Toyota Racing – Daniel Suárez
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Michigan International Speedway – June 16, 2017
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Daniel Suárez was made available to the media at Michigan International Speedway:
DANIEL SUÁREZ, No. 19 STANLEY Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How does it feel to be back in Michigan where you got your first NASCAR XFINITY Series win last year?
“Well, it’s going to be – I guess from last year on, I think it’s going to be always a special place. The first one – the first one is always a very, very special one, as you know, and the way that we got that victory here just a year ago it was very good. And another thing like you just mentioned, it gave us confidence and momentum to move forward and to keep working and to eventually be able to get the championship, so very happy to be here. I’m a little disappointed I’m not racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, but we’re going to have some fun in the Cup Series and I’m looking forward to hitting the race track. It’s a little cloudy out there and I feel like it is going to give us a lot, a lot of grip in the race track, so we’re going to see some crazy speeds getting to corner 1 and 3.”
Are you looking forward to the debut of “Cars 3”?
“I’m really looking forward to the movie for sure. I had an opportunity to watch the movie already a few weeks ago and I was so excited because well first off because I’m a little part of the movie and as well because the story of the movie has a lot to do with NASCAR and that’s great. I really feel like the movie goes hand in hand with NASCAR, so that’s something very, very cool as a driver to be a part of a movie that takes this sport with everything, so very excited for you guys to be able to watch the movie as well and to enjoy it.”
What was it like in Subway with you dad?
“You know, it’s always funny to have my dad here because obviously he does speak a little English – he’s able to understand and he’s able to communicate, he won’t get lost, you know – everywhere he goes. But six years ago when I was about to move to the U.S., I remember just like it was yesterday and I used to tell him this all the time to my dad that I wish I could speak at least like him because already my English was way, way worse than his and now I know that my English has been getting better and better. I always make fun of him because I tell him that his English is pretty bad, so he always reminds me, ‘Hey, remember when you used to say that you wish your English was like mine,’ so, you know, we were just having a fun time. He was trying to order a Subway and he was having a hard time ordering, putting the toppings together. I just made a little video there.”
How has it been working with Scott Graves and do you have an update on Dave Rogers?
“Scott (Graves, crew chief) has been doing great – just as I was expecting. He’s a great guy outside the race track. We get along very well and very smart person. The only thing that he needed was some time and to gain some experience at the Cup level as a crew chief, so I feel like he’s been great. I feel like we are getting better every weekend and we had a little hard time last weekend in Pocono, but, you know, that happens to every single race team out there, so I feel like overall we have learned a lot together and we’re moving in the right direction. About Dave Rogers, I just hope that he comes back soon to Joe Gibbs Racing to be a part of the family. He’s a great person as well, a great crew chief with a lot of experience and I hope he comes back because the last time heard from him he was doing much better and things are getting better, so I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe come back to do something at the race team one day.”
How will stage racing impact the Michigan race?
“Well, this is a great place – very, very fast race track that obviously gives you options about what to do with tires and with strategy and stuff and the stage races, they just give you one more thing to think about – how the race is going to play out. You know that you for sure you’re going to have caution on lap whatever and another caution in the lap wherever, so I feel like on any race track it’s been truly a success and here in Michigan it won’t be anything different. It’s going to be just as good as some of the other places.”
Do you think you have a chance to win this season?
“Well, seeing all these kind of victories always gives you like an extra boost to keep working and keep digging because already Ryan (Blaney) and I, we’ve been racing together for a long time since the K&N days. Austin (Dillon), obviously we’ve been racing for a while in the XFINTIY Series, and it’s very cool to see this new generation of drivers being successful in NASCAR. I was very, very happy for Ryan last week – that was an incredible race and incredible win. Overall, I feel like we have to keep working on ourselves. We have to keep working on the race team. I feel like – like I said, were getting better, but it’s not easy. It’s not easy to win races in the Cup Series – it’s not easy at all. You have to get there and then one day put everything together to get that win. I feel like now, we are getting more comfortable running in the top-10. We have to keep working to make that top-10 be a top-five and after that I feel like we can have a shot every weekend. Once you start running in the top-five, you can be a contender.”