Suarez able to hold off first practice leader Kyle Busch SECOND PRACTICE: Full results Daniel Suarez topped the XFINITY Series final practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday afternoon with a fastest lap of 176.810 mph in 50.902 seconds. Suarez was sixth fastest in the first practice Friday morning, improving his fastest lap time by more than one second in the second round. Kyle Busch , who posted the top speed in Friday’s first session, was second this time, clocking in at 175.466 mph (51.292 seconds). Kyle Larson drove the HScott Motorsports No. 42 Chevrolet posting a fastest lap of 174.907 mph and Erik Jones ’ Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota was fourth on the leaderboard with a lap of 174.842 mph. Rounding out the top five for practice No. 2 was Brian Scott in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (174.432 mph). Kevin Harvick , who is pulling double duty in the Sprint Cup and XFINITY races this weekend, had some troubles with his No. 88 Chevrolet and finished 18th during the second session. The reigning Indy champ, Ty Dillon , had more success during the second session than the first, clocking in a seventh-fastest lap of 174.125 mph. Dillon said his No. 3 Richard Childress Chevrolet car was, however, too tight the entire practice and needed to be worked on before the qualifying round. The XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying is set to start Saturday at 11:35 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network. OPENING PRACTICE: FULL RESULTS Last year's Lilly Diabetes 250 runner-up, Kyle Busch , topped the leaderboard in Friday's first practice for NASCAR XFINITY Series with a fastest lap of 178.717 mph (50.359 seconds). Busch, who missed the first three months of the season with severe leg and foot injuries in a crash in the XFINITY opener, has had an impressive summer of racing with back-to-back wins on the Sprint Cup Series side and a victory in the XFINITY Series in June. With a new aerodynamic package set for this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, drivers were able to put into practice the much-talked-about changes for the first time. Paul Menard was second-fastest, clocking in at 177.845 mph. In all of Menard's three NASCAR XFINITY Series' starts at Indy he has finished in the top-10. On the Sprint Cup side, he has his only premier-series win at the rectangular track. Erik Jones rounded out the top three with a fastest lap of 176.139 mph. This weekend marks the first time the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver will race at Indy. Kyle Larson (175.967 mph), Ryan Blaney (175.654 mph) and rookie Daniel Suarez (175.394 mph) rounded out the top six in the first practice round. The new rules package is designed to promote more side-by-side racing at Indy, a track notorious for difficult passing. The biggest aerodynamic change was to the rear spoiler, which was raised to a 9-inch height. GALLERY: What the new spoiler looks like at Indy Although the new high-drag rules package has gotten mixed reviews, veteran XFINITY Series driver, Brendan Gaughan , said he didn’t see a huge difference. Gaughan's No. 62 Chevrolet was eighth-fastest in the first practice with a fastest speed of 175.104 mph. Last year's winner, Ty Dillon , was 16th-fastest after dealing with some engine issues early in the session. On-track action for XFINITY Series continues at 2:30 p.m. ET for the final practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
XFINTIY Series rookies hope to continue success at Lilly Diabetes 250 Racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time might be daunting enough, even for two NASCAR XFINITY Series rookies awash in midseason momentum. But when Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr . touch down at the fabled Brickyard, the sense of the unknown will hinge on another sizable variable. Saturday's Lilly Diabetes 250 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, IMS Radio, SiriusXM) will be the first for a new rules package for the XFINITY Series, which will emulate the high-drag aero setup that Sprint Cup cars will also use for the first time this season. But beyond the tweaked rules that await Suarez and Wallace is also the adjustment to racing at a historic 2.5-mile track with a layout like no other circuit on the NASCAR calendar. "I'm really excited to get to Indy, another one of those places where I haven't been to, so it's going to be a pretty big challenge," Wallace said Monday during a whirlwind tour through New York City with Suarez and defending XFINITY champ Chase Elliott . "We have to not really focus on those first couple of runs on the car, it's more a focus on me of hitting the right marks and make sure I'm getting all out of the car that I can. You have to be on it but I'm excited to get to another big track for us. "We're on a pretty good roll right now with three top-10s in the last four races, so we've just got to keep pressing forward." MORE: Bubba, Chase and Suarez take a selfie in New York City Wallace's streak of success in his first year in Roush Fenway Racing 's No. 6 Ford has some competition with Suarez's recent tear. The Mexican-born driver of Joe Gibbs Racing 's No. 18 Toyota has two straight top-five results on the XFINITY