Want to know how good Daniel Suárez is at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International?
He’s scored three top-five finishes in his five races at the 2.45-mile road course. Only two drivers have bettered that record and only six drivers have led more laps.
He’s counting on that performance level continuing in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race in upstate New York.
He’s going to need it.
He’s 28 points behind Bubba Wallace in the battle for the 16th and final transfer position in the 2023 NASCAR playoffs. Only Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen and the Aug. 26 race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway remain in the regular season.
Suárez arrives at Watkins Glen after earning his first pole of the season, third of his career and second in the history of Trackhouse on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On Sunday, he finished second in the first stage and third in the second stage before finishing third in the race.
A freak occurrence when an air hose caught under a fender during the final pit stop cost Suárez 10 seconds that likely was the difference between third place and battling for the victory.
A sixth-place finish at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Aug. 7 coupled with the third-place on Sunday in Indianapolis means Suárez will bring momentum to Watkins Glen. That speed makes Suárez at threat to win or earn enough points to climb into the playoffs.
Suárez is confident as the playoff battle tightens. He has demonstrated prowess at ‘The Glen’ as well as drafting tracks like Daytona.
As it did Sunday in Indianapolis, and will for the next three races, Suárez’s No. 99 will carry the blue and green Freeway.com livery at Watkins Glen.
USA Network will televise Sunday’s race at 3 p.m. EDT.
What do you need to do to make the playoffs?
“We just need to keep doing what we are doing. That’s qualify well and earn stage points and get a good finish. There is still a lot of racing left and we know we can do this. If we have as good a car at Watkins Glen as we had at Indianapolis we know we can win there. That’s true about Daytona as well.”
Is this pressure?
“No, this is fun. This is what we like to do. If we are relaxed we will perform our best. We are excited about going to Watkins Glen. We want the trophy! That’s what matters. I don’t even think about points or what someone else is doing. We control what we can control.”
Thoughts on Indianapolis?
“It was heartbreaking. I have never been that upset with a third-place finish. But that’s a good thing. That only means we know what we are capable of. We will analyze everything and get better together.”
Trackhouse Racing PR