BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Daniel Suarez said he's already earmarked the $100,000 he collected Friday night through the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus program, aiming to put the money back into the restoration of his modest collection of vintage cars. But the 23-year-old driver owed much of his six-figure payday to a much newer car and a vintage performance. Suarez endured a taxing 302 laps, an overtime finish and benefited from trouble to bonus contender Ryan Blaney to come home fifth in Friday's Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. His fourth top-five finish in the last seven XFINITY Series races bumped him up a spot to sixth in the championship standings and put more money into the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team's coffers. Suarez said he wasn't keeping a mental log of where other Dash 4 Cash competitors were on the scoreboard, though the stray thought of clinching the bonus did pop into his head. "We were trying to get better and I said, 'Man, I think we’re in the spot right now.' It was pretty good," Suarez said. "You don't have time to think about it, you have so many things going on with the race car, about the laps and everything. Sometimes, that crosses your mind to think you're in the position to win this thing. I think it was great. Our 100 percent focus was to be better and better during the race and it's how we finish. Thanks to the team and all the hard work, we ended up with a top-five." Suarez outlasted the remaining three drivers eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus at Bristol -- among them Regan Smith , who finished ninth, and Elliott Sadler , who crashed out to a 31st-place result. But his fiercest competition for the enlarged check was 21-year-old Blaney, who had prevailed in Wednesday's weekend opener for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Blaney rose as high as second in the running order and spent the bulk of the evening on the fringes of the top five. But his car developed problems as the race entered its final quarter with two loose rear wheels. Blaney finished five laps down after making two unscheduled green-flag stops -- one to change the left-side rubber, then the next for the right -- leaving him glum in 22nd place. "I don't know. I thought it was driveline-related, but I've never had two loose rear wheels so I didn't know it was that bad," Blaney said. "Thought it was driveline. It's unfortunate. It sucks. … "Dash 4 Cash was feeling really good and just gave it away." Suarez's outing helped to set the field for the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash finale, scheduled in two weeks at Darlington Raceway -- a track where Suarez has never raced. Richard Childress Racing drivers bracketed Suarez in the final rundown at Bristol, with Ty Dillon taking fourth and Brian Scott sixth. Defending series champion Chase Elliott completed the bonus-eligible quartet for Darlington with a seventh-place effort. For Dillon, the performance had a pleasing side effect, allowing him to chop five points off the series lead held by Chris Buescher , who ran out of fuel while leading on the lone green-white-checkered restart and settled for 11th place. "I felt like I passed a couple of cars seven times there at the end. Our car was just blistering fast," Dillon said. "We had a good restart there and got our fourth top-five in a row, gained some points and we're just chugging away at this thing. They're slowly letting us back in it and we're getting better and better."
With his 5th place finish in the Food City 300, Daniel Suarez grabs the $100,000 Dash4Cash prize at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Daniel Suarez and Cameron Hayley are involved in an early mix-up, bringing out a yellow caution at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Daniel Suarez makes contact with Eric McClure while exiting his pit stall, causing damage to the left front of his car at Mid-Ohio.
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
Dillon, Suarez both looking for first Iowa win RELATED: Practice 2 results After running fourth in Friday's first practice, Ty Dillon topped the leaderboard in the second practice with an impressive fastest lap of 133.012 mph in 23.682 seconds. The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet completed a total of 67 laps for the session. NASCAR XFINITY Series veteran Brendan Gaughan was second on the leaderboard for Friday's final practice session with his No. 62 Chevrolet coming in hot with a fastest lap of 132.704 mph in 23.737 seconds. T.J. Bell rounded out the top three with a lap of 131.871 mph (23.887 seconds). This weekend will mark the first time Bell has lined up for a NASCAR XFINITY Series race since 2012's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. Next on the leaderboard was Drew Herring in his No. 6 Ford. Herring had a fastest lap of 131.519 mph (23.951). This will be his first NASCAR XFINITY appearance since 2013's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And completing the top five for this session was Brian Scott in his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet with a lap of 131.403 mph. Daniel Suarez , who topped the first practice, finished ninth in the Friday night's practice (131.026 mph). The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing driver will be on the lookout for his fourth consecutive top-five finish this weekend at Iowa Speedway. Kenny Wallace , who will be competing in his last race in the series this weekend at Iowa, finished 15th. Wallace is looking for his 10th career win at Saturday's U.S. Cellular Presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SiriusXM). NXS action continues Saturday with the Coors Light Pole Qualifying at 4:45 p.m. ET. RELATED: Practice 1 results Daniel Suarez topped the leaderboard in the NASCAR XFINITY Series opening practice on Friday at Iowa Speedway. The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota posted a fastest lap of 133.367 mph. Next was fellow rookie Brandon Jones in his No. 33 Chevrolet with a fastest lap of 131.965 mph. Saturday's U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland marks Jones' second start in the XFINITY Series. His first race was at Iowa’s May race, the 3M 250 , where he finished eighth. Rounding out the first session's top three was Ben Rhodes . Rhodes had a fastest lap of 131.744 mph. Ty Dillon (131.546 mph) and Darrell Wallace Jr . (131.486 mph) came in fourth and fifth, respectively. XFINITY Series points leader, Chris Buescher finished practice in the seventh spot, posting a fastest lap of 130.332 mph. Johanna Long , finished 30th in the first session. This is Long's first 2015 appearance as she hasn't raced since 2013's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. On-track action continues at 7 p.m. ET with the NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice on NBCSN. 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
Suarez , Blaney starting on front row; Kenny Wallace qualifies seventh RELATED: Full qualifying results Daniel Suarez soared past Ryan Blaney in the final 30 seconds of qualifying to earn himself the second Coors Light Pole Award of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career. The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver had a fast lap of 133.441 mph in 23.606 seconds during the qualifing session on Saturday at Iowa Speedway. Team Penske 's Blaney will join Suarez on the front row during the U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, Sirius XM) after coming in second on the leaderboard with a speed of 133.373 mph (23.618 seconds). Rounding out the top three during the XFINITY Series qualifying session was veteran Brendan Gaughan in his No. 62 Chevrolet (132.861 mph). For his eighth start at Iowa Speedway, Gaughan is looking for his first win at the track. The drivers of the No. 33 Chevrolet, Brandon Jones (132.750 mph), and the No. 54, Drew Herring (132.760 mph), came in fourth and fifth, respectively. Herring was filling in for Erik Jones , who was en route from Pocono Raceway after the Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 and was unable to participate in any of the practices or the qualifying round. XFINITY Series points leader, Chris Buescher , was next on the leaderboard as he qualified sixth with a fastest lap of 132.364 mph. Kenny Wallace was right behind Buescher with a strong seventh-place starting spot. Wallace will be racing for the last time as a full-time NASCAR driver Saturday night at Iowa Speedway as he recently announced his retirement. He is looking for his 10th career win. 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
Daniel Suarez spins out of the inner loop at Watkins Glen International and hits the tire barrier hard, sending the No. 18 to a backup car for the Zippo 200.