side heading to Indy and hasn't finished outside of the top 10 all season in his partial schedule (seven starts thus far) in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The last time Suarez visited Indianapolis, he said he was 14 or 15 years old and still getting his motorsports career off the ground in go-karts. Now 23, he has designs on absorbing as many lessons as possible to keep his own rookie roll going. "It was a long time ago and now we're coming back for the big race track with a big chance to get experience," Suarez said. "I'm excited about that and looking forward to this weekend, most of all to learn as much as possible on Friday. And after that, hopefully everything will be pretty good." Suarez said he planned on doing his homework before Saturday's 250-miler, watching race film as part of his customary preparation. Wallace said he's already leaned on friends and fellow competitors Elliott and Ryan Blaney , each of whom have starts at the 2.5-mile speedway under their belts. Standard prep work aside, both say they expect the high-drag rules package to add a new wrinkle to the build-up to Saturday's race. Both Wallace and Suarez said they approved of NASCAR potentially implementing track-specific packages based on the type of racing they saw with a lower-downforce setup for Sprint Cup cars two weekends ago at Kentucky Speedway. But how will the Brickyard package race? Wallace said teams and drivers won't know for certain until cars hit the track for Friday's pair of practices. "Hopefully we're ready for it and on top of our game," Wallace said. "They're trying to produce more racing, and I'm a fan of that. Just going to see how much different the cars are going to drive and how much different the speeds are getting into the corner. Talking with Chase and Ryan, they're talking about how it's almost wide-open there in some corners at Indy. So I don't know if we will be wide-open in (Turns) 2 and 4 or what, but that new package and that bigger spoiler will definitely reduce horsepower, so we'll just have to see how it goes." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Rookie finishes fourth in Kentucky XFINITY, Truck Series races SPARTA, Ky. -- The progress thus far of NASCAR Next product Daniel Suarez has been an upward arc, one that nearly took a significant spike Friday night at Kentucky Speedway. Though his results in his first full season of NASCAR XFINITY Series competition for Joe Gibbs Racing have been marked by pockets of inconsistency, Suarez's part-time participation for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series has been a clean 7-for-7 sweep of top-10 finishes. Friday night, the 23-year-old Mexico native took another step toward leveling the XFINITY side. Fourth-place Suarez was the top-finishing XFINITY Series regular in Friday's Kentucky 300, logging his second top-five effort this season in just his first race weekend at the 1.5-mile track. The finish came on the heels of another fourth-place finish in a KBM truck the night before in the Bluegrass State -- an indication, Suarez said, that dividing his time between both series is helping him improve. "I feel like just a different driver from a few months ago to right now, and I hope that that I'm a different driver three months from now," Suarez said with a laugh. "So I really think that is helping me a lot to race in both series and to have that double practice. It's helping me a lot to learn about the race track, the race car, the communication and everything. So far, it's working out pretty good." Suarez entered the season as a fresh face, but also as a fairly full-fledged rookie. Aside from running the majority of four seasons in the developmental NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Mexico Series, Suarez had just three NASCAR national series starts -- two in XFINITY , one in trucks. Accordingly, his 2015 schedule was front-loaded to help accelerate his growth. "The experience of all the stuff he learns on track, it's hard to teach all of it without just racing every week," said Eric Phillips, Suarez's crew chief in the XFINITY Series. "He's got good trucks to drive over there with KBM, he's doing a good job, and I think the more seat time we can get him, the better we'll be." Suarez's elation was heightened by the presence of a special family visitor; the driver said his mother was on hand at Kentucky, watching him race for the first time in the United States. What she saw was a steady, consistent night of racing from her son, who jumped into the top five in the running order after the first caution period and never left it. As much extra support as he received Friday night in Kentucky, Suarez said he's been riding a wave of backing from his JGR team ever since embarking on his Sunoco Rookie of the Year campaign. "They're a great organization, and the best thing is that they're an even better family," Suarez said. "Everybody is a very good group of people and everyone takes care of each other. I stay by myself, I have a real family and everything, but I really see them like my family and they have been supporting me in everything. Just really, really proud to be part of this organization." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Daniel Suarez talks to the media following his fourth place finish in the Kentucky 300.
