TOYOTA – Daniel Suárez
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Atlanta Motor Speedway – March 3, 2017
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Daniel Suárez was made available to the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway:
Daniel Suárez, No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
I know the Daytona 500 didn’t quite turn out how you liked, but you’re here at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a big track for ARRIS. Talk about your thoughts going into this weekend.
“Well, first of all, I’m happy to be here. It’s one of those places that you really enjoy a lot to be here, obviously for ARRIS, and for my team. I feel like this is going to be, like, our first race of the season where we are going to know exactly where we’re at and how hard we have to work and how hard we have work to get better. I’m super excited about this weekend. Really, like I said, it’s the backyard from ARRIS. I’m super excited to have a lot of people from ARRIS here this weekend, as well.”
How has the transition been now that you’re a week old Cup driver?
“I think it’s definitely more busy than the XFINITY Series, more going on. You are more time in the racetrack than when you are home, but it’s good. I really enjoy a lot to spend time in the racetrack with my team, working hard to become a better person, a better driver. So far I’m really enjoying this a lot.”
How do you use your teammates now to help you get up to speed? What has been the process?
“Well, definitely, you know, it’s very good to have good teammates, and teammates that you know you can lean with them. You can ask a question, and you know that they are going to answer the question in the right way. It’s just very good, the position I am right now working with Kyle (Busch), with Denny (Hamlin), with Matt (Kenseth). Actually, even with Carl (Edwards). If he’s not here, he’s going to be here soon. Super excited to have friends like that to help me out. I just feel like it’s going to be a hell of a year for us. Definitely we have a lot going on we have to learn. But I really feel like we’re in the right spot to try to learn as quick as possible.”
Talk about Carl Edwards.
“Well, all you know Carl (Edwards) very well. He’s a great guy, very good friend. He just asked me, Hey, Daniel, do you want me to go over there? Do you think it would be helpful? I said, Man, to have a driver like you who has a bunch of wins here in Atlanta, it’s a big deal. Yeah, he’s going to be here to help me out, help the team out. It’s a team he knows very well. It’s going to be good to have him just to watch and to tell us what’s going on from his view.”
What films were you watching as ‘homework’ when you were transitioning to driving in America?
“It’s a lot of thing you have to put together to be able to do your what I call homework. It’s just a lot of information you can get from your team. I just feel like right now, as a driver, we’re in a very good position where we got a lot of information, which maybe 20 years ago drivers didn’t have. We have a lot of videos, a lot of film, a lot of data, a lot of onboard cameras like you’re watching over there. We got a lot of stuff that we can watch, that we can learn from it, we can study before coming into a race. Is very good for me to be able to get this information from my team and be able to try to take advantage of it.”
Regarding Carl Edwards, when did you find out he was going to be coming and helping you? Did you ask for that, push for that? Was that part of the deal, you wanted him to be here to help you out if he could be available?
“Well, this is not a deal that we got. It’s just a good friendship. I got the opportunity actually to do something with him during the week with another sponsor. We were talking. I actually asked him, Are you going to Atlanta? He said, Well, I wasn’t thinking about it. Maybe if I can help you out, maybe I can go. So we were just talking. I’m not sure if he staying for the race or not, but he’s coming today, just to help out a little bit, you know. He has maybe some free time today. He’s going to spend it at the racetrack.”
If Carl Edwards offered to get in the car, would there be any opportunity there? Have you discussed if you needed him to make a lap to compare and baseline it? Would you guys consider that?
“Well, I’m not sure if that’s possible, you know. I don’t think he (Carl Edwards) has a license any more. I don’t know. I don’t even know how that works (smiling). Honestly, we didn’t think about it and we didn’t talk about it so… I don’t think so. You never know. Definitely he’s going to be here to help. I’m sure it’s going to be helpful to have someone like him with a lot of experience just watching what’s going on in practice and try to give a little advice.”
How are you going to protect your tires for the early stages of Sunday’s race?
“I was talking with some people a little bit ago. They told me, You don’t know what you don’t know. So this is new for me. I don’t really know the old tire. This is the only tire I know, the only tire I will know. You don’t really know what you don’t know. This is what I got. This is what I going to start with.”
I saw that you tried the cupping method on your arm after your workout. Talk about that a little bit, how that went.
“Well, I’m still a little sore from that. I have done it a few times already. To be 100 percent honest with you, I’m not sure whether it helps or not. They say it does. I’m trying to recover from some stuff in my right side arm. We’ve been doing some work with that. It’s supposed to help me to recover faster. But who knows. So far I’m just a little sore still (smiling).”
What do you think is the biggest thing you learned about yourself running that race last weekend?
“Well, last weekend definitely was a big race. I felt like I learned a lot in the Clash and in the Duels. It was a big deal for me to race those races. In the Daytona 500, I just feel like we were trying to take care of ourselves the right way. When it was time to race, we got in a wreck. So unfortunately I don’t feel like I learned a lot because I was trying to take care of myself, trying to stay out of trouble. When it was time to race, I got wreck. But I really feel like I learn a lot from the Duels and from the Clash, moving around, a little bit in the Daytona 500 as well. I’m one of those drivers, you know, I got this question a lot, if I’m glad that it’s over, speedway racing. I’m excited about Atlanta right now. I’m super excited to come back to Daytona because I know I can do much more better than what I did. I’m going to be super excited to get back to the superspeedway races.”
Daniel, you were the highest finishing rookie last week. How mindful of it are you?
“I didn’t know that until right now. I guess that’s good. But we have a long season ahead. As a driver, I don’t think about it right now. I just have so much going on right now outside of that, that I feel like I have to improve, I have to get better. If I do my job outside of that, I feel like, you know, I’m going to be able to be strong in the rookie standings, as well.”