Toyota Racing – Daniel Suárez
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Michigan International Speedway – August 11, 2017
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Daniel Suárez was made available to the media at Michigan International Speedway:
DANIEL SUÁREZ, No. 19 ARRIS Surfboard / McAfee Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
New paint scheme for you this weekend, how do you feel about it?
“Yeah, really excited. Obviously ARRIS has been with us already for a couple years – a few years now actually, this is the third one. I’m really super excited to bring the new technology to the race track – to bring the new technology to the race track and to have different paint schemes. Super excited to be here at Michigan again. Already this is one of those places that definitely brings good memories and hopefully now that we have good momentum going on, hopefully we can keep that up.”
Is Carl Edwards still coaching you at some race tracks?
“He’s always open to helping. He was obviously more helpful in the beginning of the year because it was in the point where I really needed a lot of help and I was racing with a team that he knew very very well. But it’s just a crazy schedule and sometimes we don’t have a lot of time to spend together and then we have some changes in crew chiefs and stuff and obviously that changed a little bit the way that he used to know the team. To answer the question, he was very helpful in the beginning and right now we talk sometimes in a while, but not as specific about the team and racing like before.”
Last week you said you wished you would have gone for the win. With playoffs close, do you just go for the win from here on out?
“We have to. Right now we are at the point where we have to do a little more gambling. Based on what we find out last weekend, maybe we had enough fuel to go maybe a lap before, a lap in a half. If we had one more lap into the race, we were not going to make it. I think that was the right call for my team to tell me to slow down as much as I could right there at the last five laps or so, but that’s part of racing. Right now we have four more opportunities to try to do something. We know that by points it’s going to be almost impossible. We are not in bad shape, but with so many drivers with victories, that puts us pretty much in a box where we have to win. It doesn’t matter what we do. I don’t feel, like I said, I don’t feel like we are horrible in points, but the base that so many drivers have won races, that just puts us in a difficult position. Right now we are in the point where we have to gamble a little bit more and hopefully we can catch a break.”
Over the last month you and the team have had a lot of momentum. Was there an ‘aha’ moment for you and what are your feelings heading into next week’s Bristol night race?
“I think it’s been a progressive improvement in my team and myself as well. It’s – you know everyone on my team and myself actually, we’re expecting to be better in the second half of the season. Always in the first of the season, Scott Graves, my crew chief, and myself, we were kind of learning about everything – about the system, about the cars, about the race tracks, about everything, about the aero package, about everything. Already we know each other really from XFINITY, but Cup is way different so we’re expecting to be much better in our second time in every race track. Watkins Glen was the first time, but it was the second road course so we had already some notebook of what to do and what to not do. Michigan is already our second time so we have experience in the past of what we did right and what we did wrong. I think that’s something very helpful. Going to Bristol is actually one of my favorite race tracks as well. I love racing there. I’ve been pretty successful in that place. Very competitive pretty much all the time and I’m looking forward to doing the same thing. I love racing under the lights. It doesn’t matter where it is – any race track. I’m looking forward to these two races – to all four races that we have next before the playoffs. But I feel like Bristol and Michigan are places that I feel very very comfortable with and hopefully like I said, we can catch a little break.”
Do you think you after getting experience in your first Michigan race that you and the team have a shot to win the race Sunday?
“I think as a team we’ve been getting better and better. I feel like our race cars are better. I feel like as a team the 19 group is much better. We have, like I said, we have a notebook and we know what to do now and I feel like now we should be able to run in the top 10, hopefully in the top 5. And like I said in the past, when you run in the top 5 consistent, you can win any time. It’s just the way that the race is going to work out, but if you are right there, it can happen anytime. We just have to put ourselves in that position. Hopefully we can find good speed right out of the box in the first practice and move from there.”