Toyota Racing – Daniel Suárez
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Texas Motor Speedway – April 7, 2017
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Daniel Suárez was made available to the media at Texas Motor Speedway:
DANIEL SUÁREZ, No. 19 STANLEY Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How was your last weekend at Martinsville Speedway?
“Well, talking a little bit about last week, just happy to get that week over because it was a lot going on in that week and weekend and it was a lot of work and a lot of rush and a lot going on and I’m just glad that we got that behind, and now we are working on what we have to do here in Texas. Texas normally has been a pretty good place for me. Now with the new Texas, I am happy to get the same result. Looking forward to seeing the racetrack shortly.”
Has this felt like a normal week at all after kind of the crazy week before?
“Yeah, it’s feeling more normal – more normal for sure. Last week there was just a lot going on. I wasn’t very excited to get to the racetrack to talk to you guys to be honest. There was just a lot going on and I just wanted to get to the racetrack and drive the car and do what I love to do. But it was just a lot of stuff going on, a lot of adjustments, a lot of changes, and it was just going to be something different. When you change a key part of the team, it definitely changes something. Now for Texas, I feel like we have more time to adapt and to talk about things and to talk about the racetrack and to talk about the car, and just overall more confident of getting into Texas.”
Do you feel like running the XFINITY race will pay a benefit for you during the Cup race?
“Yeah, big time, actually. One of the biggest things that I was thinking during the week is that I was going to have those 300 miles, extra miles, to get used to the racetrack, to get used to the tire, and to learn a little bit. I think it’s going to be very important to race the XFINITY race this weekend just to try to get one step ahead of everyone else.”
Do you feel you had an opportunity to kind of establish something with crew chief Scott Graves going forward?
“Well, I just feel like it’s a process. Scott (Graves, crew chief), he has a lot of talent. He’s a winner. He likes to win races, win championships. He has done it the last couple years in the XFINITY stuff with two different teams, with two different drivers and, you know, that’s actually very good about himself. But what I have learned in the last couple months that in the Cup stuff it’s just a whole different level and it’s tougher. It takes more time. It takes more work and it takes a lot more from you and Scott, you know, luckily, he has had this kind of experience in the past. This is nothing new for him, but in the last four years, five years, he hasn’t done anything in the Cup stuff, so he’s kind of like a little bit – he’s just not very used to everything that is going on in the rules and all these kind of things and to get used to everything, it takes time, and I have a lot of confidence that he’s going to do well, and we just have to work as a team and support one to the other and to try to be competitive. We did it in the past, and I know we can do it again.”
So is this kind of a learning experience for Scott Graves too?
“Yeah, yeah, for sure, and not just for him (Scott Graves, crew chief), as well for me. I’m still a rookie. I’m still learning a lot every weekend. But now, you know, having Scott calling the shots, I feel like he’s going to learn a lot, as well. Luckily we have very good teammates that we can lean on, and we can learn from these guys.”
Has anything been easier than you thought it would be during your rookie Cup season?
“Well, it is hard because when you are a little bit off, you are running 25 or 30th, and in XFINITY was a little bit different. But overall we had already a couple top 10s and I don’t feel like we have raced in the whole race very well, but we have closed the race good with a car that I felt like it was capable to do that, but not in the middle of the race.
So I had a lot of conversations with Dave (Rogers) with having the right car in the middle of the race to try to be there at the end, and that’s the only thing because at the end of the race, we had the car to do it and we were able to overcome. So I know that we can do it, we just have to work on our communication to get the car closer where I like, where I can be fast, and I feel like that’s going to be the best thing for me, and hopefully I can get to this point, as well, fast, with Scott (Graves, crew chief).”
So has anything been easier than you thought it might be or has it all been hard or difficult?
“No, everything is just more, you know? More competition, more aggressive, more media, more questions, more answers. Everything is more, so it’s just more going on.”