Daniel Suarez wishes Jeff Gordon would stick around a little longer so that he could have the opportunity to race against one of the greats.
XFINITY Series rookie visits Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Joliet Photo credit: Don McClelland As a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Daniel Suarez says he's been doing his homework as best he can, oftentimes having to learn new and unfamiliar race tracks on the fly. Monday morning, on the heels of a strong race but disappointing finish the previous day at Iowa Speedway , Suarez did his own schooling one state over, visiting Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Joliet, Illinois, to talk about the importance of technology and mathematics. The assembly also came with a surprise perk -- 1,000 race tickets, enough to send the whole school's enrollment plus family members to the series' race June 20 at nearby Chicagoland Speedway (9:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). "It was pretty fun and makes me think a lot because the last group of kids we had, it was from 10 to 11 years old and it made me think that when I was that age, I was about to start in racing," said Suarez , who ranks 10th in the XFINITY standings. "It was really cool. All those kids were super-excited about all of us. Now they have tickets to go, without a question. I'm excited about that and looking forward to seeing all these kids again next month." Suarez's own role as a student has meant plenty of adjustment in his first full XFINITY season driving the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota, visiting new circuits and adapting to the pace of longer races than the NASCAR K&N Pro Series that sparked his development. Yet when he returns to the Land of Lincoln, it will mark the 23-year-old driver's second race on the 1.5-mile track, a facility he lauded for its multiple grooves and high-speed layout. Suarez finished 15th last fall in a one-off event for RAB Racing at Chicagoland in just his second career XFINITY start, but it's an experience he hopes to build upon when the series returns for Father's Day weekend. "For sure, it's different because at least you know what to expect," said Suarez , who is also running a part-time schedule for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season. "In those races where I've never been before in the past, you're learning about everything -- about the racing line, everything. I know that when I do my homework to watch video and get information about the race, everything is still difficult. "It's still a process. But for all these races where I've been in the past, I feel like my confidence and my knowledge about the race track is a little better." His learning process thus far has been on an accelerated upturn, especially on the series' short tracks, where he's logged his best finishes of the season -- second at Bristol and sixth at Richmond. That streak ended Sunday at Iowa Speedway , where he led a career-high 48 laps early on before sliding back somewhat in the late going. His chances for a top-five finish, though, slipped away when his car sputtered out of fuel with just two laps left in regulation. "It was just a difficult day in many ways," Suarez said. "Looks like we had a pretty strong car in the beginning of the race, but the race track changed a lot and the line changed a lot as well. We improved the car some, never quite like at the beginning, and then we ran out of luck and ran out fuel. That pretty much ended our day, but at the end of the day, I felt like we had a top-five car. I feel like we ran most of the day in the top 10, top five, and that's a good thing, but definitely we have to keep working, keep learning about our mistakes and be better for next week." Next week comes quick for Suarez and the rest of the XFINITY regulars with Saturday's Hisense 300 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM) at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the backyard of NASCAR's business hub. His studies for this weekend haven't started just yet, but it's by no means due to procrastination. "Not yet, actually. We are here today in Chicago and just finished yesterday in Iowa, so my homework is going to start tomorrow," Suarez said. "But I feel good about Charlotte. I've never been on the race track in a race, but I had a test in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at the beginning of the year, so I know a little bit about the track. It's straightforward, it's fast, it's very narrow, but I feel like we're going to have a pretty good car one more time and we're going to try to be competitive." