Slumping Suarez driving ‘one of the slowest cars that I’ve had in my career’

Daniel Suarez said he wanted his fans to know his Trackhouse Racing team is working hard to improve after posting a video on social media last weekend apologizing for their performance.

The video was recorded and posted after Suarez finished 24th at Darlington Raceway. He was still on his way home from the racetrack when he addressed his fans directly.

“For me, the way I see it, there are a lot of people that come from very far away, and I see them every week because I go to the merchandise hauler to sign autographs for them for 30 minutes,” Suarez said Friday at North Wilkesboro Speedway. “I see people who come from many different places around the country with Mexican flags to support me, and I don’t feel like I’ve been doing good lately, and if my driver is running 30th that sucks. That’s not good.


“I feel like they deserve better, and I’m not saying that I’m not putting in the work because I am and my team is putting in the work. We just are at a point right now where we are not fast and we have to figure it out. I just wanted to let them know that it’s not going unnoticed; I feel that they deserve better, and I don’t like to see people — Mexican flags in the grandstands — and people supporting me with their kids and me running like that.

“That’s just not me. If this was my normal, I would retire tomorrow because I’m not fine running like this.”

Suarez and the No. 99 team are locked into the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs after winning at Atlanta Motor Speedway in February. However, Suarez has finished in the top 10 just once since that race and is 18th in the overall point standings with 39 laps led (from a combined four races). He’s finished 20th or worse in five of the last seven races.

Suarez and his Trackhouse Racing have tried out of the box and back to basics approaches to breaking out of their slump, without success. Matt Thacker/Motorsport Images

In the video, Suarez admitted frustration within the team, led by crew chief Matt Swiderski, is an understatement. It has primarily been a speed issue with Suarez’s Chevrolet. It has been the opposite for Suarez’s teammate, Ross Chastain, who is 10th in the standings with an average finish of 13.5 and 108 laps led.

“The last month, I feel like I have had probably one of the slowest cars that I’ve had in my career — at Trackhouse, at least,” Suarez said. “We have work to do. We believe that we know how to fix it, and we’re working hard on it.”

Suarez laughed when admitting that the speed issue surprised him. Not at first, however. The team was going down a particular path for a while that didn’t work and affected their speed. But even after reversing course, it hasn’t helped and is now a concern.

“I would say (for) a month and a half, it wasn’t surprising because we were trying things outside the box — just trying different things,” Suarez said. “A few weeks ago, we said, ‘OK, this is not working, let’s go back to the normal and see exactly where we’re at.’ And it didn’t work either. There are still a lot of things in the works for (Swiderski’s) system and applying a lot of different processes into our team, but it’s not a secret the last few weeks, we’ve been a 30th-place car, and we’ve been finishing 25th with it. So, we have some work to do.

“This is what I told my team: ‘We have two months to figure it out.’ I said two months because I will like to have one month before the playoffs to have the mentality of (competing in) the playoffs, because if we think we’re going to go into the playoffs and flip a switch and be great, that won’t happen. It doesn’t matter whose team it is; that doesn’t exist. We have to be ready when the time comes.”

Story originally appeared on Racer