Race Weekend Central

On-Track Incident Causes Fight Between Daniel Suarez, Michael McDowell

Friday’s (March 8) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying session at ISM Raceway ended with two drivers coming to blows. Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell had an on-track incident boil over into a disagreement on pit road.  Punches were thrown and the scuffle ended with McDowell being taken to the ground and Suarez held down on top of McDowell’s car.

According to McDowell, Suarez attempted to wreck him intentionally once the red and black flags were about to fly which signified the end of round one’s qualifying session.

“Just miscommunication on the track,” said McDowell following the scuffle with Suarez.  “We all waited until the end and we just had a lot of traffic.  [Suarez] was upset that we held him up on his good lap and then he tried to crash us. I didn’t appreciate it.”

Suarez was not so understanding of McDowell’s stance on the entire sequence of events. Both drivers lost crucial track position for Sunday’s 2019 TicketGuardian 500, sending tempers flaring.

“You have always have respect for the other drivers, especially here in Phoenix when we all know that the second lap is a good one,” he explained. “I was opening my second lap and he was in [Turn] 1 and 2.  I assumed he was going to get out of the way in [Turn] 3 and 4 and he didn’t.”

Jeff Gluck of JeffGluck.com interviewed Suarez following the fight, where the Mexican-born driver escalated his frustration.

“I’m the kind of driver that I’m going to give a lot of respect to you, if you give me respect back,” he said. “If you don’t give me respect, I’m going to kick your a**.”

The incident resulted in two of the more mild-mannered drivers on the Cup circuit needing to be restrained by their crews. It’s the second time in a month McDowell has been in the middle of an incident. Fellow Ford drivers were livid with his on-track behavior at the end of the season-opening Daytona 500. McDowell and Joey Logano had a mini-altercation post-race after McDowell failed to help Logano pass eventual winner Denny Hamlin.  Logano felt the decision cost him a shot at the win.

Now, he’s got yet another Blue Oval driver feeling blue about the way McDowell conducts himself on the racetrack. But the Front Row Motorsports driver maintained he did nothing wrong.

“I understand why Daniel is upset, I’d be upset too.  I definitely messed up his lap,” said McDowell. “But then he tried to crash us.  When he came over, I wasn’t that excited about him trying to crash us on the racetrack.  I made a mistake, an honest mistake, but trying to crash somebody is a different story.  That’s all.  It’s just racing.”

Now, both drivers sit in traffic entering a weekend of unknowns. The sport’s 750-horsepower package is making its debut with a large rear spoiler.  Suarez understands how track position is key this weekend, adding to his frustration over the scuffle.


But he also has a lot of confidence in his car and team.

“I’m obviously mad because track position is the situation in racing today,” he said. “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 going to be bad. But I have a very strong race car.  We showed that in practice, and we’re going to be able to overcome that tomorrow.”

Both Suarez and McDowell suffered accordingly for Sunday’s race as both failed to advance out of round one.  McDowell will start 27th and Suarez in 28th, right next to each other in row 14.


About the author

Brandon is a 22-year-old from NY and has been a passionate follower of motorsports for 14 years now. He recently graduated from Molloy College on Long Island with a BA in Communications. Working within NASCAR has been a dream for Brandon for a while, and he hopes to be able to live out the dream in the very near future.

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Good job DANIEL. And I am not even a fan. MIKEY D. seems to loath who his manufacture is and who pays his bills. SEEMS, IMO! I dunno, he said, he said in this instance. What is this guy doing? I am asking. A no name, a non player, a back marker. YES a field filler. And we will here the BS justification. “He is out there too, racing for his sponsor”. Of course, duh! But one could ask…wtf. And not be wrong.

I find it odd this God fearing man (as we are always told about) started immediately the aggression towards Suarez, with his helmet on. And then his creepy happy ass interview after the “altercation” was just weird. Weird, weird, weird. IMO!


You are a piece of work

BJ Crozier

Have to love the morons don’t realize that Suarez had enough sponsorship to get him into the #19 car. Once he couldn’t perform after 2 WHOLE seasons he was dropped like a hot potato. McDowell’s only main sponsor has only been K-Love which is a small radio company, unlike Arris which is a massive wi-fi router provider. His only shot at a top tier ride was in the Xfinity series with Gibbs back in 2011 in which he proved his talent and received 5 top 10s and 2 top 5s in only 5 starts. Plus, how would you like to not know what ride you might get next season because you aren’t a pay to ride driver like Suarez? As for the incident at Daytona, you have to realize that Logano is a series CHAMPION while McDowell has never won at the top level, and he is racing for a smaller team that only has 2 wins to their name. And for the love of god, try not to talk like your texting your friends.


If I were McDowell and Suarez, I’d be more afraid of Jamie Allison, the guy who oversees Ford’s racing operations, than I would be of their respective team owners and NASCAR officials. Ford doesn’t put up with actions like this, like the Chevy and Toyota organizations do. Their motto has always been, “There is ONE Ford on the track”. This was very clear when Carl Edwards chose to work with getting David Ragan and David Gilliland a one-two finish (Edwards was third) at Talladega a few years back. Edwards said after that race that Ford is adamant about “One Ford” on the track. Ford doesn’t care who wins, so long as it’s a Ford. That’s why the Ford teams work together (for the most part), and the Chevy and Toyota drivers go by, “it’s every man for himself”. It was probably the same after the mess-up between Bowyer, Logano, and McDowell after Daytona. Bet Allison had words with all three teams there too.


I have heard and have seen over the years that FORDS want their teams to work together to “beat” the other manufacturers, once cleared, the race is among themselves. We saw this not happen at Daytona, where who knows Mikey the Brawler could have won. He chose to go with a Toys and he did not have a chance. No guarantee Logano could have won, but going with Logano was and is a proven winner on plate tracks unlike Mikey. Last week at Las Vegas, Brad and Joey were beating and banging. Brad clearly missed the slide job last go around, he just did not have the speed. That was “teammates” racing. Roger Penske always says go for it and they did. But some nuts thinking 3 races in on a 26 race schedule that till the stupid “playoffs” that Brad was better than Joey and let him win..to get into the playoffs? 3 races in really? And Joey leading the second race high of laps led with 86 and Brad leading 17 laps…come on. Do the math. Not directing this at you Ken, just my observations in general.

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