Event: Save Mart 350k (Round 16 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (2.52-mile, 12-turn road course)
Format: 90 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/50 laps)
Start/Finish: 5th/17th (Running, completed 90 of 90 laps)
Point Standing: 13th (421 points, 222 out of first)
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):
● Daniel Suárez earned the fifth qualifying spot but was forced to start in the rear after an engine change was performed as a precautionary measure. He ended Stage 1 in 30th.
● After starting in the rear, Suárez had worked his way up to 25th when he came down pit road on lap 17 for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his tight condition.
● The Ruckus driver completed Stage 1 in the 30th spot.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):
● The No. 41 driver started Stage 2 in 12th and completed it in 16th.
● Suárez did not pit during the Stage 1 break and began Stage 2 in the 12th position.
● By lap 25, the Ford driver was in the top-10 and had moved into eighth when he made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 36 for fuel, four tires and adjustments.
● Suárez ended Stage 2 in 16th.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 41-90):
● The Ruckus driver began the final stage in the top-10 and concluded it in 17th.
● Suárez did not pit before the start of Stage 2 and quickly went to work once the green flag dropped on the stage.
● On lap 45, the Mexico native took over the fifth position, which he held until he made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 63.
● During the pit stop, Suárez exceeded the pit box boundary line and was forced to back up in order for the No. 41 pit crew to perform service. Unfortunately, after the pit stop the No. 41 team was assessed an uncontrolled tire penalty, which forced Suárez to pass through pit road while under green.
● Suárez returned to the track in the 25th position.
● Throughout the remainder of the event, Suárez continued to pass cars, and he ended the day 17th.
● Although Suárez qualified fifth, he was forced to the rear of the field for the start of the race after an engine change on Friday following final practice. He gained 18 positions in the race.
● Martin Truex Jr. won the Save Mart 350k to score his 23rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season, his third at Sonoma and his second straight at the 2.52-mile, 12-turn road course. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was 1.861 seconds.
● There were only two caution periods for a total of six laps.
● Twenty-four of the 38 drivers in the Save Mart 350k finished on the lead lap.
● Joey Logano remains the championship leader after Sonoma with just a one-point advantage over second-place Busch.
Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 Ruckus Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We had a good Ruckus Mustang today even though we had to start in the back. My crew did great with the calls, and we were able to get track position and show that we had a good car. Unfortunately, mistakes on the last pit stop bit us and we couldn’t recover from it so late in the race.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Camping World 400 on Sunday, June 30 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.