NASCAR Cup Sonoma: Suarez claims historic first win at Sonoma

Daniel Suarez became the first Mexican driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma, as the Trackhouse Chevrolet driver held off Chris Buescher to score his maiden victory.

In his 195th Cup Series start since his 2017 debut with Joe Gibbs Racing, the 30-year-old cruised to a 3.849 second win to book his place in the playoffs alongside team-mate Ross Chastain.

The 2016 Xfinity Series champion, one of the first success stories to come out of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity programme, Suarez had posted a previous best finish of second at Pocono in 2018 with JGR, then had single seasons with Stewart-Haas Racing (2019) and Gaunt Brothers Racing (2020) before joining the new-for-2021 Trackhouse squad last year.

Reflecting on his win, Suarez said: “It’s crazy day, I have so many thoughts in my head right now. I mean, it’s been a rough road, it’s been a rough journey in the Cup Series.

“These guys believe in me, Trackhouse Racing, Justin Marks, Ty Norris. Everyone that helped me to get in this point. I lot of people in Mexico: Jay Morales, Carlos Slim. My family, they never give up on me.

“A lot of people did, but they didn’t. Just very happy we were able to make it work.”

Team co-owner Justin Marks said: “Daniel Suarez and (crew chief) Travis Mack helped build Trackhouse, they’ve been working so hard together. They’ve been so focused, so dedicated trying to get to victory lane.

“The #1 car (Chastain) winning two races this year was tough on them, but they’ve never given up. I’m so proud and happy for them.”

Behind Buescher's RFK Racing Ford, Michael McDowell (Front Row Ford) finished up third as Kevin Harvick (SHR Ford) took fourth and Austin Cindric (Penske Ford) was fifth.

Race winner Daniel Suarez, TrackHouse Racing, Onx Homes / Renu Chevrolet Camaro

Race winner Daniel Suarez, TrackHouse Racing, Onx Homes / Renu Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Jasen Vinlove / NKP / Motorsport Images

Poleman Kyle Larson (Hendrick Chevrolet) had cruised to the Stage 1 victory by 11.8 seconds over Joey Logano's Penske Ford as most of the lead-lap cars pitted prior to the stage break.

Kyle Busch (JGR Toyota) and Justin Haley (Kaulig Chevrolet) were among the handful of cars to pit under an early caution when Bubba Wallace's 23XI Toyota suffered an engine failure, while Larson stayed out to lead team-mate Chase Elliott. 

When Elliott peeled in, Logano moved up to second ahead of Busch, Haley and Aric Almirola's SHR Ford. 

During the break between Stages 1 and 2, those who had not yet pitted – including Larson – did so. Elliott remained on the track and inherited the lead ahead of Buescher, Tyler Reddick (Richard Childress Chevrolet), Chastain and McDowell.

Suarez emerged as a contender by moving up to third, but his team-mate Chastain spun off course at Turn 7.

Elliott was among the drivers who made green-flag pit stops prior to the stage break, but was penalised for stopping outside his box. Reddick too was penalised for speeding, and both had to restart at the rear of the field at the start of third stage.

Logano stayed out and won the stage from Almirola, ahead of Buescher, Suarez and Harvick. But the top two from the second stage pitted before the final stage got underway, as Buescher led Suarez, Harvick, McDowell and Ryan Blaney's Penske Ford.

Entering Turn 7, Suarez went to the inside of Buescher and grabbed the lead for the first time in the race. Buescher went wide and slid back to fourth, but soon got back to second.

On lap 83, Larson lost his left-front wheel at Turn 2 to bring out the race's final caution. But Suarez held firm from Buescher, as McDowell passed Blaney for third, the latter slipping to sixth by the finish.

Chastain, the recovering Elliott, William Byron (Hendrick Chevrolet) and Brad Keselowski (RFK Ford) completed the top 10.

NASCAR Cup Sonoma results (110 laps)

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap
1 99 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 110 2:48'22.460  
2 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 110 2:48'26.309 3.849
3 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 110 2:48'28.142 5.682
4 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 110 2:48'30.371 7.911
5 2 United States Austin Cindric Ford 110 2:48'32.312 9.852
6 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 110 2:48'35.435 12.975
7 1 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 110 2:48'36.426 13.966
8 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 110 2:48'38.601 16.141
9 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 110 2:48'39.720 17.260
10 6 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 110 2:48'40.194 17.734
11 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 110 2:48'54.595 32.135
12 31 United States Justin Haley Chevrolet 110 2:48'55.129 32.669
13 14 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 110 2:48'55.945 33.485
14 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 110 2:48'56.987 34.527
15 5 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 110 2:48'57.824 35.364
16 48 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 110 2:48'57.966 35.506
17 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 110 2:48'58.984 36.524
18 45 United States Kurt Busch Toyota 110 2:48'59.452 36.992
19 16 United States A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 110 2:49'06.434 43.974
20 15 United States Joey Hand Ford 110 2:49'06.767 44.307
21 41 United States Cole Custer Ford 110 2:49'09.807 47.347
22 43 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 110 2:49'13.617 51.157
23 42 United States Ty Dillon Chevrolet 110 2:49'14.465 52.005
24 38 United States Todd Gilliland Ford 110 2:49'16.276 53.816
25 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 110 2:49'16.522 54.062
26 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 110 2:49'19.459 56.999
27 20 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 110 2:49'20.321 57.861
28 21 United States Harrison Burton Ford 110 2:49'28.244 1'05.784
29 77 United States Josh Bilicki Chevrolet 110 2:49'29.458 1'06.998
30 18 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 110 2:49'31.547 1'09.087
31 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 110 2:49'31.738 1'09.278
32 51 United States Cody Ware Ford 109 2:48'52.349 1 Lap
33 78 United States Scott Heckert Ford 109 2:49'49.301 1 Lap
34 7 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 101 2:49'17.119 9 Laps
35 8 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 97 2:49'28.140 13 Laps
36 23 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 9 12'18.119 101 Laps

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