Daniel Suárez’s plane home from California to North Carolina landed at 5:15 a.m. local time Monday, and that only marked the beginning of his travel stress. Suárez didn’t arrive home until after 6 a.m., only to quickly turn around and drive his girlfriend, Julia Piquet, to the airport at 8:30 a.m. His flight to Mexico, where he is spending the week off from NASCAR, was not until later. .
Rather than spending the time relaxing – after just an hour of sleep during the cross-country trip – Suárez added another stop to his already multi-stage journey.
“I still had a few hours left,” Suárez said on a Zoom conference call on Tuesday. “I really wanted to go to the shop to thank my team of people who don’t travel with us every week. So, I went to the store and said thank you and hello to all the guys that work at Trackhouse.
SONOMA: How Suárez’s career led to this historic victory
Suárez had already celebrated his victory Sunday at Sonoma Raceway with the No. 99 road team, but he knew many other Trackhouse Racing members had helped build this winning Chevrolet. And he wasn’t about to leave the country – literally – without giving them the recognition he felt they deserved, as Sunday’s victory was the first in Suárez’s six-year career at the top level. of NASCAR.
And more importantly from an opportunity perspective, Suárez was Trackhouse Racing’s first driver. The team’s formation was officially announced in 2020 by Justin Marks and Armando Perez (better known as Pitbull), who both personally picked Suárez to race their #99 Chevy in 2021. Suárez had been in dire straits before the bid, driving for his third team in as many seasons, and the circumstances could not have been different from today. His contract status, which he admits has been discussed but not finalized, does not appear to be an issue.
“It’s my house. I’m not going anywhere,” Suárez said. “So I’m not too worried about it, but contract today, tomorrow, next month, in a few months, I have feel like we’re in a really, really good place, probably the best place I’ve ever been on a team with, so I’m 100% sure things will work out.
RELATED: Suárez is 40th to win in all three domestic series
Suárez has never spent more than two seasons with a single Cup Series team. He joined full-time in 2017 with Joe Gibbs Racing, where he spent two years after winning the 2016 Xfinity Series title with the organization. He then spent a year each with Stewart-Haas Racing and Gaunt Brothers Racing. He’s in the middle of his second race with Trackhouse Racing, with high hopes for more to come.
Obviously, the win was a first, but Suárez is also on course to break his career season high in the top five. He has three this year, with 20 races to go. His best total was four in 2019.
“It takes a lot to win in the Cup Series,” Suárez said. “I felt that in the past maybe I didn’t have enough experience, not just on the race track but also off the race track, to put the right people in place. I want say, things just didn’t click. And it happens, right? I will say that with Trackhouse, I felt very good from the start. I felt support and confidence, honestly, like I never had never felt before in the Cup Series. It was pretty amazing.
Now, in its second season, Trackhouse Racing has added a second driver to its roster in Ross Chastain. He rides the No. 1 entry and has won two races in 2022. Chastain broke through before Suárez – winning at the Circuit of The Americas (his first career win, too) and Talladega Superspeedway – but that didn’t cause concern or stress. Suarez. Instead, the two internal teams worked together.
In fact, Chastain finished seventh in Sonoma – then he met Suárez at Victory Lane.
“That was Justin’s vision from the very beginning: to make us work together,” Suárez said. “I mean, a lot of people there, they say, ‘Yeah, we work together’, but behind the doors you know the reality is different. And in Trackhouse, we actually do. We actually do it, and the beauty is that it shows on the track. It’s quite special.
THROWBACK: “A vision realized”, why Marks formed Trackhouse Racing