Suddenly Daniel Suarez is a contender

BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 11: Daniel Suarez, driver of the #41 ARRIS Ford, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 11, 2019 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Driving a car that had to be repaired after a brush with the outside wall in practice, Daniel Suarez avoided trouble and the sort of fuel shortage that plagued other competitors to run fifth in Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

The top five moved the driver of the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to 17th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings, only four points behind teammate Clint Bowyer and fellow Ford driver Ryan Newman, who are currently tied for the final Playoff position.

“It was a decent day for us,” Suarez said. “We had ups and downs. There was something wrong, a bad set of tires or something in that second stage. We couldn’t control it.

“The team was able to overcome that with good adjustments and they put me back in the game with track position, and we were able to get a good result from there.”

As Suarez was interviewed on pit road, he watched teammate and race winner Kevin Harvick light up his tires in a celebratory burnout.

“Someday soon, you’re going to see us doing that,” Suarez promised.

Greg Engle