With only four races remaining in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series regular season Daniel Suárez and his No. 99 Trackhouse Racing team know it’s time to get going if they want to secure one of the 16 playoff berths.
Suárez is 19th in the playoff standings just 34 points outside the 16th and final spot.
He cautions, there is no need to panic.
The upcoming Indianapolis and Watkins Glen road courses as well as the drafting track at Daytona are tracks where Suárez traditionally runs well.
A win at any of those races secures his second consecutive playoff appearance, good stage and race finish could propel him into the top 16 as well.
Before he goes to those tracks he’ll race on the highbanks of Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Sunday where he led 33 laps last year and joined Trackhouse teammate Ross Chastain as the dominant cars.
The teammates ran first and second with 45 laps to go when they pitted together under green and returned to the track a lap down to the leaders who were getting ready for their pit stops.
As the Trackhouse drivers were about to pass the leaders and unlap themselves, second-place driver Christopher Bell made contact with Chastain sending his car into the wall and bringing out the caution. The untimely caution dropped both Trackhouse drivers off the lead lap.
Suárez received the free pass and restarted 18th. He drove to 13th, but a cut tire in the final laps brought him to pit lane for repairs and left him with a 25th-place finish.
He hopes for the same speed but better result on Sunday.
His No. 99 Chevrolet will carry the Worldwide Express livery for the second consecutive week, just as it did last year at the track where the 190.703 mph pole speed was the fastest lap of the season.
USA Network will televise Sunday’s race at 2:30 p.m. EDT.
Is it time to panic about making it into the playoffs?
“No, there is a lot of racing left. I told my guys all of us need to relax and have fun. That’s when we perform our best. We have some really good tracks coming up for us. Trackhouse Racing has a great road course program and we have run really well at Daytona and Michigan.”
You led 33 laps at Michigan the last time you raced there. What do you remember about that race?
“I really thought Ross and I had great cars that day. That wreck couldn’t come at a worse time. It cost both Ross and I a shot at the victory. My guys gave me a great Worldwide Express Chevrolet there last year and I hope we are as fast on Sunday.”
Trackhouse Racing PR