Daniel Suarez edged rivals Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch by mere inches in a thrilling three-wide photo-finish to win Sunday’s Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Suarez won by a track-record .003-of-a-second margin of victory at the controls of his No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevy to hold off defending series champ Blaney’s No. 12 Team Penske Ford. Busch finished third, .007 back in his No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevy. The finish was the third-closest in NASCAR Cup Series history.

It was a wild and memorable day of exciting racing at the 1.54-mile intermediate track that races like a superspeedway and at one point the fans went crazy when the cars at the front of the pack went four-wide at full speed.

There was also a track record set for lead changes in the race, with 49 lead changes among 14 different drivers. Todd Gilliland led the most laps with 58 and was followed by Austin Cindric who won stage two and led the second most laps at 32. Runner-up

Blaney led 28 laps of the race, including the four laps before the last one.

A slew of cautions also brought some chaos into the proceedings as nearly every one of the 37 cars in the race had sustained some kind of damage by the end of the race.

All totaled there were 11 cautions. It started early with a massive wreck on lap two that collected 16 cars. In another major wreck in the race, defending race winner and heavy pre-race favorite Joey Logano, who earned the outside pole but started in the back of the field following a rules violation with his driving gloves, exited the race in his No. 22 Team Penske machine after a crash on lap 159. Two late cautions ended the day for top challengers Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin.  

Suarez’ machine was one of the cars involved in the lap two crash, but he and his team rallied and made the right moves to get back to the front at the finish of the race. Suarez took over the lead for the first time on lap 248 and led eight laps and then battled back to take the lead on the final lap in dramatic fashion.

It was a photo finish that put the fans on their feet as the three cars came powering across the finish line as the checkered flag waved.  

Once Suarez was declared the winner by NASCAR timing and scoring officials following a review of all video angles, the driver from Mexico grabbed his traditional Taco Pinata and busted it open to celebrate just before his post-race interview.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Suarez said. “This team did an amazing job all race long. We wrecked on lap two. The guys fixed the car and we were able to make it good again, make it fast again. It took some tweaking, but unbelievable. It was so close. It was good racing with Blaney and Kyle Busch. Freeway Insurance, Trackhouse, Chevrolet, and all the people that believed in us from day one – it’s unbelievable to do this in this fashion.”

The win was the second in the Cup Series for Suarez, joining his breakthrough victory at Sonoma Raceway in 2022, and his third top-five finish and fifth top-10 at Atlanta. Suarez says he feels that more success is on the way.

“I feel like we have a strong team and we have been showing that lately,” Suarez said.

“We have done a lot of work on this race team to make it better and to keep moving forward. This is just the beginning of something amazing that we are going to go through together.”

Blaney said the last lap battle was a ton of fun.

“I’m sure it was close,” Blaney said. “I’ve won some by a few inches and lost some by a few inches. 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.

“It’s a lot of fun when we can do that with a three-wide finish and I hope the fans enjoyed that, “Blaney continued. “I appreciate the fans sticking around.” 

Busch said it was frustrating being so close to a win.

“Overall I‘m just really proud of everyone at RCR,” Busch said. “I thought we were one of the fastest cars and we had a shot today. I was looking at the 12 (on the last lap) and I thought I was ahead of him at the finish line, but I guess I need to get my eyes checked. It was a tight fit there at the end that’s for sure. It’s good to see Daniel get a win. We were working together as Chevy team partners in that run and that’s nice to have. I was hoping to get a win, but we will have to do it again and find another one.”

Cindric finished fourth and was followed by Bubba Wallace in fifth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in sixth, Ross Chastain in seventh, pole and stage-one winner Michael McDowell was eighth, Chris Buescher finished ninth and Ty Gibbs was 10th.

NASCAR’s return to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400 Available at Walmart weekend Sept. 7-8 will kick off the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Tickets are available now at www.AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com.