Connect with us

NASCAR Cup Series

Daniel Suárez Tallies Competitive Top 10 Finish at Gateway

Daniel Suárez scored a sporty top 10 result at Gateway. (Photo: Bobby Krug | The Podium Finish)

Daniel Suárez scored a sporty top 10 result at Gateway. (Photo: Bobby Krug | The Podium Finish)

MADISON, Ill. – Prior to Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Daniel Suárez was in a bit of a rut.

Outside of a 15th place finish in the AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway, Suarez had three finishes of 23rd or worse in the past four races. Crashes at Dover and Darlington dropped the 2022 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma winner to 18th in the championship standings.

Suffice to say, the 1.25-mile egg shaped speedway offered a respite from the recent struggles. Despite the somewhat shaky performance in practice, the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion rocketed to a 13th starting position in Saturday’s qualifying session.

On Sunday afternoon, a lengthy lightning delay and a couple of red flag periods could not slow down Suárez and his No. 99 Freeway Insurance Chevrolet Camaro entry. Once the nearly two hour lightning delay concluded during the early portions of Stage 1, Suárez drove his way to a 10th place finish, the final stage points paying position.

As crew chief Travis Mack and the Trackhouse Racing brigade worked on Suárez’s car, track conditions continued to change. Similarly, drivers like Carson Hocevar, Tyler Reddick and Bubba Wallace fell by the wayside in accidents near Turns 1 and 2 due to brake rotor issues.

Meanwhile, Suárez kept himself out of trouble, racing a smart, patient Stage 2 with a strong fifth place finish.

Netting seven stage points, Suárez sought for a strong result in an eventful Stage 3. Impressively, Suárez maintained an average position of seventh and ran inside the top 15 for 98.4% of the race.

With varying pit strategies shuffling the field in the latter portion of Stage 3, Suárez was mired in the hornet’s nest with the comers and goers. Nevertheless, the Monterey, Mexico native held a pretty wheel for the final laps, driving home to a seventh place finish.

Suárez drove a smooth, patient race at Gateway. (Photo: Bobby Krug | The Podium Finish)

Overall, Suárez was pleased with his team’s execution from start to finish.

“Yeah, the entire weekend was very solid for us,” Suárez said. “We barely missed the second run in qualifying and really, we missed it because of me and not because of the car. The car was capable of advancing. In the race, the car was strong right away.

“I can’t thank enough everyone at Trackhouse Racing, the No. 99 team, everyone at Freeway Insurance, and all the people that help us have a strong performance on the track.”

Notably, the Drive for Diversity graduate breathed a sigh of relief with his first top 10 finish since the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. In fact, Suárez enjoyed racing at the flat, unique speedway.

“It was fun today and we really needed this as a team,” he said. “We needed a result that we deserved, and I felt like lately it’s been a little difficult on us when it comes to that. Today, I felt like we deserved a top-10 or top-five and we came home seventh so we will take it.”

On top of a great run and finish at Gateway, Suárez looks forward to defending his victory at the 1.99-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway in Northern California.

“Definitely, man. Every time we head to a road course, whether it’s Sonoma, or somewhere else, I am excited,” Suárez said. “I feel at home and I am excited to go back to a place where we had great memories last time and hopefully we can repeat it.”

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in NASCAR Cup Series