Event: Ticket Guardian 500k (Round 4 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: ISM Raceway near Phoenix (1-mile oval)
Format: 312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/162 laps)
Start/Finish: 28th/23rd (Running, completed 311 of 312 laps)
Point Standing: 20th (77 points, 100 out of first)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):
● Daniel Suárez started Stage 1 from the 28th position and ended the stage 32nd.
● Suárez worked his way up to 18th when the first caution of the race was displayed on lap 39. He pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help his tight-handling Ruckus Networks Mustang.
● The Mexico native restarted 17th and was in the 16th spot when the second caution was displayed. During the caution Suárez pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments in preparation for the sprint to the end of Stage 1.
● Unfortunately, the No. 41 machine lost power. Suárez received an assist to pit road, where the No. 41 crew made an adjustment to the battery. The Ruckus Mustang regained power, but the 27-year-old went one lap down while receiving repairs on pit road.
● Suárez was trapped one lap down during the Stage 1 break in 32nd place.
● Before the start of the second stage, Suárez pitted for fuel only.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):
● The No. 41 driver started Stage 2 in 32nd and completed it in 28th.
● On lap 139, the Ford driver was put two laps down after a long green-flag run.
● The event stayed green until the end of the stage, and the Ruckus driver completed it 28th.
● He pitted during the stage break for fuel only and began the final stage in 28th.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-312):
● The Ruckus driver began the final stage in 28th and concluded it in 23rd.
● When the caution was displayed on lap 160, Suárez stayed out on the track with only a couple of laps on his Goodyear tires.
● He restarted 27th and continued on a green-flag run until the next caution on lap 193 while running 26th. Crew chief Billy Scott made the call for Suárez to stay out and gain one lap back.
● Suárez restarted 26th on lap 205, one lap down, and the next caution was displayed on lap 219. During the caution Suárez pitted for fuel and four tires.
● Another caution on lap 226 saw Suárez just one spot shy of receiving the free pass in the 24th position. He restarted in the same spot, and the next caution was displayed on lap 233 with Suárez in 25th. Unfortunately, he was once again one lap shy of being the beneficiary of the free pass.
● One final quick caution on lap 235 came with the Ruckus driver in the 25th spot and still one lap down. The race remained under green after the final restart, and Suárez ultimately finished the event 23rd.
● Suárez made his fifth career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at ISM Raceway with a best finish of seventh in March 2017.
● Kyle Busch won the TicketGuardian 500k to score his 52nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his third at ISM Raceway. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 1.259 seconds.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 67 laps.
● Only 16 of the 36 drivers in the TicketGuardian 500k finished on the lead lap.
● Busch leaves ISM Raceway as the championship leader with a six-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.
Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 Ruckus Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We had a good Ruckus Mustang today. Unfortunately, we had some sort of electrical issue and I lost power, and that put us behind a lap while we worked on it. The guys will have to look at it once we get back to the shop. We had a good car on the long runs, but once we got caught a lap down and with all of the green-flag runs we could just never get back on the lead lap. The good news is the car had a lot speed. Unfortunately, we don’t have the result to show for it, but we’ll move on to California next week.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 17 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its prerace show at 3 p.m.