Suarez Continues Streak of Top-10’s At Watkins Glen

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

In his first time at Watkins Glen International in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS), Daniel Suarez was able to pilot his No. 19 STANLEY Toyota to a third place finish in the I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at The Glen.

Suarez started in fifth place when the green flag fell, and was able to stay towards the front for majority of the race.

During the final lap of the second stage, Suarez was able to hold off a charge from Martin Truex Jr. to win the his first stage of the season.

“It feels very good for sure. To be that close is tough. It’s a tough feeling, but I’m proud of all of these guys. I was telling my guys that I’m going to take the fuel tank out myself to see how much fuel we’ve got left and if we have half a gallon I want to feel bad to myself because I felt like I should’ve pushed  little bit more,” said Suarez. “You never know if those guys were running out and I could win this thing. But, I’m just so proud of these guys. Everyone that put this program together, I’m very happy to be a small part of it.”

For Suarez, the fifth place finish adds to a run of four consecutive top-10 finishes. Since the beginning of the year, he was looking forward to the second half of the season since the MENCS returns to many of the same tracks.

“I mentioned in the beginning of the year that I was so looking forward to the second half of the year, as well, because I knew that the second half of the year we were going to be more competitive, and our second time at all these race tracks we were going to have enough book and we were going to go to those race tracks already knowing what to expect,” said Suarez. “You know, all the hard work from my team and from everyone in the 19 group and from Joe Gibbs Racing, TRD (Toyota Racing Development), Toyota, it’s paying off.”

After being thrusted into the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota with the unexpected announcement of Carl Edwards departure and losing crew chief, Dave Rogers, Suarez feels that the team is different.

“In the beginning of the year, we were not like that. I wasn’t the same driver, either, and now I feel like we are moving in the right direction. We have speed pretty much every weekend now where we are running in the top 10. I don’t think it’s a surprise anymore to run in the top 10. We just have to keep it up.  We have to keep ourselves calm, and hopefully we can catch a break in the next few weeks, month or so, to try to make it in the playoffs.”

With a fifth place finish at Watkins Glen, Suarez sits 15th in MENCS driver points, up three positions from last week, inching closer into the playoff picture, only 129 points behind 16th place, Matt Kenseth.

Leave a Reply

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