Event: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (Round 7 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 334 laps, broken into three stages (85 laps/85 laps/164 laps)
Start/Finish: 4th/3rd (Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
Point Standing: 14th (180 points, 130 out of first)
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):
● Daniel Suárez started Stage 1 from the fourth position and ended the stage seventh to earn four bonus points.
● Suárez was in the fifth position when the first caution was displayed on lap 16. He did not visit pit road, as the No. 41 Mustang would still have to make another stop for fuel during the stage.
● Crew chief Billy Scott made the call for Suárez to make a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 60 for fuel, two right-side tires and adjustments.
● The remainder of the stage ran under green. After pit stops cycled through, Suárez was in the seventh position, where he finished the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-160):
● The No. 41 driver started Stage 2 in 17th and completed it in third to accumulate eight bonus points.
● On lap 148, during the second caution of the race, Suárez pitted from fifth for fuel, four tires and adjustments.
● After restarting fourth, he worked his way up to a third-place stage finish.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-334):
● The Ruckus driver began the final stage in second and concluded it in third.
● Suárez remained in the second position until lap 218, when he gained the lead. Shortly thereafter, the Ruckus driver had to relinquish the top spot to make a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 221.
● After pit stops cycled through, he regained the lead on lap 239 and remained in the position until he was passed by Kyle Busch on lap 245 when another competitor impeded his run.
● Suárez maintained the second position until the caution came out on lap 254 and he pitted for fuel and four tires.
● He restarted ninth on lap 259 and eventually regained the lead once again on lap 316.
● On lap 320 Suarez made a scheduled green-flag pit stop for a splash of fuel and returned to the track. As pit stops cycled through, the Ford driver took over the third position.
● Suárez maintained the position to finish third at Texas.
● Suárez earned his first top-five of the season and his first top-five in five career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas.
● Suárez’s third-place result bettered his previous best finish at Texas – 14th in October 2017.
● Suárez finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points and third in Stage 2 to earn an additional eight bonus points.
● Suárez led twice for nine laps – his first laps led at Texas.
● Denny Hamlin won the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 to score his 33rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his third at Texas. His margin of victory over second-place Clint Bowyer was 2.743 seconds.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 29 laps.
● Only 15 of the 39 drivers in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Busch leaves Texas as the championship leader with an eight-point advantage over second-place Hamlin.
Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 Ruckus Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I’m happy with today. The entire weekend was strong for us, and we had the speed all weekend long in the Ruckus Ford. I feel like we had for sure a top-five car and at times probably the best car out there on the long runs. We were just trying to find the right balance back and forth, but I’m just very proud of everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford Performance, and especially the 41 guys. They worked extremely hard to bring a good piece for Texas and we did it, so I’m grateful.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Food City 500 on Sunday, April 7 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.