Wednesday, Mar 29

CHEVROLET NCS AT PHOENIX: Daniel Suarez Press Conference Transcript

We interviewed you last week in Las Vegas and you told us there were some details that your car needed, although your car was pretty fast.

“I feel like the car yesterday was good; not great and not bad. Just good. Probably the best we’ve had a car in a while. We’re one more step in the right direction. I think the positive is that we know what we need and I feel like we’re in the ballpark. Right now, yesterday, we didn’t have a winning car but we had a car that in my opinion can have the potential for it.


We’ll see. We made some adjustments for today and hopefully we get it.”


You are established in NASCAR now. Have you planned a long term future to help young talents in Mexico to come over and do the same like you did?

“Well, maybe one day. I try to help as much as I can every day. But I’m not looking for the talent, right. I’m just helping whoever comes and asks me for help. I wish I had somebody like that when I was coming here. I didn’t have anyone that I was able to ask for advice or help in my early days in the United States.  I’m always very, very open to help. We’ll see what happens in the future, but for now, my main focus is my career. Win more races and championships and continue to grow.


But yeah, I enjoy seeing more diversity in the sport. I’m a big part of that and I’ve been able to help a handful of drivers – at least 10 drivers – come in from different countries. So that’s great and I’ll continue to do that.”


Going to COTA in a couple of weeks; the site of Trackhouse Racing’s first win. What has allowed Trackhouse to stay near the front over the last year since that last win?

“That’s a very good question. I think it’s a combination of many things, starting with our people. We have great people; great engineers, good pit crews. I think that if we look back to one year ago.. one year ago we were a team that was very promising. I feel like right now, Trackhouse is a reality. I think we have shown that we’re here to stay and to be competitive. Last year was a very good year and this year, so far, has gone in a very good way.


We have to continue to work; not feel comfortable and not stay still because everyone is working very hard. I feel like that has been one of the keys of Trackhouse to continue to evolve and continue to move forward.”


You’re driving with the new package yesterday. What differences did you notice and how did you personally have to adjust in the car?

“The car has way less grip. It’s almost like when you have new tires, it’s almost like you have 10-lap tires with the previous package. So the car is quite different. The main goal of this package was to make the racing better and make the car drive better in traffic. I don’t really know where we’re at when it comes to that because we haven’t raced with it yet. I guess we’re going to find that out tomorrow. For sure, the car is more difficult to drive and for sure we’re going to have to move around more. But to what extent, I don’t really know yet. We’re going to find out tomorrow.”


You had a really strong start to the regular-season with top-10s in every single race. Phoenix (Raceway) obviously hasn’t been your best track overall. What are you going to need to do this weekend to continue that top-10 streak?

“I think that my car has another top-10 in it. We have worked really hard in Phoenix just because, like you mentioned, it’s been a tough place to us in the last two years. Before that actually, I was pretty good here. We have worked very hard. We have put a lot of effort and time into this place, and I think that’s showing a little bit. We’re not quite there yet, but I think we’re moving in the right direction.”


In just the growth of Trackhouse Racing – as you have the growth of your team, you have more success. Obviously there are different people that are leaders, but certainly the drivers are looked at as a leadership position. How have you evolved or how are you trying to evolve your role as a leader in the organization or with your No. 99 team?

“That’s another very good question. I feel like I’ve learned a lot in how to be a better leader. I’m very tough to myself when it comes to my performance; the way I work, my discipline and stuff like that. Sometimes that was making me also be tough with other people. Maybe sometimes knowing the smart way. Sometimes being ambitious and really wanting something bad is a good thing, but if you’re not smart about it, it can be a bad thing. So I feel like I’ve grown a lot in the last 12 months about how to be better; how to be a better leader for my group. If we want to achieve this goal to get here, how we’re going to get here in a smart way and everyone pushing the train forward.


So I have learned a lot to that. I give a lot of credit to Josh Wise and a lot of people that have helped me in our group to be better. And I feel like it’s a continuous process. I don’t feel like I’m perfect right now, but I can guarantee you that I’m better than I was a year ago, and I hope that I’m going to be better in a few months than I am right now.


But yeah, I think myself, Travis Mack (crew chief), Tony Lunders (competition director) and many leaders at Trackhouse – I feel like we are continuing to get better and continuing to move forward. Like I said, we have great people. My pit crew – last year in the first half of the season, we struggled a lot. And then in the second half, we had a lot of speed, but we were super inconsistent. Really my pit crew for this year is exactly the same group of guys and I feel like right now, I probably have one of the fastest pit crews out there. It’s everything about training, working together and making sure that everyone knows that we have each other’s backs.


I’m very happy where we’re at right now and I think we’re moving in the right direction.”


As you alluded to, it takes many, many people to have success with an organization. But one person you mentioned was Josh Wise. From your perspective, how has he been able to unlock certain things out of you or open certain elements of you to help you grow in ways that you hadn’t before? What kind of difference would it have made had you run into him five years earlier?

“Josh (Wise) is a race car driver. He’s a very smart guy, to start with. And also, he has a degree in psychology, so he understands how the mind works better than the average person. I have known him for a long time, but when I started working with him a little bit closer, I feel like I was able to understand it a little bit better. How to approach things as one of the leaders of my team. He has helped me a lot and like I said, it’s a continuous process. I don’t think I am where I want to be. It’s always a ‘going up the mountain’ kind of battle. But I feel like I’m definitely in a way better position than what I was 12 months ago and for that, I’m very, very thankful. I think that because of him, I’ve been able to also help a lot of individuals in my team to continue to move forward.”




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