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver of No. 51 encouraged by career-best finish in series In just six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, Drive 4 Diversity graduate Daniel Suarez is getting the hang of it, and it shows after the Mexican-born driver finished second -- Suarez's best finish in the series -- in the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway on Friday. From wheeling winning cars in the K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Toyota Series, Suarez has balanced driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY Series and piloting the No. 19 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota in the Camping World Truck Series with grace. "The whole 2015 so far has been a big difference from my 2014 -- what I was racing in in Mexico and some K&N races -- definitely a big step, a big, big difference," Suarez said after his second-place finish at Dover. "Racing with Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports it's just a great opportunity and I'm very lucky because to have fast race cars every weekend is just great. I feel like we have a shot every single weekend, I feel like I'm learning a lot every single weekend ... Kyle has been on our side a lot helping us as well. Everyone in Joe Gibbs Racing . I just feel like we're getting closer and closer (to a win)." But with Dover being such a physically demanding track and the KBM driver having never raced there before in a truck, Suarez was able to lean on team owner Kyle Busch -- a 42-time Truck Series winner -- for track knowledge and advice. "Most of the race tracks that we've been to this year, I've never been to before," Suarez said. "... It's just a little bit difficult to get onto the race track when you have no idea what's going on, what to expect with a new race car, with a new race track ... Kyle (Busch) has been very helpful to me, to give me advice, what to expect, how I need to be to be strong in the race, not just in practice." While Busch's guidance has been helpful, Suarez discusses how his confidence has grown in just the first few months of the 2015 season. "I've been very surprised how competitive we've been in the last couple months in both series. To be honest, I feel different from February to right now. I feel much different. I have more confidence. I know a little bit more. ... And on both sides we are competitive. Hopefully, we can get a little more luck soon and maybe finish in Victory Lane." In six Truck starts, Suarez has only finished outside the top 10 once (15th at Talladega). The No. 51 Toyota driver will take the track next on Saturday, Aug. 1 for the Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway . FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Four drivers and fans have chances to win $100,000 MORE: How Dash 4 Cash works; enter now! CONCORD, N.C. -- Regan Smith said he didn't realize until Friday that Saturday's Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the qualifier for the NASCAR XFINITY Series' Dash 4 Cash Sweepstakes. But on Saturday in the driver's meeting he tapped Jason Burdett, crew chief of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, on the shoulder and said, "Hey, you know this is the Dash 4 Cash race and we need to be good today." The No. 7 remained steady and in the top 10 for the majority of the race, but what made Saturday good was a late pit stop that propelled Smith to a fourth-place finish, his best at Charlotte. Smith led a group of Dash 4 Cash qualifiers that included Darrell Wallace Jr . (fifth place), Daniel Suarez (sixth) and Ty Dillon (seventh) in a race won by Austin Dillon . The best finisher among the four in next week's Buckle Up presented by Click it or Ticket 200 at Dover International Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX) will take home $100,000 and advance to the next round of the Dash 4 Cash. For Wallace, the fifth-place finish at Charlotte was a career best in his young XFINITY Series career and came on the heels of a sixth-place showing at Iowa. Wallace also finished sixth at Texas earlier this season, and the driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford said he's building some momentum. "This is a confidence booster for all of my guys," Wallace said. "We just have to clean up ourselves on pit road. That's been a struggle for us these last couple races, but we've been able to manage a couple spots on restarts and come away with our first top-five in the series. ... This is where we need to be. We're setting up ship for late in the season." As for the immediate future, Wallace said he needed to learn how to translate qualifying success at Dover International Speedway into a race win. In 2012, Wallace won the pole in the fall XFINITY race at Dover only to finish 12th. He also won a pole there in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the spring of 2013 but finished 10th. "Dover has been a very successful track for me," Wallace said. "It would be nice if (the Dash 4 Cash) paid for the pole there because I'm pretty good at qualifying there. I haven't got the finishes I wanted, but I'm excited to be in the XFINITY Series and part of the Dash 4 Cash Series, so I'm glad to be one of the four." Wallace and fellow rookie Suarez will mix it up with Smith and Dillon, who are veterans of the Dash 4 Cash battles -- with Dillon winning a Dash 4 Cash race last year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway . In addition to Dover and Indianapolis, the Dash 4 Cash will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway this year. Suarez , who qualified 19th for Saturday's race in Charlotte, charged through the field early and maintained a top-10 position for the second half of the race. Suarez's sixth-place finish in his first race at CMS was his fourth top 10 of the season. "We had a hard time in qualifying -- maybe one of my worst qualifying runs of the year at 19th," Suarez said. "All these guys, they don't know how to give up and that's something that is really good, and I'm learning to be just like that as well." And like Smith, Suarez was pleasantly surprised that Saturday marked the beginning of the Dash 4 Cash. "That's cool and something new actually," Suarez said. "I saw the Dash 4 Cash, and I don't know exactly how it works or anything, but I'm really proud to be part of this and something new for me." