Daniel Suárez wants to beat the others, "but quietly"

credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs 

Daniel Suárez feels like he belongs in the Playoffs and has the numbers to back it up. He may not be at the top of the Playoff charts, but he's not at the bottom either.

At media day on Thursday, he stated, “It feels nice, but honestly it feels normal. I believe that I belong here. When you have a team like the one I have, I feel like it’s more like a must to be in this position.” 

The Mexican native is in his second season with Trackhouse Racing, the two-car team owned by Justin Marks and rapper-singer Pitbull, also in its second season. In 2022, Suárez broke through for his first win, the first for a Mexican-born Cup driver, locking him into the Playoffs for the first time in his Cup career. In addition to that victory at Sonoma, he's also scored six top fives, 10 top-10 finishes, and has led a career-high 238 laps so far this season. 

“I think we’re in a great position. I have an amazing team behind me,” Suárez stated. “Trackhouse Racing has done a tremendous job this year. We have continued to evolve. We cannot sleep in the next 10 weeks. It’s the most important part of the season, of course. We have to continue to do the same thing that we’ve been doing and continue to get better.”  

When pressed further, the 2016 Xfinity Series Champion shared, “I think the fun part is about to begin. The winning was a lot of fun. I proved to myself that I can do it. I knew I could do it, but now everybody knows as well...In the last two months, we’ve been extremely consistent. Richmond was the only race that we were bad. Everywhere else, we’ve had top fives and top 10s.”  

While that’s not exactly true, the No. 99 team often ran better than their results showed. With 10 finishes outside the top 20, including four DNFs, as well as six between P. 10 and P. 20, they weren't perfect, by any means, but the momentum he and Trackhouse teammate, Ross Chastain, have generated could stand them in good stead, at least during the first elimination round. 

Suárez seems happy to be underestimated, though. When told that William Byron said Suárez could be dangerous because he could surprise a lot of people, Suárez said, “I get goosebumps by you saying that because I’ve been working really hard to do that. I’m the kind of guy where I like to do it that way. If you think about it – the year I won the (Xfinity) championship – not a lot of people would bet on me. I did.. and I won it. I like it that way. I like to be under the radar and not to make a lot of noise. 

"Go out there and beat them, but quietly.”  

For many, the success of Team Trackhouse has been surprising, but Suárez felt it last season. “A lot of people told me I was crazy,” he said. “A year and a half later, two years later; now they know what I saw back then. I knew the mission Justin (Marks, co-owner of Team Trackhouse) and Ty Norris had.  

“I’m in a very, very happy place right now. We have to continue to grow, continue to be better, but I feel like we’re heading in the right direction.”  

He went on to share that, heading into the 2021 season, he had the chance to sign with a different team.

“I had an opportunity to go with a team that was winning races. I didn’t do that because it was a team that a very important person to me, with a lot of experience, told me that they were not in a very good situation. That’s why I chose Trackhouse,” Suárez explained. 

“My father told me I was crazy. A few friends from Mexico told me ‘Daniel, I’m not sure you’re making the right call.’ Eight months later, they told me, ‘Man, I’m glad you made that call.' Sometimes you just have to trust your gut a little bit.   

“Justin looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Man, you have to trust me on this, we’re going to build something great and I want to be able to give you the opportunity to build a team around you.' That’s something nobody else has allowed me to do before in the Cup Series. It makes a huge difference when you have a team for you...not a team that was already there. I’m just very happy to be in this position. I’m very happy that I crossed paths with Trackhouse and I feel like we have a great future ahead of us.”

Daniel Suárez wants to beat the others, "but quietly" Daniel Suárez wants to beat the others, "but quietly" Reviewed by Janine Cloud on Saturday, September 03, 2022 Rating: 5