By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Suarez started the final Stage of the Kwik Trip 250 inside the top-10. The driver of the No. 99 Jockey Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE maneuvered his way by a trio of Ford Performance drivers, Chris Buescher, Austin Cindric, and Michael McDowell. Once he passed the Ford contingent, Suarez was still in the tire tracks of four Chevy Racing drivers, including his teammate, Ross Chastain.
At the most recent road course, Suarez led just shy of half the laps before capturing his first career win. At the 4.048-mile Road America, he never had the chance to put his No. 99 out front. Several other drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series field had more pace than Suarez and his teammate. When the checkered flag waved, the Monterrey, Mexico native was fifth.
“I thought (the afternoon) was fine,” explained Suarez. “For the car that we had, I thought that we maximized everything that we got. Proud of my team and my pit crew today, everyone did a great job. I felt like we had a top-seven car and we finished in the top-five, so I felt like we did a good job with that. With that being said, it’s not a win. We have to continue to work and continue to get better.”
Suarez uncharacteristically qualified 17th for the Kwik Trip 250. Though he reached the top-10 before the end of Stage 1, pit strategy ultimately kept him out of the top-10 at the end of both Stages. With no cautions for incidents, Suarez had few opportunities to take advantage on restarts.
The fifth-place finish was Suarez’s fourth top-five this season. It was also the 13th top-five finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career.
The top-five finish moved Suarez up from 19th to 17th in the championship points standings. He is 204-points behind leader Chase Elliott. Suarez is locked into the playoffs by virtue of his Sonoma win.
Featured Photo Credit: Harold Hinson / Harold Hinson Photography.
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