He is in his third year of driving for Trackhouse and appears to have finally found stability. He earned his first (and so far only) Cup win last year at Sonoma Raceway.
Suarez has three top-5 finishes this year, including a third-place finish on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. But he’s currently outside the playoff cutoff — even if only by 28 points. he needs a win this weekend Watkins Glen Or to ensure a spot in the playoffs next week at Daytona, although he could potentially rally and score points if things don’t go his way.
Suarez, the only Mexican-born Cup race winner and the only Mexican to win a championship in one of NASCAR’s three national series, can rely on his past experiences to handle the pressure.
The 31-year-old driver from Monterey spoke to Fox Sports about this season before the Indianapolis race last week, the job at hand, his racing journey, entertaining pitbulls as team co-owner and the movies that have inspired him got help. He learned English when he first came to the United States to race.
The season is not what I was expecting. I was expecting more. I was expecting more consistency. I was expecting a little more momentum, especially in the middle part of the year. win more, to be honest. But it is too early to despair. We still have a lot of races to go and a lot of things to do. And I believe we can change things. Right now, we are in a very unique position. And I think we’re in a pretty good position to have a season to be proud of.
How are you balancing all these points against the win at Indy last week?
At the end of the day, I just want to run my race. I can’t be conservative, I can’t be over-aggressive. I just have to finish my race, just like I would have done two months ago or maybe next month. I just have to focus on what I can control and move forward. I think these next races that we have, I think we will have bigger opportunities. And we have to take advantage of that. I think we’re in a very good position to be able to make it happen.
Watkins Glen and Daytona are coming ISecond of the regular season. How do you feel about those tracks?
Daytona, anything can happen. Daytona, it could go either way. In the past, it has been very good for us and in the past, it has also been difficult for us. It can go either way. But certainly at Watkins Glen, I see opportunities racing. We can go there and definitely finish in the top-5, hopefully fight for the win. And if we don’t win, we could have a very solid points day. I see this as a very positive run right before the start of the playoffs.
Watkins Glen, you finished top-5 in your first Cup race there. So it seems like this is a place that’s been good for you?
Definitely, Watkins Glen has been a good place for me. We’ve got some top-five players in there – never a win, but it would be nice to get more top-five wins. But I won’t be disappointed with the other top-5s.
The argument could be made that you shouldn’t even be here after being let go by Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing and then racing for Gaunt Brothers. Being in this position, I don’t know whether you see it as unrealistic or the way it should have been. How do you look back on your journey?
It’s definitely been a roller-coaster, I’ll say it, but it’s part of life. This is not the first time that I am in a difficult situation in my career. I’ve been in that position several times during my career in Mexico and also here during the transition from Mexico to the United States. I’m not new to being up against a wall. And, in fact, I believe I do my best when people challenge me. Thanks to all these different scenarios, these different situations, I’ve learned a lot and I’m becoming a better person, a better race-car driver as well.
So at the moment, I’m obviously happy with where I am, but I’m not satisfied. I think the 99 team is a strong team, but I want this team to be even stronger. I wish this team didn’t even think about it Are we in the playoffs? I want this team to be one of those teams that people get so bored of winning, so it’s no surprise to see this team win over and over again. that’s my goal. And I know that with a lot of work, we’ll be able to get it done.
What has been the most moving thing about having Pitbull as your co-owner and being able to interact with him?
Pitbull is definitely a special person. Believe it or not, we have a few things in common besides being Latino. But it is also a fact that we have come from nothing. I come from a very simple family. And for me to be a professional race-car driver—the percentage of me making it, it was very, very low, as it was for Pitbull. We’ve had a lot of conversations on this and for me, having Pitbull as our boss, I would say, we’re the only dual Latinos like this in the whole sport.
So this is very special. It’s so special to know that this guy is in my mindset, and that he’s with me and that he’s been a great support to everyone at Trackhouse, and especially to me. The fact that we can communicate in a different language is what makes things a little more special, a little more unique, a little more personal. I feel so lucky to have him in my car.
When you guys communicate, do you communicate in Spanish or English?
It is in Spanish. They are things that are natural. Obviously, Spanish is my first language. And I would say that for Pitbull Spanish is his first language. And then the second language he sings in is Spanglish. He is great. I feel very blessed to have come to this position. I believe we have a wonderful future ahead of us.
You often tell us the story of learning English by watching TV, cartoons and movies. Are there any of them that you still watch? Like, if someone came along now that really helped you learn the language, would you still watch just because you enjoy watching it?
“gone in 60 Seconds.” I love that movie. Whatever you want to know about that film, I can tell you because I have seen it about 30 times. I love “Cars,” obviously, that movie is about cars, as well as the Sylvester Stallone movie — “Driven” — the IndyCar movie. In fact I watched those two movies 30 times with subtitles in Spanish, English, or whatever language you prefer. It was great fun. I was watching movies again and again.
“Driven” was heavily criticized for not being a great film.
I did not know this [then], I was so proud of my film with Sylvester Stallone and he was making fun of it. I was like, “I don’t know about you guys because I enjoy it.” I really believe that coin thing is real.
what to watch
Like all year-end races, the playoff bubble makes things pretty interesting.
Chase ElliottFinished second at Indianapolis, followed by finishes of first, first, second and fourth over the past four years at the track. He has led 170 laps in those four events. Some would argue that he should have won when he finished fourth last year, but Elliott was forced off the track by a teammate Kyle Larson on final restart.
As far as the race goes, watch Turn 1 because the drivers fan out during that turn, and it can get quite physical.
thinking too much
While it’s certainly possible that there will be two new winners in the next two races, this season’s MO of a mix of repeat winners and new winners has me thinking that there will be at most one new winner at The Glen and Daytona. .
So who will fill that last spot? i guess it depends on daniel suarez bubba wallace – Suarez has a chance to win at the Glen and Wallace has a chance to win at Daytona. It’s likely that Wallace will have more Chevrolets than Toyotas to work at Daytona with Suarez scoring points if needed.
Now, I’ll give the nod to Wallace. His organization has grown steadily throughout the years.
he said this
“I was definitely trying as hard as possible. I just need to do a better job. … You have to be fast to win. That was good. Just needed to be a little better.” -Chase Elliott after finishing runner-up at Indianapolis
Bob Pockrace covers NASCAR for Fox Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports with tenures at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal, including the last 30 Daytona 500s. Follow him on Twitter @bobpocrossand sign up for Fox Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pokras,
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