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Ambetter Health 400: Daniel Suárez Wins in Historic Three-Wide Atlanta Photo Finish


Daniel Suárez takes the checkered flag at Atlanta.
Sunday produced one of them classic Atlanta finishes. (Photo: Alex Slitz | Getty Images)

HAMPTON, Ga. - Trackhouse Racing's Daniel Suárez was victorious over Team Penske's Ryan Blaney and Richard Childress Racing's Kyle Busch as the three drivers all crossed the finish line simultaneously in a thrilling photo finish in the Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.


The second race of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season's margin of victory was 0.003 seconds, becoming the third-closest finish in Cup Series history.


Suárez's second career win at the premier level also resulted in the closest margin between first, second and third in the sport's history. Suárez was first, Blaney was second 0.003 seconds back and Busch was third just 0.007 seconds behind the No. 99 Chevrolet.

This marked Suárez's return to Victory Lane in the Cup Series for the first time since June 12, 2022, at Sonoma Raceway.


"It’s an amazing feeling," Suárez said. "This team did an amazing job all race long. We wrecked on Lap 2. The guys fixed the car and we were able to make it good again, make it fast again.


"It took some tweaking, but unbelievable. Freeway Insurance, Trackhouse, Chevrolet, and all the people that believed in us from day one – it’s unbelievable to do this in this fashion.”


Second-place finisher, Blaney, was all smiles post-race as he has been on the winning side of multiple photo finishes in his career, but the Team Penske driver had to settle for the runner-up spot at Atlanta.


"I’ve won some by a few inches and lost some by a few inches," Blaney said. "It was a fun night, fun racing. I didn’t think they’d get that big of a run on me. I thought I did a good job of getting close off of two to where I kind of had some of their energy.


"I guess they just got hooked up super good and got a massive run, and I can’t block both lanes. It was fun racing, but just a couple inches short. I’m happy for Daniel, though. That was fun racing him and Kyle. That was fun.”


Team Penske also had another top-five finisher as Austin Cindric, who won Stage 2, finished fourth.


Busch, who finished third in the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet also commented on his podium finish after a hard-fought battle with Suárez and Blaney.


"Yeah, it’s frustrating," Busch said. "I mean I hate it because I felt like we were one of the top-five cars today and had a good shot. The 12 was deservingly one of the faster cars, and with all the carnage, it took out some other guys early.


"I just got a little too far ahead of the 99 and he got a good side draft through the corner. I didn’t think the outside would prevail, but with the run down the frontstretch and the side draft, that is what hurt us."


Results from the 2024 Ambetter Health 400 from Atlanta Motor Speedway are listed below:

Ambetter Health 400 race results.

OTHER RACE FACTS

Atlanta Motor Speedway had three historic things happen besides the memorable finish:

  • The race's 48 lead changes broke the previous track record.

  • 16 cars were involved in the Lap 2 wreck, which is the track record for most cars involved in a caution.

  • 32 of 37 cars in the race (86.5%) were involved in at least one caution, which is also a track record.


Todd Gilliland's No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford made history as he not only had a career-high and race-high 58 laps led, but combined with his teammate Michael McDowell, who earned his first career Cup Series pole position in 467 starts and led 27 laps at Atlanta. FRM's combined 85 laps led is the most the team has ever led in a single race.


Bubba Wallace, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ross Chastain were all at least one lap down during the Final Stage, but they managed to finish in fifth, sixth and seventh after battling through the field multiple times.


Only one driver in the Cup Series has finished in the top 10 in both races to start the season. 23XI Racing's Wallace has not only done that, but he also has finished in the top five in both races.

"Yeah, shout out to Daniel (Suárez), know he needed that," Wallace said. "He’s been in that situation before, so nice to see him rise to the occasion. What a day. I’m so glad we’re done with superspeedway racing for a while. The mental toll it takes on you, to just making sure you make the right move for 260 laps, including the race last week too, is a lot. Team did a great job."


GRID Ranking

The 2024 GRID Ranking will be the eighth year of the premier motorsport ranking in the world, and it will be released during the week of April 7.


Before the official ranking releases on the first Sunday of April, drivers in the seven racing series that participate in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) earn GRID Ratings, which help determine their initial seeding when the GRID Ranking releases.


For NASCAR, William Byron and Daniel Suárez will be at the top of the GRID Rating after Atlanta. Byron won the NASCAR GRID Rating in 2023 after winning six races. The rest of the NASCAR GRID Rating is currently being calculated.


The next race for the NASCAR Cup Series will take place on Sunday, March 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coverage of the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.


GRID NETWORK

GRID YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@gridranking

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