Suárez Comes Home 16th in First-Career Race at Sonoma
Daniel Suárez and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) returned to the track this weekend for their first of two road-course races of the 2017 season at Sonoma Raceway. Sporting the STANLEY colors once again this weekend in Northern California, Suárez earned the 11th starting position during qualifying on Saturday morning. Suárez and the STANLEY team took the green flag under sunny skies at 3:20 PM ET on Sunday afternoon. After 110 laps were complete at the Sonoma, California facility, Suárez crossed the finish line in the 16th position.
Following the drop of the green flag, Suárez was racing side-by-side with his fellow competitors when he flat spotted his tires on lap two and had to hit pit road from the 17th position to change four tires on the STANLEY Camry. Following the early-race pit stop, Suárez returned to the track in the 38th position on lap three. Staying poised despite the early-race setback, Suárez was scored in 36th when the first caution of the afternoon waved on lap 14. After staying out under the caution, Suárez restarted in ninth on lap 17. Continuing to learn his way around the 11-turn road course, Suárez was scored in 17th when he made his second green-flag pit stop of the afternoon on lap 22. Following another four-tire stop and adding fuel to the STANLEY Camr-, Suárez returned to the track in 32nd. The young rookie would maintain his position until the caution-flag waved once again on lap 25, signaling the end of stage one. Staying out under the caution, Suárez restated in 16th on lap 29, the start of stage two.
Following the restart, Suárez would be a mainstay inside the top 20, being scored in the 18th position when the caution flag once again waved on lap 38. With other teams on various pit strategies and hitting pit road under the caution, Suárez and his STANLEY team stayed out, placing him ninth for the lap 40 restart. Suárez dropped one spot on the restart and was scored in 10th when another competitor made contact with Suárez from behind, causing him to spin in turn seven. After getting his Camry restarted following the contact, Suárez was scored in 21st on lap 46 when he made another green-flag pit stop for four tires and fuel. Following the stop, Suárez returned to the track in the 34th position. With fresh tires, Suárez gained five spots and was scored in 29th when the caution-flag waved once again on lap 50, the end of stage two. Once again staying out under the caution, Suárez restarted the final stage in 14th on lap 54.
The STANLEY team would be a mainstay inside the top 15 during the first portion of the final stage, hitting pit road for another green-flag pit stop on lap 70 from the 14th position. After changing four tires and adding fuel to the STANLEY Camry during the stop, Suárez returned to the track in the 29th position on lap 71. With fresh tires at a premium around the California road course, Suárez worked his way back up to the 16th position by lap 81. Relaying to his STANLEY team on lap 89 that his "rear tires were gone", Suárez hit pit road for his final green-flag pit stop of the afternoon on lap 89 from the 16th position. Following the stop, Suárez returned to the track in 27th on lap 90. Suárez would continue to battle for the remaining 20 laps of the race, ultimately crossing the finish line in the 16th position in his STANLEY Camry.