AVONDALE, Ariz. – As he continues to transition into his first full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season with Joe Gibbs Racing, Daniel Suarez admits the beginning has proven to be difficult.
However, he says that his top-10 finish in Phoenix is just what his No. 19 team needed to get into the rhythm of his rookie year.
“In the last few races, we haven’t struggled, we just didn’t have the speed, and the communication wasn’t great,” Suarez admitted. “We’ve been working very hard trying to keep up communication, and we’ve for sure been getting better.”
In the first three races of the season, the Mexican-born driver struggled to finish in the top 15 with a best finish of 20th in Las Vegas. As he made his return to what he considers to be his hometrack, Suarez says he felt confident in his No. 19 Arris Toyota.
“I felt very good about the car, I felt like we were going to have a shot to have some fun in the race, and I wasn’t wrong,” he added.
Starting 27th, Suarez ran within the mid-20s throughout most of the Camping World 500 before maneuvering his way through the pack to finish in seventh on Sunday.
“Position was really important. Once I started getting that track position I think we were in better shape,” Suarez said. “We got some track position there in the end, and we were able to overcome to get a good result.”
Suarez hopes to carry the momentum into Auto Club Speedway this weekend, where he finished in the top five in the XFINITY Series TreatMyClot.com 300 last year.
“We just need to keep focused, keep working and keep trying,” he said about the upcoming races. “What we’re doing with hard work is slowly paying back.”
Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
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