By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
A 36th-place finish. One point earned on the day.
With those harsh numbers on the board, the Mexican expected to feel a hit in the standings. And it hit, with the Trackhouse Racing driver leaving Pocono now 23 points outside the playoff grid with now five races left to run.
“Yeah, it’s not great; it’s not ideal,” Suarez said. “But I have to control what I can control, and I cannot control some of the other guys.”
Those ‘other guys’ were Joey Logano and Tyler Reddick on a lap-36 restart. The two made contact in the mid-pack, sparking a spin by Logano’s No. 22 Ford. Suarez dashed low to avoid, only to be clipped by Bubba Wallace and turned head-on into the Turn 1 wall after a lengthy spin.
Though the No. 99 crew attempted to keep his Chevrolet chugging, the physical mechanics disagreed, forcing him to retire after 37 laps.
“I got turned around on the right-rear on a very fast straightaway,” he said. “Just lucky we didn’t get wrecked big time, but unfortunately we couldn’t continue anymore.
“But at the end of the day, it’s our fault. We shouldn’t be back there with those guys. We fought the balance of the car in the first stage. We lost a bunch of track position. We got it back a little bit. I felt like once we got the balance, we were going to be able to drive to the front. But we didn’t get the opportunity to and got wrecked before that.”
Unfortunately for Suarez, Sunday was not an isolated bad day in his 2023 season. In the last 11 races, he’s only managed two top 10s and six finishes worse than 20th. Poor results mixed with little luck has kept the No. 99 from reaching its potential, says Suarez.
“We had a car capable of running in the top 10, top 15 at least,” he said,” and we were running in the 20s because we missed the balance of the car in the first stage. We just have to be better.”
“Definitely frustrated because I feel like we’re better than this. I’m frustrated also because guys are wrecking each other and I’m the one that ended up out of the race without being in their mess.
“But what are you going to do – sometimes you’re on the good end of it and sometimes you’re on the bad end of it. Unfortunately today, I was on the short end of it.”