Toyota Racing – Daniel Suárez
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Dover International Speedway – May 4, 2018
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Daniel Suárez was made available to the media at Dover International Speedway
DANIEL SUÁREZ, No. 19 STANLEY Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Do you feel like you’re carrying momentum of late?
“You know, definitely in the first month and half of so of the season was a little rough. We had speed pretty much everywhere we were going. We just had a lot of inconsistency and for whatever reason we were not doing a good job putting ourselves in a good position by the end of the races – getting involved in different accidents or just not good positions and I feel like I was putting maybe a little bit too much pressure on myself to try to do well and the last month or so I’ve been just more relaxed and doing just this without expecting to be great and things are coming our way again. The speed like I said has been there pretty much the entire year. It’s just the results and the consistency, but it seems like now we’re heading in the right direction. We came from good, decent few weeks and hopefully we can keep that up in a place that is actually pretty good for me.”
What makes Dover International Speedway a good track for you?
“Well, I feel like Dover is one of those places that is very tough mentally and physically and the race track changes so much through a run. It’s one of those places that you need to know how the race track is going to change to be able to adapt to that and to be able to adjust your car to that. Right now in the morning, the race track is going to be one way. Once we get some sun out, the race track is going to change and then it’s going to change again and that happens pretty much the entire day. I feel like since the very beginning actually – since I was racing K&N – I feel pretty comfortable racing here. Very fast place – it’s a little intimidating the first time that you hit this place, but it’s a lot of fun. I love having places like this that definitely are a big challenge and they’re tough for yourself and definitely this is one of them.”
Is your success a big deal back home in Mexico?
“Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a while since I was there, but every time I have an opportunity to go down there, it’s a lot of fun for me to see how a lot of fans are actually – a lot of race fans are actually becoming NASCAR fans because racing in Mexico has been big for a long time in open wheel, in road course racing, but maybe in the last five to seven years NASCAR has been getting bigger and bigger and I feel like really now that driving in the Cup Series definitely helps a lot and a lot of people is following the sport, is following actually not just on TV and stuff like that, but as well they are coming here, so it feels very good to have a lot of support from my country and definitely to see the sport grow more and more on the fan side, but as well in the driver side there is a lot of young drivers that are trying out coming here to race late models, to race K&N Series through the diversity program or through their selves and it feels very good that now there is an opportunity to follow and I feel like when I was coming here there were not a lot of drivers trying. So I feel very proud that now there is more opportunities because of what we are doing in the Cup Series.”
How is your hand doing?
“It’s not 100 percent. Actually, if you’ve noticed, all the stuff that I have posted is pulling, not pushing, so I can use the front palm of my hand very well, but when it’s time to push my thumb is not quite there yet. But we’re definitely way more strong than – every week, I’m just stronger. Actually, I had a little thought about trying to race this weekend without my little cast, but the doctor told me to wait a couple more weeks, so I feel pretty good right now. It’s still stiff and it’s still a little sore when I move it too much, but it’s much better than a couple weeks ago for example, so I’m excited to finally have a regular glove and to not wear this thing.”
How much pain does it cause in the car?
“In the car actually, it’s not bad. I can tell you definitely Texas was extremely painful because that was the race that I had the problem. Bristol wasn’t fun either – it was very tough – but after that it’s been fine. If you haven’t worn this little brace, I’m fine because I actually can’t move at all my thumb, so it’s fine. It’s not painful at all. It’s just – it’s not 100 percent comfortable, because I can’t really grab the wheel how I want, but it’s fine. Like I said, I’m really looking forward to try without it in a couple weeks.”
Are you concerned about where you sit in points with regards to the playoff?
“Playoff position? Oh yeah, there is plenty of time. I feel like it’s still very early. We – obviously, we can set back because it’s still early, but we’re in a good position. We are running better. We are starting to run where we belong in the top-10. Hopefully, we’re going to start running in the top-five and if we can do that, we’re going to be just fine in points, but that’s already not the goal. We want to be able to win races and to be able to make the playoffs – not just to say that we made the playoffs. We want to be competitive and we want to be a race team that is going to be able to make in different stages of the playoffs, so that’s the goal – that’s not just to make the playoffs to say that we made. We’re working hard at it and I know that today we are moving in the right direction.”