Daniel Suarez Prevails In Epic Three-Wide Photo Finish At Atlanta Motor Speedway

Daniel Suarez Prevails In Epic Three-Wide Photo Finish At Atlanta Motor Speedway

by February 25, 2024 1 comment

HAMPTON, Ga. – Daniel Suarez edged Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch in an epic three-wide, photo finish to win the Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday.

The finish is now the third closest in NASCAR history since electronic scoring in 1993 and the closest at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Suarez beat Blaney by 0.003 seconds and Busch by 0.007 seconds. Suarez’s day started off rough as he was involved in a Lap 2 accident, but the driver of the Trackhouse Racing No. 99 Freeway Insurance Chevrolet bounced back to earn his second-career NASCAR Cup Series win.

“It was so damn close, man,” said Suarez, who is a native of Monterrey, Mexico. “It was so damn close. It was good racing. Ryan Blaney there, Kyle Busch, Austin Cindric also was doing a great job giving pushes. In the back straightaway he didn’t push me because he knew I was going to f— his teammate, but man, what a job.

“We wrecked lap 2. The guys did an amazing job fixing this car. I can’t thank everyone enough, Trackhouse Racing, Freeway Insurance, Chevrolet, all the amazing fans here. Let’s go!”

On the final lap, Suarez, Blaney and Busch were side-by-side-by-side in the final turns, and once they made their way to the frontstretch, they continued to battle each other with Suarez on the high side, Busch in the middle and Blaney on the inside of the track. When the checkered flag flew, Suarez just barely edged Blaney and Busch.

Following the history-making finish, Blaney, who finished second, said, “I thought I laid back enough in (Turns) 1 and 2 to not let both lanes get that big of a run. I did that like the three laps before the end and I was able to manage it kind of fairly well, and they just got both lanes shoving super hard. I just chose the bottom, and it was the safest place to be.”

Busch who is entering his second season with Richard Childress Racing said, “It’s good to see Daniel get a win. We were helping each being Chevy team partners and working together there. Shows that when you do have friends and you can make alliances that they do seem to work, and that was a good part of today.

“I was hoping to get a win because I know everybody wanted a free No. 8 special on Monday from Cheddar’s. So dammit, we’ll have to do it again and find another one.”

Austin Cindric and Bubba Wallace rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 was Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ross Chastain, Michael McDowell, Chris Buescher who rebounded from a spin and Ty Gibbs.

McDowell won Stage 1 and Cindric won Stage 2.

Throughout the day, the race saw an array of strong contenders who had the speed to lead the field. The 260-lap race saw 48 lead changes among 14 drivers. Todd Gilliland led a race high of 58 laps.

The caution flew on 10 occasions for 65 laps.

The biggest crash of the race occurred on Lap 2, and it involved 16 drivers. The field bunched up entering Turn 1, and several cars went spinning, including Austin Dillon, Bubba Wallace and more. Noah Gragson who nearly went into the wall head-on, obtained the most damage from the accident.

Up next on the schedule for the NASCAR Cup Series is the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 3. Live coverage will broadcast on FOX at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Mitchell White/TheFourthTurn.com

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