Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suarez took the checkered flag out in front, in the Lucas Oil 150. The event was the CWTS Chase elimination race Friday night at Phoenix International Raceway. The Mexican born driver, took full advantage when his teammate William Byron’s truck failed with Byron in the lead. Unfortunately for Byron, there were only ten revolutions remaining.
For Daniel Suarez, it was his first career win in the CWTS series after finishing second on four separate occasions. The aggressive youngster wasn’t about to apologize for the way he found himself out in front on the race’s final lap. In fact, the victory also clinched the season’s series manufacturer’s title for Toyota.
“I guess it was about time to get a little bit of luck,” Daniel Suarez told FOX Sports in Victory Lane. “We also had a lot of second-place finishes and this team. KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) works very hard. What a better way to clinch the Toyota manufacturer’s championship than with this victory. I’m also very proud of my team, proud of Toyota and proud to be a part of this family.”
William Byron was leading at the time his engine gave way, and had completely dominated the first 140 laps of the race. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate led a race-high 113 laps trying to race his way into his first ever final four. With that came a shot at championship the following week at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
William Byron’s departure from the CWTS Chase also helped his teammate Christopher Bell. Byron’s teammate claimed one of the last spots in the Championship 4 with a seventh-place result.
Now, Christopher Bell joins second place finisher Johnny Sauter, third place Matt Crafton and fifth place Timothy Peters with a chance to win the championship next Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“We had been running hot a little bit the last run, kind of all night,” Byron said. “It stayed within 10 (degree) range, but it also started to vibrate, maybe the lap before… but it didn’t seem like a big deal, then it sputtered and flames came out from underneath the truck.”
Maury Gllagher’s Johnny Sauter had won the two previous CWTS Chase races at Martinsville and Texas to lock himself into the Championship 4 at Homestead. The momentous driver finished second in the contest. As a result, he continued adding to his hot streak going into the last race to decide it all. The two drivers that seen their hopes dashed were William Byron and Ben Kennedy.
Duke Thorson Racing’s Matt Crafton and Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Timothy Peters were one point apart heading into Phoenix Speedway. The two feisty competitors also battled side by side for most of the Lucas Oil 150 on Friday.
Until William Byron’s truck failed, they were competing for the final position at Homestead. Crafton probably would have defeated Bell, as the speedsters truck fell back in the later parts of the event.
“We had a great truck, especially on the long runs,” said Matt Crafton, whose No. 88 Toyota will be racing in the Championship 4. “Unfortunately, I just could not get going in the short run. I was just extremely loose.”
“I knew at the end there I needed to get a really, really good restart, and I also didn’t get the restart I needed. Nevertheless, I’ve got nobody to blame but myself for that. But I’m also just proud of everybody’s effort. We just needed to keep pushing. Even though everybody says there’s no pressure, there’s always pressure, this is racing.”commented the veteran driver.
CWTS Final Results from Phoenix International Speedway:
1. (2) Daniel Suarez(i), Toyota, 150.
2. (4) Johnny Sauter (C), Chevrolet, 150.
3. (10) Matt Crafton (C), Toyota, 150.
4. (7) Cameron Hayley, Toyota, 150.
5. (8) Timothy Peters (C), Toyota, 150.
6. (6) John H Nemechek, Chevrolet, 150.
7. (5) Christopher Bell (C) #, Toyota, 150.
8. (17) Matt Tifft #, Toyota, 150.
9. (18) Ben Kennedy (C), Chevrolet, 150.
10. (12) Cole Custer #, Chevrolet, 150.
11. (3) Rico Abreu #, Toyota, 150.
12. (13) Tyler Reddick, Ford, 150.
13. (15) Daniel Hemric, Ford, 150.
14. (9) Ben Rhodes #, Toyota, 150.
15. (21) Austin Cindric, Ford, 150.
16. (14) Noah Gragson, Toyota, 150.
17. (19) Myatt Snider, Toyota, 150.
18. (20) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 150.
19. (23) Dylan Lupton(i), Chevrolet, 150.
20. (26) Kevin Donahue, Chevrolet, 149.
21. (27) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 148.
22. (29) Austin Wayne Self #, Toyota, 147.
23. (28) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, 147.
24. (32) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 146.
25. (30) Bryce Napier, Chevrolet, 146.
26. (31) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 145.
27. (1) William Byron (C) #, Toyota, Engine, 141.
28. (11) Kaz Grala, Chevrolet, Accident, 76.
29. (25) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, Engine, 62.
30. (22) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, Accident, 36.
31. (24) Dominique Van Wieringen, Ford, Accident, 26.
32. (16) Spencer Gallagher, Chevrolet, Accident, 11.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 84.441 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 46 Mins, 35 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.510 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 9 for 49 laps. / Lead Changes: 5 among 3 drivers.
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