Suárez & Chastain Aim To Bring Home Moonshine Trophy From North Wilkesboro

North Wilkesboro Speedway Photo

The 40th-annual NASCAR All-Star Race returns to the historic 0.625-mile North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway for the second consecutive year Sunday with a 200-lap main event (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and a select field of eligible NASCAR Cup Series drivers, that includes Ross Chastain and Daniel Suárez, racing for a $1 million payday.

This year’s event will include pit stops during Friday qualifying, heat races on Saturday and some unique rules on Sunday when drivers and teams will choose from three types of Goodyear tires on hand — a baseline “prime” tire, a softer “option” tire, and wet-weather tires should conditions warrant.

The Wilkesboro track, a 90-minute drive north of Charlotte, is not only small by All-Star race standards but includes a unique uphill backstretch and downhill frontstretch. The track opened in 1947 and hosted 93 Cup races with the last race in 1996. It has received help from a near $20 million remodel.

The winning driver will receive a trophy designed after the moon shine-making process famous in Wilkes County. NASCAR has roots in the illegal moonshining trade in the early to middle of the 20th century. The trophy is a copper replica of a still with “Born to Shine” written on the middle piece and attached to a slab of engraved wood. It will take two people to carry it to the All-Star Race winner. 

  • Busch Light Flannel: As the beer brewed for the great outdoors, Busch Light is celebrating the beloved fashion staple of outdoor enthusiasts everywhere with this week’s paint scheme – Busch Light Flannel. Ross Chastain’s No. 1 car will be sporting a distinct red and black plaid flannel design inspired by the unofficial uniform of Busch Light’s beloved outdoorsy mascot, Busch Guy. While Chastain is sure to be an all-star on the track this weekend, Busch Guy is an all-star in the great outdoors who is always prepared to Head For The Mountains with an ice-cold Busch Light in hand! 
  • Busch Light Corn Cans: Plus, be on the lookout for Busch Light’s fan-favorite Corn Cans, which will be back on shelves starting May 20. For each case of Corn Cans sold through June 2024, Busch Light will donate $0.10 – up to $200,000 – to its longtime partner Farm Rescue, a nonprofit dedicated to providing critical material aid to family farms and ranches nationwide.
  • Busch Light Sweepstakes: Busch Light is continuing to give fans a chance to win every weekend throughout the season. Follow @BuschBeer on X and turn on notifications to find out how to enter. This weekend, you have a chance to win a custom Busch Light flannel cooler. 
  • Chastain Locked Into All-Star Race: Two Cup Series wins last season locked Chastain into this year’s All-Star race at North Wilkesboro. It’s the second consecutive season Chastain and the No. 1 team have been locked into the million dollar prize winning event.
  • Meet Chastain: On Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Chastain will sign autographs at the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program booth in the North Wilkesboro fan midway. Wristband required – visit booth for distribution.
  • Chastain Wins Truck Series Race: Last Friday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Chastain piloted the No. 45 Chevrolet Silverado for Niece Motorsports in the rain-delayed Craftsman Truck Series race. Chastain made his second start in the series this season and went on to win the event after taking the lead on the final restart with just a couple of laps remaining. The win marked Chastain’s fifth victory in the truck series.
  • North Wilkesboro & All-Star Stats: Last year, Chastain was guaranteed a spot in the All-Star race and finished 11th in his first ever Cup Series start at the North Carolina track. He also made his first Truck Series start at North Wilkesboro for Niece Motorsports last year and finished ninth. Chastain looks for his second consecutive Truck Series win this weekend when he climbs behind the wheel of the No. 45 Silverado on Saturday afternoon for a 250-lap race.
  • Season Stats: Chastain has earned four top-10s in 13 races so far this season along with 108 laps led. He’s currently 10th in driver points.
  • NASCAR: Full Speed: Catch Chastain in the five-episode docuseries NASCAR: Full Speed on Netflix. The series documented portions of Chastain’s 2023 season on and off the track. All five episodes are currently available on Netflix.
  • Last Weekend at Darlington: Chastain started the 400-mile Darlington Cup Series race from the ninth position. After working with a tight-handling No. 1 Chevrolet, Chastain was able to finish 10th in Stage 2 and took the checkered flag in 11th. 
  • 2023 Season Recap: Chastain won at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway in June and at the Phoenix Raceway season finale in November. He posted 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in his third fulltime Cup season. The Alva, Florida native finished ninth in points.

Chastain Quotes:

Busch Light is known for doing unique paint schemes, talk about the one you’re running at North Wilkesboro.

