|It’s good to be the reigning champion. It’s a feeling with which driver Daniel Saurez has become accustomed over the course of the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Even though he competes in the XFINITY series on a limited basis, there’s still a cache of confidence he carries into each race. He’s the champ and it’s good to be the champ.
This weekend Suarez will carry a double dose of buoyancy into Dover (Del.) International Speedway, where he isn’t only the reigning champ, but also the reigning race winner.
Driving the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), Suarez will make his 13th start of the 2017 XFINITY Series season during Saturday’s Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200.
The founding partner of JGR, Interstate Batteries has been powering the championship-winning organization for more than 25 years and is the “Official Battery of Joe Gibbs Racing.” This year, the iconic brand is celebrating its 65th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, special 65th anniversary branding has been featured on each of the paint schemes JGR has raced during the 2017 NASCAR season.
It’s the third time this year that Suarez is racing the iconic green-and-white scheme. Having the “Outrageously Dependable” brand on board may give the team the boost it needs to find the one thing that has eluded Suarez so far in 2017 – victory lane.
While Suarez has yet to win in XFINITY competition in 2017, he’s been close, with a trio of third-place finishes and a runner-up effort at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August to show for it. In total, Suarez has scored five top-five finishes, six top-10s and led laps in seven of his 12 starts.
And now he turns his attention to the concrete mile oval of Dover, where Suarez has made a total of five starts in XFINITY competition. His career record at Dover features one win, two top-fives and four top-10s. He’s led a total of 142 laps and owns an average start of 5.8 and average finish of 8.4.
It was one year ago when Suarez put on a dominant display rarely seen amongst series regulars. Driving the Interstate Batteries Toyota, Suarez started fifth and quickly made his move to the front by taking the top spot just 10 laps into the 200-lap event. The Monterrey, Mexico native went on to dominate the Monster Mile, leading a race-high 123 laps and scoring the win by a margin of more than five seconds.
With Interstate Batteries in tow for the second time at Dover, Suarez and company hope to get the charge they need to pull off the repeat this weekend.