Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):
● Daniel Suarez started 10th, finished 18th.
● After starting inside the top-10, Suarez dropped to 16th by lap 14 as he battled a loose racecar, especially on the entry to the corner.
● Suarez dropped to 21st by lap 37, describing the front end of his car as “numb.” Crew chief Scott Graves went to work, throwing a myriad of changes at the No. 19 Interstate Batteries Toyota, adjusting wedge and removing a spring rubber on the lap-38 pit stop.
● The Interstate Batteries driver still battled handling issues toward the end of Stage 1, with his main complaint being loose on entry. With every adjustment to try and get rid of the numb condition on the front end, the result would make the back of the racecar loose.
● At the end of Stage 1, Suarez battled his way back up to 18th with a car that was still loose on entry but tight when on the throttle.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 101-200):
● Started 13th, finished 27th.
● The Interstate Batteries team gained five spots on pit road during the stop following Stage 1, restarting the second stage in the 13th position.
● A quick caution on lap 115 saw Suarez in 12th, as he reported that the racecar was better but the front was still not great and the back of the car was still stepping out. Suarez moved up to 11th by the lap-124 restart.
● Trouble struck Suarez on lap 183; he reported to the Interstate Batteries crew that he thought had a tire coming apart. He finally brought the No. 19 car to pit road for an unscheduled stop on lap 187.
● After a closer look at the tire, the Interstate Batteries team discovered a loose left-rear wheel was the culprit, and the untimely stop relegated Suarez to finish Stage 2 in 27th, two laps off the pace.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 201-300):
● Started 27th, finished 19th.
● With the stop, Suarez took the wave-around during the stage-break caution, putting him just one lap down to the leaders as Stage 3 got underway.
● Suarez moved up to 24th when a caution waved on lap 259, and he was able to stay out and take the wave-around again, putting him back on the lead lap. During the caution, Suarez radioed to the Interstate Batteries team that the car was more free than before but not bad.
● After restarting 22nd on lap 265, Suarez thought he had a flat right-rear tire. Fortunately, a caution came out just five laps later, enabling him to pit for tires and fuel. He restarted 20th on lap 278.
● Suarez moved the Interstate Batteries Toyota up to 15th by lap 286 but lost a few spots to finish the stage in 19th.
Stage 4 Recap (Laps 301-400):
● Started 14th, finished 15th.
● Suarez pitted on lap 303 following the final stage caution of the race, taking on four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to help a condition where his No. 19 continued to chatter the front tires.
● The No. 19 team restarted 14th on lap 308 but soon fell to 16th, with Suarez saying his car was more free on the bottom but that the front still couldn’t turn like he wanted.
● Suarez, who had gotten his lap back at the end of Stage 3, was lapped by teammate and race leader Kyle Busch on lap 374. Still, despite all the handling challenges thrown his way over 400 miles, he was able to bring home a hard-fought 15th-place finish.
Daniel Suarez, driver of the No. 19 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“It was a decent finish with our Interstate Batteries Camry. The guys did a good job working on the racecar, but the car didn’t have a lot of speed. We had a 14th- or 15th-place car at times. We had issues with a vibration and lost two laps, but we were able to overcome that, but it took us a long time because we didn’t have a lot of speed. We have to go back home, work hard and try to get better and see what happens at Pocono.”
Team Interstate Results:
● Kyle Busch (Finished 1st/ Running, completed 400 of 400 laps)
● Denny Hamlin (Finished 3rd/ Running, completed 400 of 400 laps)
● Daniel Suarez (Finished 15th/ Running, completed 399 of 400 laps)
● Erik Jones (Finished 19th/ Running, completed 399 of 400 laps)
Team Interstate Points:
Kyle Busch (1st with 573 points, 67 ahead of second)
Denny Hamlin (7th with 429 points, 144 out of first)
Erik Jones (13th with 314 points, 259 out of first)
Daniel Suarez (18th with 245 points, 328 out of first)
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Pocono 400 on Sunday, June 3 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.
TSC PR/Photo Sarah Crabill/Getty Images