Event: 61st Daytona 500(Round 1 of 36)
Series: Monster EnergyNASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 23rd/33rd (Accident, completed 190 of 207 laps)
Point Standing: 26th (14 points, 38 out of first)
Note: Race extended seven laps past its scheduled 200-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota) in overtime
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):
● Daniel Suárez started Stage 1 from the 23rd position and ended the stage in fourth to earn seven stage points.
● The Mexico native pitted on lap 17 for fuel only from the third position.
● The first caution was displayed on lap 20, and crew chief Billy Scott made the call for Suárez to stay out in the Haas Automation Mustang.
● Suárez restarted fifth on lap 24 and quickly began jockeying for positions after slipping back on the restart.
● The Haas Automation driver pitted during the second caution of the race for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with a tight-handling condition and restarted 14th on lap 53.
● Suárez didn’t make a pit stop during the Stage 1 break and began Stage 2 in the second position.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):
● The No. 41 driver started Stage 2 second and completed the stage in eighth to earn three stage points.
● On lap 73, he made a scheduled green-flag pit stop for fuel only.
● The event stayed green until lap 108. When the caution was once again displayed with Suárez in the seventh position, he pitted for fuel and four tires.
● After the green flag waved again on lap 111, the remainder of the stage ran under green, and Suárez ended it in the eighth spot.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-207):
● The 27-year-old began the final stage in fifth and concluded it 33rd.
● The caution was displayed on lap 159, and Suárez pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments from the 12th position.
● He restarted 15th on lap 162 and was in the 18th spot when the fifth caution of the race came out on lap 173.
● Shortly after going back to green, the caution was once again displayed on lap 181 while Suárez was in the 21st position.
● He restarted 21st after not pitting and was in the 14th spot when the next caution came out at on lap 188.
● After once again taking the green flag, Suárez was caught up in an accident on lap 190, ending his night.
● Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500 to score his 32nd career Cup Series victory and his second at Daytona. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .138 of a second.
● Suárez finished fourth in Stage 1 to earn seven bonus points and eighth in Stage 2 to earn three more bonus points.
● Almirola and Suárez were involved in a 22-car accident 10 laps short of the finish.
● There were 12 caution periods for a total of 47 laps.
● Only 14 of the 40 drivers in the Daytona finished on the lead lap.
Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“The car was fast tonight. We were running in the top-10 pretty much the whole day and challenged for the lead. We gained some stage points. Everything was going very well. I mentioned on the radio many times that one big wreck was going to happen, and I wanted to make sure I was going to stay out of it. With 10 laps to go it’s not like you can just hang out and wait for it. It’s time to go and, unfortunately, we just got caught up in someone else’s mistake.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at 1:30 p.m.