Rookie Report: Bank of America 500
Suarez leads rookies at Charlotte
By Dominic Aragon
October 8, 2017
All five of the five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidates were among the 40 starters in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway Sunday.
Below is a breakdown of how each fared.
NO. 13 TY DILLON
Dillon picked up his first lead lap finish in the last seven Cup races with his 21st-place finish at Charlotte.
Dillon started the race in 27th. He finished the first stage (lap 90) in 20th and the second stage (lap 180) in 18th.
“We didn’t unload how we needed to on Friday, and then we didn’t get any practice laps in yesterday because of the rain,” Dillon said. So, we had to make adjustments on the first few pit stops to get what I needed balance-wise.
“I felt pretty good late in the race, but I just needed track position. Charlotte is a tricky track and it can be hard to pick up spots. We were really making progress, though. I was 15th when I had to pit for a flat tire with 13 laps to go. It was an unfortunate end to the day.”
With seven races left in the season, Dillon remains 24th in driver’s standings.
NO. 19 DANIEL SUAREZ
Suarez picked up the 12th top-10 finish of his Cup Series career as the highest finishing rookie at Charlotte.
Suarez began the race in 14th, the highest starting rookie.
Suarez finished the first stage in ninth and the second stage in 20th, earning a total of two stage points.
Suarez ultimately finished the race in sixth, his third consecutive top-10 finish. He remains 20th in driver’s standings.
NO. 23 COREY LAJOIE
LaJoie finished 28th, four laps down at Charlotte.
LaJoie started in 39th, the lowest rookie. He was one of two rookies to not have an official qualifying time posted Friday.
LaJoie and teammate Brett Moffitt did not turn a lap in practice or qualifying Friday because of the team working with their engine partner to resolve a financial dispute, per our partners at Kickin’ The Tires.
The BK Racing driver finished the first stage in 32nd, one lap down, and the second stage in 30th, two laps down.
LaJoie remains 34th in driver’s standings.
NO. 55 GRAY GAULDING
Gaulding was back behind-the-wheel with Premium Motorsports after not competing last week in Dover.
Making his 25th Cup Series start, Gaulding began the race in 35th.
Gaulding finished the first stage in 35th, two laps down.
During the second stage, Gaulding had to take his No. 55 vehicle to the garage with mechanical issues.
“Something just broke in the front end,” Gaulding said. He finished the second stage in 37th, 20 laps down.
Gaulding ended up finishing the race in 36th, 70 laps down.
With his result, Gaulding fell one position in driver standings to 36th overall.
NO. 77 ERIK JONES
Jones finished on the lead lap in 17th at Charlotte.
Jones started 38th, his lowest start in his Cup Series career in 33 races.
During the first stage, Jones suffered from a right-rear shock issue, according to the team.
The Furniture Row Racing driver finished the first stage in 34th, two laps down and the second stage in 27th, one lap down.
Jones remains 19th in driver’s standings entering next Sunday’s race at Talladega.
Kyle Stephens/The Racing Experts
Kickin’ The Tires
ROOKIE FINISHES AT CHARLOTTE, RACE 30/36
6) Daniel Suarez
17) Erik Jones
21) Ty Dillon
28) Corey LaJoie (-4 LAPS)
36) Gray Gaulding (-70 LAPS)
UNOFFICIAL POINTS POSITION AFTER CHARLOTTE
19) Erik Jones
20) Daniel Suarez
24) Ty Dillon
34) Corey LaJoie
36) Gray Gaulding
TOP FINISHING ROOKIES BY TRACK
1) Daytona; Corey LaJoie (24th)
2) Atlanta; Erik Jones (14th)
3) Las Vegas; Erik Jones (15th)
4) Phoenix; Daniel Suarez (7th)
5) Auto Club; Daniel Suarez (7th)
6) Martinsville; Erik Jones (12th)
7) Texas; Ty Dillon (17th)
8) Bristol; Ty Dillon (15th)
9) Richmond; Daniel Suarez (12th)
10) Talladega; Ty Dillon (13th)
11) Kansas; Daniel Suarez (7th)
12) Charlotte; Erik Jones (7th)
13) Dover; Daniel Suarez (6th)
14) Pocono; Erik Jones (3rd)
15) Michigan; Erik Jones (13th)
16) Sonoma; Daniel Suarez (16th)
17) Daytona; Erik Jones (9th)
18) Kentucky; Erik Jones (6th)
19) New Hampshire; Daniel Suarez (6th)
20) Indianapolis; Daniel Suarez (7th)
21) Pocono; Daniel Suarez (7th)
22) Watkins Glen; Daniel Suarez (3rd)
23) Michigan; Erik Jones (3rd)
24) Bristol; Erik Jones (2nd)
25) Darlington; Erik Jones (5th)
26) Richmond; Erik Jones (6th)
27) Chicagoland; Daniel Suarez (12th)
28) New Hampshire; Erik Jones (6th)
29) Dover; Daniel Suarez (8th)
30) Charlotte; Daniel Suarez (6th)