By Michael Guzman (JOLIET, Ill.) — Daniel Suarez (@dnlsuarez) quietly defied the odds in just his second career Nationwide Series start, finishing 15th in his debut for RAB Racing on Saturday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway.
The start was his first on an intermediate track and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate and Joe Gibbs Racing development driver was audibly excited, but not shocked, that his first speedway experience went so well.
“I learned a lot, we learned a lot about the aero,” Suarez told Popular Speed on Saturday. “The car was pretty good and we were getting better. We were just okay on the short runs.The most important thing, and the goal today, was to just learn and get approval from NASCAR and I think we made it.”
Suarez qualified 18th and his 15th-place-finish marked the best finish by the No. 29 entry this season. Nevertheless, a late spell of cautions created a variety of strategies and dropped Suarez from as high as eighth towards the middle of the pack.
“It didn’t work out in the short run,” Suarez said. “In the long runs we were pretty decent. Maybe with new tires like some of the cars, maybe we could have been more aggressive on the restarts. But with old tires and some of the cars with new tires, it was kind of difficult.
“But as soon as we get 10 laps on the tires, we were equal to everyone. Maybe we missed (the setup), I don’t know, three, four spots over there, but it’s okay, we learned a lot. It’s a learning experience and we have to keep working.”
Suarez will now take to another intermediate track, running the ARCA Racing Series event at Kentucky next weekend for Venturini Motorsports as he continuing to prepare for his first full-time Nationwide Series season in 2015 with Joe Gibbs Racing.