Tuesday, September 3, 2019


After a rain-delayed start to the Bojangles’ Southern 500, the historic race kicked-off a little after 10:00 p.m. eastern-time on Sunday night. Erik Jones captured his second career victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, clinching his spot in the 2019 playoffs.

With the NASCAR Playoff bubble points being close going into 500-mile event, drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Daniel Suarez all had high hopes of finishing strong.

Unfortunately for Johnson, the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro was involved in a multi-car accident on Lap 275. Finishing the race in the 16th position, Johnson sits 18 points outside of the playoffs and faces a must-win scenario heading into Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The eye-catching story of the Southern 500 was the events between Newman and Suarez. The Ford Performance rivals had an incident on Lap 140 causing Newman to spin off Turn 2 bringing out the fourth caution of the night.

Newman became highly irate after the incident, telling his team that Suarez has one coming for him. As for Suarez, he just saw it as hard racing and stated that he did not even touch the No. 6 Oscar Mayer / Velveeta Ford Mustang.

“That’s a racing thing,” Suarez said after the race. “I didn’t touch him. As a driver it’s very, very easy to know that the guy behind you is very, very close and to feel that air, but he’s experienced to know. Once he sees the race he’s going to realize that we didn’t touch. It was everything aero and just hard racing, that’s it.”

Whether Suarez touched Newman or not, the altercation became the post-race talk of the night as both drivers are trying to race themselves into the playoffs.

“I have to watch the replay,” Newman said after the race. “They said he hit me, but I don’t know. He had me jacked up sideways going into the corner, so do I owe him? Probably a little something.”

Suarez ultimately placed 11th while Newman brought home his Ford machine in the 23rd position. Suarez recorded his highest finishing position at the South Carolina oval and is looking forward to the Big Machine Vodka Brickyard 400 this upcoming weekend.

“We were confident in our car all weekend, but with the big weather changes and things like that, we had to work on it quite a bit during the race to keep up with the track,” Suarez said. “With the playoffs, I think we’re putting on a good show for all the fans, and now being tied heading to Indianapolis that makes things even more interesting, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Newman heads back to the track where he won back in 2013. The Cup Series veteran has far more experience than Suarez but is seeking to overcome his eventful weekend at Darlington Raceway.

“We got spun and we came back, and we did not have a top 10 finish, so it’s unfortunate,” Newman said. “We lost some points today, but we’ve got a lot of fight in us and we’ll go into the last one here in the regular season and fight.”

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, Sept. 8 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.