, the Monterrey, Mexico, native made contact with the wall and sustained damage to the left side of his No. 51 ARRIS Toyota. The Kyle Busch Motorsports team unloaded the backup from the team hauler and got to work preparing the Tundra for Keystone Light Pole Qualifying. Suárez would advance to the second round of the three-round session, but was unable to reach the final round for the first time since the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway, qualifying 16th for the evening’s race.
Shortly after the green flag flew at Bristol Motor Speedway, Suárez began working his way through the field at the .533-mile concrete oval. As he moved into the top 15 on Lap 20, veteran spotter Chris Osborne reminded his driver to take care of his equipment and keep driving the way he had been up to that point. Suárez tried his best to keep his Tundra clean as he continued to improve his position, but on Lap 33 he had his next negative encounter with Lady Luck. The former NASCAR Driver for Diversity program member made contact with the No. 13 Tundra of Cameron Hayley when the latter span on the track. The accident brought out the first caution of the evening and left Suárez with damage on his left front fender, forcing him down pit road for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and repairs to his Tundra. He restarted the event in the 25th spot, one lap down on Lap 38.
Over the next 40 laps, Suárez worked on getting into the lucky dog position and back on the lead lap. By the time the second caution was displayed on Lap 79, the young driver had improved to the 22nd spot. Under caution, he informed his team that his Tundra was having trouble turn and was tight on exit. Instead of bring the Tundra down pit road again, veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter made the call to stay out during the yellow flag period, taking the wave around to get back on the lead lap.
The call paid off as the third caution was displayed 24 laps later. Suárez came down pit road for tires, fuel and an adjustment to help with the Tundra’s balance. Shortly after the Lap 119 restart, the young driver radioed that his Toyota’s balance was better, but he was concerned with the high water temperature of his No. 51 ARRIS machine. On Lap 156, as Suárez was working his way back towards the Top 15, his worst fears were confirmed as his engine began to give out due to overheating. Baxter called the Tundra down pit road and as they took a look under the hood, he decided to go behind the wall and back to the garage, ending the team’s night prematurely and relegating Suárez to a 30th-place finish, his first outside the top 10 all season.