NASCAR Cup Series
Hendrick to Smooth Over Any Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott Tensions
Feb 28, 2022
For a moment, Daniel Suarez had the lead and was perhaps a different set of decisions away from his first victory at the NASCAR Cup Series level.
A push from behind by Erik Jones sent the Trackhouse Racing No. 99 by Kyle Larson one lap after a restart with four laps remaining. Jones shoved Suarez under and around Larson, but a decision to block low instead of keeping the car wound-up on the top might have been the difference.
The fourth-place finish tied his best effort since joining Trackhouse last year, when he posted the same finish in the Bristol Dirt Race.
"Today, we didn’t deserve the win, but we deserved second," Suarez said. "That’s what matters. My car was good, but it wasn’t quite as good as the top-five guys. In the long run, I think I can race with them. In the short run I was just a little bit too tight. I just didn’t have enough grip in the front to stay with them. We made a few mistakes in the race. The diffuser broke so we had to make a lot of pit stops to fix the diffuser.
"We’ll go home, clean up a few things, and then we’ll deserve that win. We’re going to get it and we’re going to enjoy it."
The numerous stops to repair the rear diffuser were offset by fantastic pit stops that put him right back in contention. Specifically, Suarez only had the chance to restart second because his pit crew put him there after he entered pit road sixth.
He called his over-the-wall crew unbelievable legends.
"That was the best pit crew I’ve ever had," Suarez said. "It was crazy have a good pit crew like that. I just can’t wait to keep going in the season. Very, very happy to continue working with them. Mentally and physically, I feel great; my car is a little hurt right now. It was good, today we did an amazing job. It feels amazing to have a team like this behind you that support you all the time."
The top-five was his 10th in 181 starts across Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart Haas Racing and Trackhouse.
"We're going to win very soon," Suarez said.