Suarez Battles For A Playoff Spot

Daniel Suarez

Daniel Suárez and the No. 41 Haas Automation Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race. It will be Suárez’s sixth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at the high-banked, concrete half-mile oval.

Suárez is coming off a solid fifth-place finish Sunday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The weekend at the fast, 2-mile oval was not without its share of drama, however, as Suárez experienced a cut tire during Saturday’s final practice session that caused him to lose control and damage the No. 41 machine. But the Mexico native and his team rallied for a strong finish on race day, allowing him to gain valuable points in his quest to earn a spot in the 10-race Cup Series playoffs, which begin Sept. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The 27-year-old earned an eighth-place finish at this year’s April race at Bristol, his highest Cup Series career finish at the short track, where he has an average starting position of 17.6 and an average finishing position of 14.0, along with five laps led. The Haas Automation driver has completed 99.9 percent of all possible laps at Bristol.

Suárez arrives at Bristol 17th in the Cup Series standings to round out the four-driver SHR contingent. If he captures a playoff position, it will be the first of his Cup Series career. Last year, all four SHR entries secured a playoff spot and at least one regular-season victory. SHR teammate Kevin Harvick has already secured his spot in the playoffs with wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July, and last weekend at Michigan.

Haas Automation, founded in 1983 by SHR co-owner Gene Haas, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.

No. 41 team crew chief Billy Scott is the defending winner of this weekend’s event, capturing the win with former SHR driver Kurt Busch behind the wheel last August. The win marked Scott’s first win as Cup Series crew chief. The only major difference on the No. 41 roster this season is Suárez.

Suárez has six Bristol starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, with four top-five finishes and five top-10s, including two runner-up results in August 2017 and April 2015. The 2016 Xfinity Series champion has also led 42 laps at the “Last Great Colosseum” in that series and has never started outside the top-10. He has an average Xfinity Series starting position of 7.7 and an average finish of 8 at the Tennessee track. The Ford driver has two NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series starts at Bristol with 77 laps led, but both starts ended prematurely.

Fans will also have the opportunity to enjoy a sweet view from inside Suárez’s cockpit with an in-car camera provided by Coca-Cola for Saturday’s 500-lap event.

Daniel Suárez: Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

We all know drivers want to win. How difficult is it to choose between getting the most points or risking it all for a win?

“That’s a fine line. For months, all I care about and want is a win. To break that barrier and to get my first win in the Cup Series would be awesome. But right now, we aren’t in a position to where we can take those risks. When you win races, you have to take chances and take advantage of opportunities. Sometimes, though, those opportunities can get you the win and other times you end up out of the race. If the possibility to win the race is in front of me, we are going to take it. But I have to be smart and put the importance of the points and the risk that we are going to take to make sure it’s worth it for us. We’ve had a lot of speed lately, we just can’t make mistakes.”

How much do drivers remember?

“My mom and sisters will tell you that I can’t remember anything. I don’t remember people or places very well, but when it comes to the racetrack, I remember everything. I can remember back to my very first race and who I got into it with. I remember who raced me hard, who raced me clean, who cut me a break. You have to know that the people you’re racing with have a memory bank, as well, and you never know when you might get those paybacks.”

No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang Team Report
Race 24 of 36 – Bass Pro Shops Night Race – Bristol

Car No. 41: Haas Automation Ford Mustang Team Report

At Track PR Contact: Lauren Emling with True Speed Communication (Lauren.Emling@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)

Primary Team:

Driver: Daniel Suárez

Hometown: Monterrey, Mexico

Car Chief: Tony Cardamone

Hometown: Bristol, Virginia

Engine Specialist: Evan Cupples

Hometown: Hudson, Illinois

Crew Chief: Billy Scott

Hometown: Land O’ Lakes, Florida

Engine Builder: Roush Yates Engines

Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina

Spotter: Tony Raines

Hometown: LaPorte, Indiana

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Fuelman: Rick Pigeon

Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont

Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

Jackman: Josh Sobecki

Hometown: New Kensington, Pennsylvania

Front Changer: John Rosselli

Hometown: Terre Haute, Indiana

Rear Changer: Shannon Myers
Hometown: Salisbury, North Carolina

Road Crew:

Transporter Driver: Eddie DeGroot

Hometown: Baldwinsville, New York

Shock Specialist: Aaron Kuehn

Hometown: Kensington, Connecticut

Mechanic: Nick McIntosh

Hometown: Havre, Montana

Interior Mechanic: Kyle Anderson

Hometown: Jewell, Iowa

Tire Technician: Thomas Gagliano

Hometown: East Hampton, Connecticut

Engineers: Scott Bingham and William Lee

Hometowns: Lawrenceville, Georgia and Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, respectively

Mechanic: Joe Zanolini

Hometown: Sybertsville, Pennsylvania

Bristol Motor Speedway Notes of Interest:

Daniel Suárez will make his 96th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start Saturday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Suárez has five Cup Series starts at the high-banked oval with a best finish of eighth earned this past April. Overall, the 27-year-old has an average starting position of 17.6 and an average finishing position of 14.0, along with five laps led.

The Monterrey, Mexico, native also has six NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Bristol with two runner-up finishes and 42 laps led. He’s also competed in two NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races at Bristol, both ending prematurely despite leading 77 laps.

The Haas Automation driver will sign autographs at the Stewart-Haas Racing merchandise hauler Saturday beginning at 4:20 p.m. EDT in the fan midway.

In 2018, veteran crew chief Billy Scott led the No. 41 team to one win, six top-five finishes and 22 top-10s, and five pole awards. The win came in the August Bristol race – his first win as a Cup Series crew chief.

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

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