Daniel Suarez Feels The Daytona Charge

Daniel Suarez

It’s a new year. And for the fast-paced sport of NASCAR, it’s the start of a new season. The slate from the previous year has been wiped clean. Everything is fresh. Everyone is a contender. It’s an electric feeling. Everyone associated with the sport and anyone who’s a fan can practically feel the charge.

This weekend, that sensation is amplified for driver Daniel Suarez, who will have the charge of an outrageously dependable battery powering the start of his 2018 campaign in the NASCAR XFINITY Series program.

Driving the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), Suarez will be among the field of drivers taking part in the season-opening Powershares QQQ 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. It is the first of two XFINITY Series races in which Suarez is scheduled to compete in 2018.

A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Suarez will be making his seventh career start in XFINITY competition at Daytona and it’s the second consecutive Daytona race in which he has sported the iconic Interstate Batteries colors.

As the founding partner and “Official Battery of Joe Gibbs Racing,” Interstate Batteries has been powering the team for more than 25 years. Since 1992, JGR’s first full season in NASCAR, Interstate Batteries has played an integral role in the organization’s development from start-up race team to championship powerhouse.

For his part, Suarez will attempt to return the Interstate Batteries-branded XFINITY Series car to victory lane. Dating back to the spring of 2016 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, Suarez has made four starts in XFINITY Series competition when the Dallas-based company has been on the hood of his Toyota. He’s gone one for four in those races, scoring a win in dominating fashion at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on Oct. 2, 2016.

When it comes to XFINITY Series competition at Daytona, however, Suarez is looking for a little luck to go his way. In six XFINITY starts at the World Center of Racing, the 2016 XFINITY series champ has had four of those races end prematurely due to accidents. Suarez earned his best result at Daytona during the series’ season-opening race in 2016, when he finished in eighth place after starting second. Prior to 2016, Suarez earned the top starting spot in just his second outing at the 2.5-mile superspeedway in July 2015.

Saturday’s 300-mile event will serve as a prelude to Sunday’s main event – the 60th running of the Daytona 500 in which Suarez will be kicking off his sophomore campaign in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. After finishing a close second to teammate Erik Jones for the title of Rookie of the Year in 2017, Suarez is looking to make a smooth transition from rookie driver to upstart championship contender.

A solid performance Saturday could go a long way toward providing the charge he needs to get 2018 started in the right direction.

DANIEL SUAREZ, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
It is the start of a new year. What is it you’re looking forward to the most?

“For me, 2017 was a long year with a lot of new challenges and a lot of ups and downs. I’m very excited to start this year with pretty much the same team and a couple of different people, like our car chief (Todd Brewer). With more time to prepare ourselves and more time to work together, I think we can do some great things this year. I feel like it’s been a long offseason and I’m really looking forward to getting started.”

How different are the XFINITY races at Daytona verses the Cup Series races?

“Racing at Daytona in the XFINITY Series is very different than the racing that we do there in the Cup Series. It’s a little bit difficult to understand just how much you can push and doing it without connecting the bumpers. That’s one of the biggest challenges to understand that rule and learn how to push the right way. I feel like I’ve gotten better over the last couple of years. I haven’t won a race at a superspeedway, yet, but I know that we’ll have a shot to do that this weekend.”

How special is it to kick off your 2018 XFINITY Series campaign with Interstate Batteries on board?

“Interstate Batteries is a great sponsor for both myself and the whole organization. They have been a part of Joe Gibbs Racing since day one. For me to be a small part of the Interstate Batteries racing program in the NASCAR XFINITY Series is a big deal and I’m really looking forward to trying to take them to victory lane one more time.”

Meet the No. 18 Interstate Batteries/Joe Gibbs Racing Team
Car No.: 18 – Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry

 

At-Track PR Contact: Bill Janitz with True Speed Communication

704.875.3388 ext. 810 or Bill.Janitz@TrueSpeedCommunication.com

Road Crew Members:

Driver: Daniel Suarez

 

Crew Chief: Eric Phillips

 

Car Chief: Chris Meyers

 

Engine Builder: Mark Cronquist

 

Spotter: Rick Carelli

 

Engineer: Dustin Zacharyasz

 

Tire Specialist: John Lanham

 

Mechanic: Tyler Paxton

 

Mechanic: JP Egbert

 

Truck Driver: Steve Fielder

Daniel Suarez at Daytona International Speedway Speedway:
● Saturday’s Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway will be Suarez’s 83rd career start in NASCAR XFINITY Series competition. It also marks his seventh start in the series at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

●In six previous XFINITY Series starts at Daytona, Suarez’s best finish is the eighth-place result he earned during the series season-opening event in 2016.

● While he is still searching for his first win at Daytona, Suarez earned the top starting spot for the track’s July race in 2015.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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