Suárez Earns His Way Into All-Star Race, Posts Strong Runner-Up Finish
Second-year driver Daniel Suárez nearly pulled off an incredible feat in Saturday night's Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race by posting a runner-up finish in the series' annual non-points event that awards $1 million to the race winner.
For the second consecutive season, Suárez raced his way into the main event through the Monster Energy Open. After qualifying was rained out and the lineup was set based on points, the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry lined up seventh for the first 20-lap stage of the evening. The Monterrey, Mexico native made minimal progress during the first stage, ending up seventh. Thanks to a quick pit stop, Suárez was able to start fourth for the second 20-lap stage and asserted himself quickly by taking the lead on the opening lap. Suárez relinquished the lead for two laps before eventually reclaiming the top spot for the final six laps of the stage to solidify his spot in the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.
Suárez started the main event in 19th and used the opening 30-lap stage to advance his way into the top 10. He reported to crew chief Scott Graves that his Camry was handling to his liking and that he just needed four fresh tires for the second stage. The ARRIS pit crew knocked off a lightning-fast pit stop to vault Suárez from 10th to fourth for the start of stage two.
During the second stage, Suárez battled teammate Kyle Busch for the top spot and ended the 20-lap segment in second. Another solid pit stop for the No. 19 team allowed Suárez to start third for the third stage of the night. He slipped back to sixth early in the stage, but once again rallied his way back to the front. On the final lap of the stage, Suárez grabbed the lead, but ultimately took the third green-checkered flag of the night second after being passed by Kevin Harvick.
Suárez kept his ARRIS Camry up front during the final stage, restarting second to start the 10-lap shootout and again for a two-lap dash to the checkered flag.
The No. 19 Camry lined up to the inside of Harvick with two laps to go and received a strong push from Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin as the field raced through turns one and two. Suárez nearly cleared Harvick as the field raced down the backstretch, but the No. 4 was too much to overcome as the ARRIS Camry would end the night in second.