Daniel Suarez came home with a disappointing 27th-place finish at Circuit of the Americas after having another solid car at the venue for the second straight season. However, Suarez is now under the eye of NASCAR after his actions on pit road after the event.
Let’s dive into the Trackhouse Racing driver’s situation and determine a penalty that fits the crime.
Daniel Suarez’s controversial actions on pit road likely to bring consequences
Suarez was among the drivers involved in the beating and banging on Sunday afternoon at Circuit of the Americas and unfortunately, that translated to pit road after the NASCAR Cup Series race.
As seen in the video below, the driver of the No. 99 car for Trackhouse Racing drove up to the back of his teammate Ross Chastain and moved him out of the way coming into pit road. Then, Suarez drove up to Alex Bowman and bumped him multiple times around officials and others.
Quite frankly, it was an unacceptable act from Suarez and one that is likely going to draw a penalty. If Bowman lost the car after the first bump from Suarez, there was a NASCAR official standing in the direct path of the No. 48 car.
Suarez is lucky that Bowman did not lose control of the car because it would have been a different story. Thankfully, that did not end up being the case and now it is time for NASCAR to lay the hammer down.
What penalty should NASCAR hand down to Suarez? Continue reading to find out the previous precedent that has been set and whether that is a good enough penalty for his actions.
Evaluating a potential penalty for Daniel Suarez after COTA
Ty Gibbs, the former substitute driver for 23XI Racing, received a hefty penalty after slamming Ty Dillon on pit road at Texas Motor Speedway last season. It was a dangerous act that questioned whether Gibbs was mature enough for the NASCAR Cup Series.
The current driver of the No. 54 car for Joe Gibbs Racing received a penalty that consisted of a $75,000 fine and the loss of 25 owner points for the No. 23 team. Gibbs did not lose driver points since he did not earn Cup Series points last year.
Suarez should receive a penalty that is in the same range, if not even worse. The case was there for Gibbs to be parked for one Cup Series race last season but it did not happen. Suarez most likely won’t be suspended for one race because of Gibbs’ penalty.
However, Denny Hamlin recently received a penalty that consisted of a $50,000 fine and 25 owner and driver points for intentionally wrecking Ross Chastain at Phoenix Raceway. It doesn’t feel like Suarez’s potential penalty would be enough.
The reason is that Suarez could have seriously injured a NASCAR official by using his car as a weapon on pit road. Just like Gibbs last year, the “what if” game needs to be played because an official’s safety was put in harm’s way.
Suarez needs to be penalized in a big way and the two situations are not the exact same. Gibbs slammed Dillon when they were on pit road during live pit stops while Suarez hit Bowman after the race with people around the cars. Plus, it’s unknown if Bowman’s belts were undone.
The same energy for Gibbs needs to be kept for Suarez. There is no place in the Cup Series for drivers to use their cars as weapons on pit road anymore. Those days are gone and NASCAR needs to make sure that fact is presented to the teams sometime this week.
Suarez should receive a penalty close to Gibbs but if it ends up being more, it would be warranted moving forward as NASCAR can’t allow this to keep happening over and over again.