Daniel Suarez Wins First Career Cup Series Pole

Daniel Suarez
Andrew Hampton/Pocono Raceway

Thanks to a double disqualification of two of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series' so-called "Big Three," Daniel Suarez earned the first Busch Pole Award of his career.

In the final round of Friday's knockout qualifying at Pocono Raceway, Suarez navigated the 2.5-mile track in 50,851 seconds (176.988 mph) to claim the top starting position when the cars of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch failed post-qualifying inspection.

Both Harvick and Busch had posted faster laps than Suarez, but Harvick's No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford failed the Optical Scanning Station, and Busch's No. 18 Toyota was outside tolerances at the chassis station.

That put Suarez on the pole, surpassing his previous best starting spot of third last June at Dover International Speedway. The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota put his car on the pole without making a mock qualifying run in practice.

"I think this is one of the races of the year where we did not make a qualifying run in practice," said Suarez, the first Mexican driver to win a pole in NASCAR's premier series. "We just talked about race trim, and that was the plan.

"We didn't do a "Q" run in practice, and that's why we didn't look very good on the (speed) chart. But we were a top-10, top-eight car for sure in practice. We made some adjustments for qualifying, and actually the car felt better and more connected, so I'm happy for that."

Suarez was at his motor home, analyzing data and studying where he had lost time to Harvick and Busch when he was told to report to the media center as the pole winner.

"Next time I hope I can get the pole by being the fastest guy, not by a couple of guys being disqualified," Suarez said. "But it's fine—we'll take it."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"] Harvick ran the fastest lap of the day at 177.750 mph, but both his run and that of Busch were disallowed because of inspection failures. Both drivers will start from the rear of the field in Sunday's race.

Since finishing third at Dover in May, Suarez has gone nine straight races without a victory, but he sensed the performance at Pocono was a turning point.

"The guys have been working very hard for the last couple months to put things the right way," Suarez said. "Obviously, we know we can run well, and we can run in the front.

"All my guys are really talented, and I know that I can do it, and the results haven't been there. So this is a good thing for us."

Lineup

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1 19 Daniel Suarez Stanley Toyota 50.851 176.988
2 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 51.012 176.429
3 20 Erik Jones Reser's Toyota 51.023 176.391
4 2 Brad Keselowski Alliance Truck Parts Ford 51.050 176.298
5 1 Jamie McMurray Arctic Cat Chevrolet 51.103 176.115
6 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 51.112 176.084
7 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Ford 51.322 175.363
8 78 Martin Truex Jr. Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota 51.356 175.247
9 31 Ryan Newman Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's Chevrolet 51.498 174.764
10 88 Alex Bowman AXALTA All-Pro Teachers Chevrolet 51.540 174.622
11 6 Matt Kenseth Roush Performance Ford 51.654 174.236
12 37 Chris Buescher Scott Products Chevrolet 51.990 173.110
13 34 Michael McDowell Dockside Logistics Ford 52.023 173.000
14 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 52.118 172.685
15 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 52.174 172.500
16 38 David Ragan A&W All American Food Ford 52.241 172.278
17 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Ford 52.319 172.022
18 32 Matt DiBenedetto Dude Wipes Ford 52.517 171.373
19 96 Jeffrey Earnhardt Xtreme Concepts Inc. Toyota 53.313 168.814
20 23 JJ Yeley(i) Steakhouse Elite Toyota 53.323 168.783
21 72 Corey LaJoie Monarch Chevrolet 53.346 168.710
22 15 Gray Gaulding Chevrolet 53.557 168.045
23 99 Kyle Weatherman StarCom Fiber Chevrolet 53.767 167.389
24 00 Landon Cassill Lock Haven University Chevrolet 53.976 166.741
25 7 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 54.276 165.819
26 51 BJ McLeod(i) Jacob Companies Chevrolet 54.286 165.789
27 66 Timmy Hill(i) Lehigh Valley Phantoms Toyota 54.652 164.678
28 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Caramel Toyota 0.000 0.000
29 4 Kevin Harvick Mobil 1 Ford 0.000 0.000
30 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 0.000 0.000
31 14 Clint Bowyer Haas 30 Years of the VF1 Ford 0.000 0.000
32 42 Kyle Larson DC Solar/Credit One Bank Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
33 12 Ryan Blaney PPG Ford 0.000 0.000
34 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 0.000 0.000
35 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
36 21 Paul Menard Menards/Libman Ford 0.000 0.000
37 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol e15 Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
38 24 William Byron # AXALTA/IMRON Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
39 43 Bubba Wallace # Mile 22 Chevrolet 0.000 0.000
40 95 Kasey Kahne Procore Chevrolet 0.000 0.000

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