For Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie Daniel Suarez, he entered the 2017 season with a bunch of unknowns. Thrust into the limelight of Carl Edwards’ former ride with next to no preparation, Suarez was expected to work his way into the ride and produce decent results as soon as he could
While Suarez failed to qualify for the playoffs, he has generally been solid. Sunday’s ISM Connect 300 was no exception as Suarez picked up an eighth-place finish. Afterwards, Suarez was fine with his performance.
“It was OK,” Suarez told Frontstretch after the race. “It was a race with some mistakes on pit road. We didn’t have much short run speed, but we were able to overcome [it and pick up] another top 10.”
A series of short runs late in the event may have hurt Suarez’s competitiveness. However, the first two-thirds of the race definitely had a “green-flag feel.” Suarez took advantage of that.
“On the long run, I felt like we had one of the best cars out there,” Suarez said. “However, we were not very good in the short run. That was something that we were missing big time. That’s part of racing. We have to go back home and try to be better for next time.”
The finish was Suarez’s 10th top 10 of the season. However, he’s starting to tire of only being able to get top 10s.
“We have had top 10s already during the season,” Suarez continued. “It’s nothing new for us. We have to keep working [in order] to finish in the top five now.”
Despite being tired of top 10 finishes and not being able to do better for himself, Suarez believes that he’s about where he should be.
“I think we are [where I thought we’d be],” Suarez said near the coach lot. “There’s definitely more room to improve. Hopefully, we can keep getting better.
Despite the top 10 finish, Suarez made no in-roads in the standings. Erik Jones, who was immediately ahead of him in points, finished two spots in front of him and outscored him in the first two stages 14-0. Going into Dover, Suarez remains 20th in points. He did gain two points on Joey Logano, who is the best of those drivers who failed to make the playoffs.