Toyota Racing – Daniel Suárez
NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
FORT WORTH (October 22, 2020) – Gaunt Brothers Racing driver Daniel Suárez was made available to media via videoconference in advance of the race at the Texas Motor Speedway:
DANIEL SUÁREZ, No. 96 The NASCAR Foundation Toyota Camry, Gaunt Brothers Racing
Can you talk about your paint scheme for this weekend?
“Every time you get to support the foundation, it has a special value because I believe that foundations are there to help others and, in this case, helping kids. I’m very happy to be helping kids have special experiences and special help because children are the future of our sport, they are the future of our country and the world. I’m very, very happy to have the support, and I’m really looking forward to have a good-looking car at one of my favorite races in Texas.”
This year has been so strange. How do you look at the whole year?
“I’m trying to be positive every day, every weekend. I can’t lie to you. It’s difficult to go to the racetrack knowing that your car will not be as good as some of the others. That’s extremely difficult, but this year has been extremely difficult for a lot of people and I’m very fortunate, very lucky, I have the ability to keep doing what I love to do. We have to be grateful. We have to feel fortunate that we have all of the means to go to a racetrack and race put on a show for a lot of people, fans, sponsors, and NASCAR. It’s been a roller coaster for everyone. This has probably been one of the most difficult years of my life, as well. But at the same time, they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I truly believe that. I’m much better mentally and physically than I was in the middle of the year. I feel like I can’t really wait till the start of 2021. A lot of people are going to be a part of the new project that I’m going to do, Trackhouse Racing. In a way, it’s a new team, but it’s not. We are going to see that, next year and I’m really looking forward to being able to compete and to be able to show what I can do on the racetrack again.”
You have a very low crash rate this season. Have you made a conscious effort to drive more conservatively because of the inventory of cars at Gaunt Brothers Racing?
“It’s a combination, and I’m saying it’s a combination of things because in the first half of the season they told me, if you wreck a racecar, we are going to get behind on everything that we are trying to do. So, yeah, in the first half of the season, I was probably driving at about 95%, because I knew if I hit a wall, I was going to be two or three steps behind for the whole year, trying to rebuild the car. Who knows if we were going to be able to rebuild because the cars, we have today are quite a bit older than the rest of the competition. It’s extremely difficult when you are competing like this on the daily. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but this is the situation I ended up with. There’s nothing we can do about it. That probably sounds a little mean, but when you are running slower, you are racing less people. You have less chances to wreck. When I’m running in the front, when I’m running 10th or fifth, that’s kind of what I’m used to, you are running around a lot of people. You have to be super aggressive and you have to make aggressive moves and you take more chances. When your car is running 28th or 30th, you push as hard as you can, and you are still running 28th or 30th, you have to be a little bit smart and understand that no matter what you do the car is going to run 28th.”
Are the lessons you learned driving for a smaller team something you can take to Trackhouse?
“This year has made me stronger personally and mentally. The reason that is it’s been very difficult especially the way my career been taking place the last couple of years. I don’t wish that on anyone. It’s extremely difficult to be in this position, to be in this position when you know you can drive racecars. You know that you are doing the right thing. It’s all about the people. Unfortunate for me, I haven’t found that yet, I think I just did, but we will find out next year.”
With all of the craziness from this season, what does your offseason look like?
“This offseason is going to be a little bit different. Right now, we are not even done yet and I’m already working with my new engineers and I’m already doing a few things here and there to prepare and to start making some ground for next year. I truly believe that you are as good as your last race, so I truly want to finish this year as strong as possible. But I’m already working with the new team, the new people to try to make some ground. I haven’t seen my family since Christmas of last year, they haven’t been able to come here and I haven’t been able to go there, so somehow in December I really want to go to Mexico at least for a week or two to see my family, hug them and say hi and hang out with them and then come back here, because for the whole pandemic situation, it’s been difficult. My family is in a tough position. They can’t really come here if it’s not business related. I can’t go there, and my girlfriend can’t travel for the business situation, so I’m in a box, but it’s very difficult, but I will find a way to try to recharge myself and come back to the U.S. to continue the work and continue the plans that we have for 2021.”
What are your goals for the final three races? What have you seen at Trackhouse that makes you think the results will be better there?
“I don’t even know how to slow down. I’m the guy who made this team have competition gains. I’m the guy that’s pushing every single week to make this team better. There’s a lot of things that people will never find out, but the people who know, know how I work. It’s funny that you mentioned that, because last week, I noticed a few people on the team looking down, but I told them I’m not done yet, I know I’m not going to be here next year, but I’m still here. So, if you guys want to be in a good position for next year, you better put yourself together and get to work. In my opinion, you are as good as your last race. If we do good job in Phoenix, who knows, maybe that can help everyone for next year.”
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