Daniel Suárez ‘is ready for battle’

LEBANON, TENNESSEE - JUNE 24: Daniel Suarez, driver of the #99 Tootsies Orchid Lounge Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 24, 2023 in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Daniel Suárez heads into Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen, 28 points behind Bubba Wallace – in the first position outside the Playoff-eligible top 16 drivers. The only NASCAR Cup Series victory of his career came on a road course (Sonoma, Calif.) last year and the driver of the No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet arrives in upstate New York for Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen feeling very optimistic.

A victory this week or in next week’s regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway would be an automatic Playoff entry. Yet, Suárez’ approach is that he doesn’t want the team focusing on making the Playoffs, the 31-year old Mexican driver wants them to be focused on winning the championship – the two goals going hand-in-hand, obviously. And he’s been good at The Glen with three top-five finishes in five starts and an average finish of 12.0.

It appeared as if Suárez was headed for that Playoff ticket at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course last weekend. He won pole position, led six of the 82 laps – and was up front all race – but a miscue on a pit stop cost him and was never able to seriously challenge winner Michael McDowell afterward.

Following the event Suárez said he had the “longest meeting ever” with his pit crew.

“That 23-second stop should have been 15-second and if it was, I would have won the race,’’ Suárez said, adding, “We failed at Indianapolis, but success comes from failure.

“I can tell you my pit crew is hungry, I’m hungry and my engineers are hungry. I can tell you we are in a good place to fight.’’

“The 99-team is ready for battle,’’ he added with a smile.