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Daniel Suarez wins Atlanta Cup race by 0.003 seconds in photo finish

In Sports
February 26, 2024

HAMPTON, Ga. – Daniel Suarez has joined William Byron in the playoffs after a wild drag race with Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney, one that capped off a chaotic race at Atlanta.

Suarez was on the outside of Busch and Blaney on the final lap as the field came out of Turn 4. The three drivers crossed the line almost simultaneously, but the replay showed that Suarez had beaten the other two drivers by 0.003 seconds.

MORE: Atlanta Cup results

Blaney crossed the line second. Busch was third. Austin Cindric and Bubba Wallace rounded out the top five.

“It was so damn close, man, it was so damn close,” Suarez told Fox Sports after the race. “It was good racing Ryan Blaney there, Kyle Busch. Austin Cindric was also doing a great job giving pushes.”

Sunday’s race marked Suarez’s third top-10 finish at Atlanta since the 2022 season. This was his second career Cup win and his first on an oval track.

The season’s second consecutive superspeedway race had a 16-car crash, 10 cautions for 65 laps, two Daytona 500 winners wrecking at the entrance of pit road, four-wide racing and a red flag delay lasting 11 minutes and 25 seconds.

More than 30 cars were involved in on-track incidents, the most since Atlanta underwent a reconfiguration ahead of the 2022 season. In the end, it was Suarez who celebrated his first win of the season.

“It’s good to see Daniel get a win,” Busch said after the race. “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.”

The wild end to the race came after a red flag delay with 19 laps remaining after a multi-car crash. The field went four-wide. Contact from Denny Hamlin sent Chase Briscoe spinning, causing heavy damage to both cars.

Harrison Burton and Josh Berry also sustained minor damage in the incident while Justin Haley spun on his own trying to avoid the crash.

Martin Truex Jr. and Todd Gilliland avoided being collected by mere inches as they ran up against the wall.

This incident bunched the field back up for the final restart, one that took place with five laps remaining in the race.

The aggressive nature of the race created a scenario where another sizable wreck occurred before the leaders took the white flag. This did not happen despite the field going three-wide multiple times. Busch, Blaney, Suarez, Cindric, Wallace and the rest of the drivers still left in the race kept their cars clean.

“What a cool finish,” Blaney said after the race. “Appreciate the fans for sticking around. That’s a lot of fun. That’s always a good time when we can do that, race clean, three-wide finish to the end.

“Happy for Daniel. That was cool to see. Fun racing with Kyle. I can’t complain; I’ve won them by very, very little, too, so I can’t complain too much when I lose them by that much.”

The final wreck was the 10th caution of the day. The first was a 16-car incident that actually damaged Suarez’s No. 99 Chevrolet.

The first wreck began when the outside line checked up behind Gilliland, which bunched up the field and led to a 16-car crash. This was the largest wreck in Atlanta Motor Speedway history.

This crash led to DNFs for Noah Gragson, Christopher Bell and Josh Williams. Several other drivers remained out of contention after making multiple trips down pit road for repairs. That included Alex Bowman, who was five laps down for nearly the entire race before he finished 27th.

The Cup season continues Sunday, March 3, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox).

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