Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez finished second and third, respectively, in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Both drivers came home with their best finishes of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
Bowyer’s weekend got off to a frustrating start when he got blocked in on pit road in Friday’s qualifying session and was forced to start from the 25th position. But during Sunday’s race, Bowyer moved his way through the field in relatively short order and was able to get to the front and stay there when the checkered flag flew.
"Unclogged," Bowyer said when asked how he felt after Sunday’s race. "We definitely unclogged ourselves from qualifying (laughing). All in all, our car handled good. It wasn’t lightning fast all day long, but as they started slip sliding around and struggling we’d kind of prevail on those long runs. That was our M.O. Denny, he was relatively fast all weekend long – top of the sheet – so we just weren’t really. All in all, I’m really happy to finish where we were."
Bowyer’s second top five of the season came in a race that he felt was a bit out of the norm.
"What a wild race," he said. "Just about the time you think you’re gonna have some stage points the caution would come out and then you thought you were back in and it happened again. Then you’re like, ‘Well, damn. What kind of haymakers are gonna be thrown at the end,’ and it just didn’t. Anytime you finish second it’s like, ‘What could I have done?’ When he came out of the pits that far ahead of us I was like, ‘We’re in big trouble,’ but second is not bad for the way our weekend started."
Suarez scored the fifth top-five of his career and was pleased to pay off a weekend when his car showed a great deal of speed.
"It was a solid day, for sure," Suarez said. "Overall I want to just say that I’m very proud of Stewart Haas Racing, everyone that makes this possible. We’ve been working very hard to make our racecars better. Definitely we’re heading in the right direction. Its the second week in a row that all Stewart Haas cars are in the top 10. That’s something very good."
Bowyer and Suarez’s teammates Aric Almirola and Kevin Harvick also came away with good finishes in seventh and eighth, respectively. For both drivers it was their sixth consecutive top 10 of the year.