Toyota Racing – Daniel Suárez
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Pocono Raceway – June 9, 2017
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Daniel Suárez was made available to the media at Pocono Raceway:
DANIEL SUÁREZ, No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What’s it like to be part of fan events?
“It’s very cool because, I think to have some good interaction with all the fans a little bit outside of the race track, I think that is something good. Sometimes you can start to know the personality in a different way. I think it’s going to be fun. Donald (Edwards, PR rep) told me about this a few days ago and I am excited about it. I like this place a lot, I like the mountains and the fans are great. I had the opportunity to interact with a few fans here and they are actually waiting for us to come back. It’s a great place and I’m looking forward to coming back later in the year and enjoy this fan fest.”
How does it feel to be back in Pocono and what’s your confidence after your career-best finish at Dover last week?
“I see these race tracks so far as a challenge. It’s not one of those places that I have a lot of experience. I’ve been here just once last year and it was a short weekend. We had one practice and we did qualify and we had a short race. It was helpful, we learned some good stuff but it’s going to be a different view. The weather looks great. We have the XFINITY Series race and we have the Cup Series to learn as quick as possible today. We have a busy day with practice in both series. We can learn as quick as possible and move forward.”
How big is it to see another NASCAR Next and Drive for Diversity graduate like Bubba Wallace make his Cup debut?
“A few days ago I was looking on Twitter and a fan posted a picture – I don’t even know what year, maybe ’12 or ’13 – when we were part of the NASCAR Next program. It was Ryan Blaney there, Darrel Wallace (Jr.), myself and some other drivers and it’s pretty cool to see most of the kids from that group in four years are now in the Cup level. That really talks really well to what NASCAR is doing with the NASCAR Next program as well as the Diversity program. I’m very proud to be a small part of it. We are having a lot of fun racing together. We race each other really well out on the race track and we are all looking forward to keep doing that for a long time to come. We’re old guys now (laughter).”
How important is qualifying to your team in finishing up front?
“Just to put the weekend together is very important. As you know, track position is important in racing and qualifying because of that is very important. I feel like last week we made some gains. I honestly feel like every weekend we have been getting better and better. We are still a new team, a growing team and I really feel like every weekend we are getting stronger and stronger and racing in the top-10. We are more competitive and slowly it is getting more normal for us to be racing in the top-10, it’s not a surprise anymore. Which is very good for me and my team. We have to keep working and hopefully keep moving in the same direction.”
How important is getting a good starting spot in qualifying?
“Everything is important. I love qualifying in the front, I like to qualify well and I like to race well. I love to qualify up front. As a new team, we are going to be qualifying today, so if we don’t have a very fast race car off the truck, I’m not going to qualify well. Sometimes it takes more time to get to that point and for qualifying we were not quite ready. Right now we are in a very good starting point and we are moving forward in that direction from that point. Overall I’m very happy with my team and the program we have. In the last few days we had a couple productive tests in Chicago, tire test and I feel like every week we are getting more and more confidence and moving in the right direction. We need to keep working and never give up because these races are long and you never know what is going to happen.”
How did you get to this point, living your NASCAR dream?
“It’s just a lot of fun. I moved to the United States six years ago and this was the goal, to get to this point. I didn’t have anything to get to this point. I didn’t have anything to get to this point, I didn’t have the sponsors or the connections or anything. Honestly I don’t even know how it worked out, but definitely after a couple years things just started to move in the right direction and I’m just very proud to be a small part of the NASCAR family. I’m very happy to be here. I’m very happy to be a Hispanic driver in the field and I’m really looking forward to doing this for a long time to come and hopefully we can perform better and better.”