Despite Finishing 1 Spot Ahead of Suarez, Stage Points Move Bowyer Behind Him In Playoff Standings H

BRISTOL, Tenn – The final box score of Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at the Bristol (Tenn) Motor Speedway shows that Clint Bowyer finished one spot ahead of Daniel Suarez. Bowyer, was credited with a seventh place finish while Suarez was eighth.

But, the points standings though show Suarez ahead of Bowyer now. That’s all because of the decision by Suarez’ crew chief to keep him out at the end of the second stage to score points.

See, Bowyer finished 10th in Stage 1 while Suarez was 13th. That’s a one point advantage to Bowyer. With a finish ahead of him in the end, that’s a two point advantage. So, how is Suarez up by two leaving Bristol?

It comes down to that decision.

Suarez, didn’t pit when a majority of the leaders did. He stayed out and finished second. That netted him nine points. Bowyer, spun on Lap 242 to bring out the caution just before that stage break. He would finish 15th as a result of that.

Suarez having nine points to Bowyer’s none in that stage was a gain of +8 in terms of stage points on Saturday night. Throw in the finish, and it’s a +7 gain at Bristol for Suarez over Bowyer.

That’s why Suarez is now ahead of him with only two races remaining in the regular season.

“It was pretty good,” Suarez said of his second top 10 finish in-a-row. “I felt like we had a top 10 car all night long. We had a couple issues on pit road and an electrical issue too. I was a little worried I was going to run out of a battery but overall I’m proud of everyone with Stewart-Haas Racing. We’re making ground. We just have to keep being consistent.”

For Bowyer, he was frustrated with himself to spin when he did but he said it’s a short track and you have to take those risks. He’s just happy to be having fun again.

“We had a solid weekend,” Bowyer said. “Had to free up too much to be honest with you. It was just too loose. I couldn’t hang on to it. I was just struggling. We had to free it up to keep the front end on the track but it was too loose. I thought we’d have a top five. I saw a window and I tried to shoot it. It’s short track racing. You don’t have time to dwell on it. You have to go. As a race car driver you think you have momentum and you have to go for it. Just go race. It felt good to have fun again at a race track. We’ve been beat up the last two weekends.”

For Bowyer, this was just his second top 10 finish in the last 10 races. Six of those 10 saw him finish 20th or worse. Now, he gets his fourth straight top 10 in Thunder Valley and fifth in his last six overall starts on the high banked Tennessee race track.

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