“Yeah, its cool to have the different Busch Light paint schemes. This weekend’s flannel scheme is modeled after the Busch Guy. I think everyone recognizes him from the commercials. I certainly hope to drive it into victory lane for a million dollars at North Wilkesboro.”

Why is it important for you to run in other series besides the Cup Series?

“I’ll be driving in the truck race and its a great opportunity for me to get laps in at North Wilkesboro since I’ve had very little track time there. Any time I can get laps in at a track, I look at it as a very good thing. It’s made even better this weekend because we won in the truck last weekend at Darlington. It would be awesome to get another win for Al Niece.”

How unique is the All-Star race at North Wilkesboro?

“The goal is the same, which is to win, but the event has a different feel. From the track not having a tunnel and you have to watch for when the track crossover gate opens or you’ll be on the wrong side at the wrong time. To driver intros with the pit crew guys and the various other elements with the qualifying pit stops and things like that. At the end of the day though, we want to win and so does everyone else.”

Suárez Notes

  • All-Star Race Success: Daniel Suárez will drive the No. 99 Freeway Insurance Chevrolet this weekend in North Wilkesboro. The Monterrey, Mexico native has finished in the top 10 in three of his four All-Star race appearances with a best finish of second in 2018.
  • All-Star Open Success: Suárez won the All-Star Open races in 2017 and 2022.
  • 2023 All-Star Race: Suárez started first, after he won Saturday’s heat race, and led the first 54 laps before fading to third at the halfway mark behind cars that took on new tires. In the second half, he held his position until late in the race when his tires lost grip and he dropped to seventh. 
  • 2023 Heat Races: Suárez finished first in the first of two heat races that determined the starting order for the All-Star Race. He started on the pole after his pit crew posted the fastest time of the All-Star cars in a Friday competition that determined the starting order for Saturday’s two heat races. Chase Elliott took the lead at the start before Suárez slipped by and led the final 34 of the 60-lap race. The heat races were run on rain tires in a steady drizzle for the time on an oval.
  • Atlanta Victory: At Atlanta, he and runner-up Ryan Blaney were separated by 0.003 seconds at the finish line. It was the fourth-closest finish in series history, and with third-place Kyle Busch just 0.007 seconds behind the winner, it also stands as the closest finish among three cars in the history of auto racing. 
  • Trackhouse Victories: Atlanta marked Trackhouse Racing’s seventh win in the NASCAR Cup Series, and first at Atlanta. Chastain owns four victories, Suárez two and one for Shane van Gisbergen. 
  • Mexico Series Victory: Suárez won the 150-lap Mexico Series race at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Feb. 3. It was his 11th victory. 
  • First Mexican to Win in Cup: Suárez became the first driver from Mexico (Monterrey) to win in the NASCAR Cup Series on June 12, 2022, at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. 
  • International Driver: He is one of six drivers not from the United States to win a NASCAR Cup Series race: Shane van Gisbergen (New Zealand), Marcos Ambrose (Australia), Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia), Earl Ross (Canada) and Mario Andretti (Italy). Ambrose, Montoya, and Suárez own two victories each.
  • Cup Career Highlights: Suárez owns two victories (Sonoma 2022 and Atlanta 2024) and three Busch Light Pole Awards – Pocono (Pa.) Raceway July 2018, Kentucky Speedway July 2019, and on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway August 2023. 
  • English is a Second Language: Suárez came to America to race. He did not speak English when he arrived in Buffalo, New York. He is the only Spanish-speaking driver in the NASCAR Cup Series.
  • Suárez Passes Citizenship Test: The Monterrey, Mexico native passed the United States Citizenship test on April 29 in Charlotte and will take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony in the next few weeks when he will become a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States.

Suárez Quotes:

What are your thoughts on the All-Star Race this weekend?

“It’s a lot of fun. Last year was the first time I was at North Wilkesboro and it was amazing. It was like going back in time with the fans so close and racing on the short track. It was very very cool. Fans told me they grew up going to that track so it meant a lot to them to bring it back. It was special for them. It’s funny I didn’t know Wilkesboro existed five years ago. So, I learned about its history and the sport’s history. We are going to go there Sunday and fight for a trophy. The money is great, but just like the old days, we really want the trophy. All of us started racing not for the money but for the trophy.”

How beneficial is it to have three consecutive races at home? 

“It is really nice. Last weekend, I drove to Darlington on Saturday and Sunday, we will drive to North Wilkesboro this weekend for the All-Star Race and we are home in Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600. It is really nice to be able to sleep in your own bed especially for my crew guys. This is an exciting time of the year for everyone in NASCAR. I am always looking forward to this stretch of the season. We can spend some extra time with friends and family.”

Trackhouse Racing PR

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