By: Ashley McCubbin
While the focus by fans was Trackhouse Racing’s success with Ross Chastain in making the Championship 4, there was another driver within the same organization making a mark in 2022. Daniel Suarez made his inaugural playoff appearance, placing 10th in the year-end standings.
“We had a good year and made a lot of progress,” Suarez told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “What has me really excited is we also have so much room for improvement. I know even better days are ahead for Trackhouse Racing. We are going to enjoy some off time in the next few weeks but we will be ready to go for 2023.”
The year saw Suarez put together his best season statistically on-track with a career-best season-ending points finish, six top-five’s (beating four in 2019), 13 top-10’s (surpassing 12 in 2017). It was highlighted by his first NASCAR Cup Series victory at Sonoma Raceway, which he classified as his favourite moment of 2022.
“It meant so much to myself and so many people,” he reflected. “A lot of people supported me over the years and it was nice that we could all finally make that trip to victory lane. I think it meant a lot for the sport too. I hope we created a lot of new fans that day.”
The success ultimately is a culmination of the belief instilled in the Mexican by Justin Marks and Pitbull since announcing Suarez as their driver in 2021, following a rocky year with Gaunt Brothers Racing with no top-10 finishes.
“I remember the first time Ty Norris and Justin Marks talked to me,” he recalled. “They told me their vision. What they wanted to create at Trackhouse. They have done everything they told me they were going to do. I think you have seen that vision translate to success on the track. Again, I only see things getting better and better for Trackhouse Racing.”
The dynamic which seems to work is watching everyone within the organization work together towards the common goals set by Marks, including the chemistry between Suarez and Chastain as teammates.
“I think it is we both want what’s best for Trackhouse,” he commented in what he feels people are surprised about. “Don’t get me wrong, we will race each other hard and you saw at times this year. But we work together during the week. We share information, we workout together, we test together. We have each other’s backs.”
Now as he heads into the off-season, the focus shifts towards getting the team their first championship, beginning with aiming for both Chastain and Suarez to be apart of the Final Four.
“We have lots of areas where we can get a little bit better,” he said. “At this level of racing, even just a little improvement can mean a lot. Remember, neither Ross, myself or our crew chiefs had ever won a cup race in their positions so all of this was huge accomplishment this year. I believe with the experience we gained in 2022 we will be even better in 2023.”