Daniel Suarez and the No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet will start Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race from the pole position after winning Saturday night’s first of two Heat races at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Starting second on the field, Suarez took the lead for the first time on Lap 27 and never looked back. Suarez led Joey Logano, Chase Briscoe, Christopher Bell and Denny Hamline to round out the top five.
The opening Heat race took the green flag under wet conditions, a damp racetrack and with wet weather tires on all of the cars. Despite the adverse conditions and a host of unknowns in the racetrack, the drivers kept it clean to start, with Elliott getting the advantage over Suarez.
While Elliott was able to jump out to an early lead, Suarez quickly closed the gap and put the pressure on after 20 laps. By Lap 27, Suarez had moved under Elliott in Turn 4 to take the top spot and the driver of the No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet began to drive away.
Suarez regained the lead following a caution for rain and non-competitive pit stops. On the restart on Lap 41, Logano was able to get by Elliott for the second spot as the No. 9 Chevrolet was pinned to the top side of the track. Stuck on the outside, Elliott dropped to seventh.
With Elliott dropping back, it provided Logano an opportunity to pressure Suarez for the lead but the No. 99 Chevrolet was too much to overcome. While Suarez drove away, Logano was forced to hold off the rest of the field - led by Chase Briscoe - who were hungry behind him.
The 60-lap event was slowed by one caution flag for rain.
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Image Courtesy Will Bellamy, Racing America
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