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Daniel Suarez, Bubba Wallace friends but Suarez not happy with gesture

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 - Practice

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - JULY 04: Daniel Suarez, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 04, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Daniel Suarez says he and Bubba Wallace remain friends after their pit road disagreement last weekend at Pocono Raceway, but Suarez did not appreciate Wallace’s claims that he was merely joking by giving Suarez a one-finger salute after they made contact on the last lap.

Suarez approached Wallace on pit road after the race at Pocono and their discussion became animated.

“I got even more mad when he said like he was joking when I knew perfectly he wasn’t,” Suarez said. “It’s good. It’s in the past. We are good. We are friends. We’ve known each other for a long time. There is always that extra confidence in us that we know we can fight and be good the next day. I get fired up pretty quick when it comes to that kind of stuff.”

Wallace reaffirmed this week that he was having fun by giving Suarez the gesture at Pocono.

“I do it to the guys that I like and can race around,” Wallace said this week. “If it’s Kyle Busch or (Martin) Truex are coming up to lap us, I’ll give them the finger, hey come on by. It’s funny. We’ll talk about it and laugh at it later. Truex is starting to pick up on it. It’s funny. That’s all it was.”

Suarez says that’s not how he views the gesture.

“Where I came from, you can kick someone’s butt for doing that,” Suarez said. “He said he was playing, but I’m not dumb. I know he wasn’t. That was his excuse. That’s OK. We are buddies. We move on and focus on the next one.”

Suarez also shared his thoughts about Wallace’s driving.

“We are good friends, but sometimes he drives a little bit over his head on the racetrack,” Suarez said. “There have been a couple of times he’s been a little bit too aggressive to myself in different situations. I don’t get to race him that often, but when I do, he’s a little bit too aggressive, which is OK, I don’t have a problem, but sometimes you can cross the line and get mad.”

Suarez, who is outside a playoff spot, said the pressure of trying to make the playoffs was not a reason for his reaction to Wallace last week.

“I could be leading the championship and I would get fired up … that’s just myself,” Suarez said.