Event: GEICO 500 (Round 10 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Format: 188 laps, broken into three stages (55 laps/55 laps/78 laps)
Start/Finish: 16th/12th (Running, completed 188 of 188 laps)
Point Standing: 12th (266 points, 164 out of first)
Race Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Ty Dillon of Germain Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):
● Daniel Suárez started Stage 1 from the 16th position and ended the stage fifth to earn six bonus points.
● Suárez came down pit road from the fourth spot during the caution on lap 13 for fuel only and restarted second on lap 16.
● Crew chief Billy Scott made the call to stretch fuel mileage to avoid making a second pit stop during the stage. Suárez was able to save fuel and ended the stage in fifth.
● At the end of Stage 1, Suárez was forced to pit while pit road was closed to prevent from running out of fuel on the backstretch.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-110):
● The No. 41 driver started Stage 2 in 19th at the rear of the field due to his pit-road infraction and completed it in 24th.
● The Coca-Cola driver made his only pit stop of the stage on lap 91 for fuel and four tires and returned to the track.
● The conclusion of the stage was run under green, and Suárez ended it in 24th.
● During the stage break the Mexico native visited pit road for fuel and four tires.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 111-188):
● Suárez began the final stage 21st and concluded it in 12th.
● The caution came out on lap 131, and the Ford driver was in the 21st position when he made his way down pit road for fuel and four tires. He came back to pit road to top off with fuel and restarted in 24th on lap 136.
● By lap 146 Suárez had worked his way up to the second position, then he came down pit road to make a scheduled green-flag pit stop for fuel only on lap 154.
● The 27-year-old returned to the track and continued to jockey for positions when the final caution came out on lap 183. He pitted for fuel and four fresh tires for a sprint to the end in the No. 41 Orange Vanilla Coca-Cola Mustang.
● Suárez escaped an accident on the final lap to finish 12th.
● Suárez finished fifth in Stage 1 to earn six bonus points.
● Chase Elliott won the GEICO 500 to score his fourth career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Talladega. His margin of victory over second-place Alex Bowman was .035 of a second.
● There were six caution periods for a total of 21 laps.
● Only 21 of the 40 drivers in the GEICO 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Busch remains the championship leader after Talladega with a 15-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.
Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 Orange Vanilla Coca-Cola Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We had a very fast Orange Vanilla Coca-Cola Mustang today, but at the end we just didn’t have enough time to get in the lane that was moving the best. I was trying the top groove with a few laps to go, but it wasn’t going anywhere. With the new package we’re still trying to figure out how the car reacts in different lanes and those types of things. Overall, we escaped all of the accidents and the guys on the No. 41 Mustang are doing a good job and we keep improving.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Gander RV 400 on Sunday, May 5 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.