SONOMA, Calif. - Ford Mustangs peppered the top-10 as the checkered flag flew for Daniel Suarez (Chevrolet) Sunday afternoon at Sonoma Raceway. Suarez, another first-time winner in the Cup Series this season and for his career, was followed by five Blue Ovals across the finish line.
Chris Buescher finished second, Michael McDowell third, Kevin Harvick fourth, and Austin Cindric fifth. Ryan Blaney crossed the finish line sixth with Brad Keselowski rounding out the top-10 Mustangs in 10th.
Buescher looked poised for his first win since 2016 at Pocono late in the race as he battled right behind Suarez for the lead with 10 to go. But over those final 10 laps, the 99 of Suarez was able to pull away from Buescer and the rest of the field, finishing nearly four seconds ahead of the 17.
It was a good points day for Ford in the manufacturers' championship chase as the Blue Oval leapfrogged Toyota and into second place, now 41 points behind Chevy.
The Cup Series will take next weekend off before returning to action Sunday June 26th at Nashville Speedway
NCS RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
1st – Daniel Suarez
2nd - Chris Buescher
3rd - Michael McDowell
4th - Kevin Harvick
5th - Austin Cindric
6th - Ryan Blaney
7th - Ross Chastain
8th - Chase Elliott
9th - William Byron
10th - Brad Keselowski
REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
13th - Chase Briscoe
14th - Aric Almirola
17th - Joey Logano
20th - Joey Hand
21st - Cole Custer
24th - Todd Gilliland
28th - Harrison Burton
32nd - Cody Ware
33rd - Scott Heckert
Chris Buescher, No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford Mustang -- Finished 2nd
“This team did a great job and put a really fast Fifth Third Bank Mustang underneath me this weekend. What a way to return and come back to the race track, but I didn’t get the job done there at the end. I feel like we should have had the win and I didn’t get it. We were close, just needed more. I needed to make it happen on that restart and I didn’t. But if we can keep getting cars like this then a win will come. It was an awesome run, and I should be happy, but I am disappointed to be that close and not get it.”
Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang -- Finished 3rd
WHAT MORE DID YOU NEED THERE AT THE END?
“You know, we just fired off a little on the slow side but we were really good on the long run. We started to reel the leaders in there the last five laps but it just took a little too long to get going. I am proud of the entire team. This was a really solid weekend for our Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang. You have to run second, third, fourth, and fifth consistently to put yourself in a position to win a race and we were close today. We just needed a little more on the front end to challenge. I am really proud of everybody’s effort. We are getting closer. We are doing it week in and week out so I am really proud of everybody.”
Kevin Harvick, No. 4 GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang -- Finished 4th
“Our GEARWRENCH Ford Mustang was good. We had our minimum of once-a-week catastrophic failure on pit road and got back as far forward as we could, as usual. It is what it is, I guess. We didn’t finish where we should have.”
WHAT MORE DID YOU NEED TO CONTEND TODAY?
“Something that wasn’t a 20-second pit stop.”
SO YOU THINK THAT PIT STOP WAS THE FACTOR IN YOU NOT CONTENDING FOR THE RACE WIN TODAY?
“I mean, we took away all of our chances. We should have been second at worst but we keep screwing up every week.”
Austin Cindric, No. 2 America’s Tire Ford Mustang -- Finished 5th
“I would say this weekend was a real team effort. I appreciate Jeremy (Bullins) and the Discount Tire team for believing in me with flipping the stages like we did when we probably could have taken a stage win and a bunch of stage points. We made a lot of adjustments and some bold decisions honestly, overnight. I am really happy for Daniel Suarez. To see a first-time winner, that isn’t great to have another first-time winner on the season and stacking up on those but otherwise, it was a really solid day and to do it in front of Discount Tire and America’s Tire folks who had a bunch of people out here today. It was good to come out of here with a top-five.”