Concord, NC (Feb. 17, 2014) – It didn’t take long for Daniel Suarez to capitalize on the momentum built in his 2013 campaign. After an offseason of hard work and rigorous preparation, Suarez kicked off the 2014 season in heroic fashion, earning his second career victory at the New Smyrna 150 presented by JEGS Saturday night at New Smyrna Speedway. With the margin of victory being 0.083 seconds, Sunday’s K&N Pro Series East season opener proved to be an exciting spectacle.
Starting the race in 11th place, Suarez wasted little time moving up in the field. By lap 28, Suarez maneuvered into fourth place and continued his ascension through the pack until ultimately taking a three-car-length lead 51 laps into the race. From this moment forward, Suarez’s lead would diminish, but was never lost.
With four laps to go, Cameron Hayley muscled his way alongside Suarez, setting the stage for what was eventually a photo finish. The two drivers rubbed and stayed side-by-side, but Suarez was able to hold on to the lead just long enough to beat Hayley to the white flag by mere inches.
Behind the wheel of the No. 6 Toyota Camry, Suarez humbly attributes his success to his supporting team. When asked about his victory he stated, “First I want to say thank you to everybody at Rev Racing, and more importantly the No. 6 Toyota Camry Sunoco team. Since early Saturday morning they’ve been working very hard.” He continued with, “I also would like to thank NASCAR for the opportunity to be apart of the [Drive for Diversity] program for a second year. This is an awesome win for everyone involved.”
Saturday’s victory marks Suarez’s sixth top-three finish in his last eight NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races dating back to last year. Driving for Rev Racing and NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program, the 22-year-old gave Rev Racing its 13th first place finish since 2010. The Monterrey, Mexico, driver is also a member of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s young and talented rising stars.
With Daniel Suarez and Cameron Hayley finishing first and second, Brandon Jones, Ben Rhodes, and Lee Pulliam rounded out the top five. Kenzie Ruston finished sixth, followed by Gray Gaulding, Mackena Bell, Brandon Gdovic and rookie Kaz Grala. Additionally, Hayley was awarded the 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Brewing Company.
The remaining members of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program, Sergio Peña, Ryan Gifford, and Jay Beasley finished the race 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, respectively.
“We closed the 2013 strong and we opened the 2014 on the same way, but now we need to stay focused as we head into Daytona’s Battle at the beach” said Suarez.
The K&N Pro Series East will have a quick turnaround, as the series will also be a part of Tuesday’s UNOH Battle At The Beach on the backstretch at Daytona International Speedway.
The New Smyrna 150 presented by JEGS will air on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday at 9 a.m.
NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES EAST-New Smyrna 150 presented by JEGS Results
At New Smyrna Speedway
New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
Lap length: 0.48 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (11) Daniel Suarez, Monterrey, Mexico, Toyota, 150 laps, 65.587 mph.
2. (1) Cameron Hayley, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Chevrolet, 150.
3. (10) Brandon Jones, Atlanta, Ga., Chevrolet, 150.
4. (2) Ben Rhodes, Louisville, Ky., Chevrolet, 150.
5. (5) Lee Pulliam, Semora, N.C., Toyota, 150.
6. (6) Kenzie Ruston, El Reno, Okla., Chevrolet, 150.
7. (8) Gray Gaulding, Colonial Heights, Va., Chevrolet, 150.
8. (18) Mackena Bell, Carson City, Nev., Toyota, 150.
9. (17) Brandon Gdovic, Yorktown, Va., Toyota, 150.
10. (21) Kaz Grala, Westborough, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
11. (24) Patrick Staropoli, Plantation, Fla., Toyota, 150.
12. (15) Matt Tifft, Hinckley, Ohio, Dodge, 150.
13. (16) Brennan Newberry, Bakersfield, Calif., Chevrolet, 150.
14. (3) Brandon McReynolds, Mooresville, N.C., Toyota, 150.
15. (14) Nick Drake, Mooresville, N.C., Toyota, 150.
16. (12) David Garborcauskas, Jr., Stonington, Conn., Toyota, 150.
17. (22) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
18. (13) Jesse Little, Sherrills Ford, N.C., Chevrolet, 150.
19. (23) Ronnie Bassett, Jr., Winston Salem, NC, Toyota, 150.
20. (4) Brodie Kostecki, Perth, Australia, Toyota, 150.
21. (9) Scott Heckert, Ridgefield, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
22. (20) Sergio Pena, Winchester, VA, Toyota, 149.
23. (25) Ryan Gifford, Winchester, Tenn., Toyota, 149.
24. (29) Jay Beasley, Las Vegas, Nev., Toyota, 149.
25. (19) Nathan Russell, Curwensville, PA, Chevrolet, 148.
26. (28) Clint King, Denton, N.C., Chevrolet, 135, off track.
27. (7) Austin Hill, Winston, Ga., Ford, 116, off track.
28. (27) Sam Hunt, Midlothian, VA, Toyota, 104.
29. (30) Rusty Skewes, Bluefield, Va., Chevrolet, 66, accident.
30. (26) Jerry Dawson, Saugus, Mass., Chevrolet, 58, handling.
Time of Race: 1 hour 5 minutes 52 seconds
Margin of Victory: .083 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: C.Hayley (93.522 mph, 18.477 seconds)
Caution Flags: 3 for 16 laps.
Lead Changes: 5 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Hayley (grid), A. Hill 1-3; K. Ruston 4-7; G. Gaulding 8-12; B. Jones 13-47; D. Suarez 48-150.
Standings: 1. D. Suarez, 48; 2. C. Hayley, 42; 3. B. Jones, 42; 4. B. Rhodes, 40; 5. L. Pulliam, 39; 6. K. Ruston, 39; 7. G. Gaulding, 38; 8. M. Bell, 36; 9. B. Gdovic, 35; 10. K. Grala, 34.