Daniel Suarez, Michael McDowell scuffle on pit road during qualifying
Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell scuffled on pit road after the first round of qualifying Friday at ISM Raceway.
Neither Ford driver advanced to the second round. Many cars waited until late in the session to make a qualifying run and that caused cars to run up on competitors on the track. McDowell qualified 27th. Suarez qualified 28th.
Suarez was upset with McDowell and went to McDowell’s car after the round. McDowell shoved Suarez away. They then grabbed each other and Suarez threw McDowell to the ground before crew members jumped in.
Suarez was thrown onto the hood of McDowell’s car and pinned there by McDowell’s crew chief Drew Blickensderfer. Suarez continued to kick at McDowell while on the hood of McDowell’s car. McDowell grabbed Suarez’s foot and tried to pull Suarez off his car.
“It’s a lack of respect,” Suarez told Fox Sports 1. “Track position is very big in these races these days. You have to qualify well to have a good spot on pit road and have a good start on the race.
“It’s just a lack of respect. Everyone in the garage knows the second lap (in qualifying) is a good one. You have to try to get out of the way if someone is coming on their hot lap and he didn’t.”
Suarez said later: “I’m obviously mad because track position is the situation in racing today. I don’t really care about starting in the front or the back, but what is very important is the pit stall selection, which we’re gonna be bad, but I have a very strong race car. We showed that in practice and we’re gonna be able to overcome that tomorrow.”
McDowell told FS1: “Just miscommunication on the racetrack. We all kind of waited until the end and you just had a lot of traffic. Just unfortunate. He was upset that I held him up on his good lap and then he tried to crash us and I just didn’t appreciate it.
“Just heat of the moment stuff. It’s racing. These shorter practice sessions, shorter qualifying, getting late going through tech, the intensity ramps up, so it’s all part of it.”
McDowell added later: “What I told Daniel, everybody makes mistakes. That’s just part of it. Not every qualifying session is gonna go how you want it. It’s not how we wanted it to go. It hurt us as well. It’s not the race. We’ve got 300-and-some-odd laps to figure it out on Sunday.”
I think this is going to be a season of conflict. This today. @StenhouseJr has had a go-around w/ three different drivers in three races thus far. Everything is so equal, everything is right. Pressure from 1st race to finale. Drama. https://t.co/XE05tYRVBu— Eddie Gossage ™️ (@eddiegossage) March 9, 2019