Suarez fined $50k for actions on the cool down lap last Sunday in COTA, my 3 takeaways

Daniel Suarez had it coming. He knew it. NASCAR knew it. Wednesday’s ruling was almost a formality at this point. NASCAR has elected to fine Suarez $50k for actions on the cool down lap last Sunday in COTA.

Suarez was pissed at Alex Bowman for contact towards the end of the race and took it upon himself to chase Bowman down on the cool down lap to try and wreck him. It spilled over to pit road when Suarez purposely crashed his No. 99 Chevrolet into Bowman’s No. 48 Chevrolet while officials were present.

“He just thought I drove in and tried to drive through him,” Bowman said of his conversation with Suarez. “I had the corner made. Only reason I was inside of the 99 was to protect from the 1. Then the 1 just hammered me in the corner, dumped me, then I ran into the 99, kind of cleaned him out.

“Daniel and I, we’ve been teammates in the past, raced together a long time. I respect the hell out of him. I’m sure he’s still not super happy. Just tried to explain that I wouldn’t race him like that, that I was shoved in there.

“You see that a lot at these road courses. Indy last year, Harvick was super mad at me and crashed me. Then he watched the video, and he was like, Man, I crashed the wrong guy.

“Sometimes just it’s a chain reaction. Fortunately, it worked out for us, ended up with a top five.”

Suarez saw that he got the wrong guy and video evidence showed him going to confront his teammate in Chastain.

He didn’t do much talking of the incident.

“When we got spun, I think we restarted down at Niece Equipment south of town. To come back to a top five was a top effort for our Worldwide Express team,” he said.

“I thought we were a top-five car all day. Thought the 45 had us covered. There was a line of Chevys second through sixth. It was about positioning each other while we were saving fuel, then racing each other, whoever was in front was going to be pretty good.

“Another top five here. I love this place. I love road course racing. But the fight to get better never stops. I know there’s things I can be doing better.

“From everybody from Jockey to Moose, Advent Health, everybody at Trackhouse, Justin Marks’ birthday this weekend. We ended up with a good finish, but it wasn’t the prettiest.”

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA – OCTOBER 09: Daniel Suarez, driver of the #99 CommScope Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 09, 2022 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

More Penalties

This is the third straight week of penalties. Between the Phoenix dealings of Hendrick Motorsports, Kaulig Racing and Denny Hamlin, Josh Williams in Atlanta and now Suarez for COTA, this is another expensive week in NASCAR. Hopefully, we’re not discussing any penalties, monetary or points, leaving Richmond.

Trackhouse Drama?

Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain may have a truce, but I have a feeling something is still brewing between Trackhouse Racing teammates Daniel Suarez and Ross Chastain. I got the vibe something was amiss last year, and it may have come to a head last Sunday.

Trackhouse needs to get ahead of this soon. While Justin Marks is okay that both drivers are upset while fighting for wins, I get that, however, this could also explode to more tension if they don’t address it soon.

Both drivers luckily have their futures secured with the team, but I can see how easily this situation as rose. Suarez probably felt threatened last year by Chastain getting Trackhouse’s first win and stealing a lot of the limelight. Chastain felt like Suarez was Pitbull and Trackhouse’s main driver and can see where a driver who’s fought for every ride he’s had wouldn’t go down easy.

With on track incidents, tension could only rise further and further. You want these two helping each other not working against one another.

That could cost this fun atmosphere of a team to turn into a negative room. That could spark some dire consequences for which could stunt their growth and ruin all this momentum that they’ve achieved so far.

Fine, Not Points Reduction, Big For Suarez

This was somewhat of a win for Suarez too. Yes, $50k is a steep price to pay, however, keeping his points and not being suspended keeps his playoff and championship winning chances still in tact too which is why getting a fine and not a points penalty is a win in NASCAR these days.

By comparison, Ty Gibbs ran into Ty Dillon on pit road on purpose during last years playoff race at Texas and revived a $75k fine and penalized 25 points. For Suarez to have a $25k less fine and keep his points is a win and something NASCAR must have viewed differently.

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