Daniel Suárez and the red, white and blue No. 96 Today. Tomorrow. Toyota Camry team for Gaunt Brothers Racing (GBR) can’t wait to get back to the 1.5-mile Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway oval for Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series Alsco Uniforms 500k after an admittedly frustrating run in Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600.
Their sixth race together Sunday night – and third since the season resumed after a 70-day shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic – netted a 29th-place finish. That wouldn’t normally be cause for concern for a small, one-car team that’s tackling the entire Cup Series schedule for the first time in its 10-year history in NASCAR. But a series of mishaps, which included a penalty for a crewman over the wall too early, another penalty for speeding on pit road, a stuck lug nut on a green-flag pit stop, and a fueling issue that negated a planned strategy call midrace, left the team wondering what might have been with its patriotic-schemed Toyota that its driver said had so much more potential.
Thank goodness for second chances as Suárez and his teammates will get to find out during Wednesday night’s 500-kilometer event that will feel like a sprint race just three days removed from Sunday night’s 600-mile marathon. Last week, between their back-to-back races just down the road at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Suárez and crew chief Dave Winston put their heads together and returned to the tricky, 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval with a Toyota that felt far better in Wednesday night’s race than it did the previous Sunday.
This Wednesday night, they’ll look to once again show that kind of marked improvement in the performance of their Today. Tomorrow. Toyota Camry, eliminate the kind of mishaps that hampered their efforts Sunday night, and put themselves in position to better their best finish this season of 21st, which came March 8 at Phoenix Raceway.