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender seeks $100,000 in opener RELATED: Enter Dash 4 Cash sweepstakes Last weekend didn't start off too well for Daniel Suarez . He qualified 19th for the Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway , his lowest starting position since February when he began the Atlanta race 21st. It ended pretty well though. Suarez finished sixth, clinching a spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series' Dash 4 Cash by placing in the top four among drivers registered for XFINITY Series points. As a Dash 4 Cash participant, Suarez can win an extra $100,000 in Saturday's Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket at Dover International Speedway (2:30 p.m. on FOX). All he has to do is place ahead of the other three contestants: Ty Dillon , Regan Smith and Darrell Wallace Jr . "It's great, last year I did not get this opportunity," Suarez said after qualifying for Dash 4 Cash at Charlotte. "Thank you to everyone in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for putting this all together. I'm looking forward to next week." Suarez has only started at Dover twice, both times in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He placed sixth in 2013 and finished 22nd last year following a wreck with 17 laps left. This weekend, he will get seat time in Friday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 (5:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1), which will help him prepare for the XFINITY Series event. "I always feel a bit more confident in tracks where I've competed at before in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East," Suarez said about Dover. "I know it's a very fast track, interesting and a lot of fun. It will also be fun to run two races in the same weekend again. I love being behind the wheel, so anytime I can do more of that is great for me." Suarez has the opportunity to win $1 million through the Dash 4 Cash program. He can win $100,000 in each race at Dover, Indianapolis, Bristol and Darlington by being the highest finisher among Dash 4 Cash participants. If Suarez wins the first three Dash 4 Cash awards and then wins outright at Darlington, XFINITY will award him an additional $600,000 bonus, bringing the total payout to $1 million. "We had a good run at Charlotte and qualified for the 'Dash 4 Cash' program," Suarez said. "It's a fun incentive, but it won't change the way we prepare or approach the race this weekend." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Smith, Sadler, Blaney and Suarez advance to Dash 4 Cash at Bristol SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Regan Smith 's eighth place finish in Saturday's Lilly Diabetes 250 XFINITY Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway wasn't the victory he'd hoped for, but Smith and his JR Motorsports team was still able to celebrate having gotten one step closer to winning a million dollars in the series' Dash 4 Cash incentive program. While race winner Kyle Busch was hoisting trophies nearby in victory lane, Smith accepted a check for $100,000 as the second round winner of the Dash4Cash program. He also collected $100,000 on May 30, after winning the first round at Dover, Delaware. Any driver who wins the first three Dash 4 Cash awards then wins the final round race outright -- Sept. 5 at Darlington -- would total $1 million for the effort. Smith bettered championship leader Chris Buescher , Chase Elliott and Brendan Gaughan to claim Saturday's portion of the winnings. Smith, along with Indianapolis' runner-up Ryan Blaney , third place finisher Daniel Suarez and fifth place finisher Elliott Sadler now advance and are eligible for the third round of competition Aug. 21 at Bristol Motor Speedway. "We had three battles we were fighting today,'' Smith said standing alongside his No. 7 AmericasPower.org Chevy covered in pretend dollar bills. "First and foremost we wanted to win the race and we weren't capable of doing that today. We knew that so then we wanted to win the money and gain points on the 60-car and we did both of those things today and that's what we've got to keep doing every week. "I know as a company we're working hard to get going further forward. "I thought we could have been anywhere from 6th to 10th . We'll take that and we're going to bust our ass the rest of the year." Smith, last year's championship runner-up sits fourth in the rankings entering next week's XFINITY Series race at Iowa Speedway. He trails Buescher by 51 points. In the meantime, Smith joked that he already had an idea how to spend at least a portion of his now $200,000 Dash 4 Cash effort. "I'd like to buy a cool box, I'm really hot right now," he joked with a big smile. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule