Trackhouse Racing wasn’t in NASCAR Cup Series championship contention, but claimed the final checkered flag of the 2023 season to propel itself into the winter on a high.
By the numbers, Trackhouse Racing didn’t maintain its success from last year, when both its drivers made the postseason and won races. Ross Chastain, who was victorious at Phoenix Raceway as the first championship contender to win the finale in the elimination era, was the lone representative for Trackhouse Racing in the playoffs. His championship hopes had ended in the second round.
However, the organization did match its three race wins. Shane van Gisbergen contributed to the total in his first of two appearances with a highly-publicized triumph on the streets of Chicago in July.
“I’m every bit as proud of this season that I was of last season,” founder Justin Marks said. “The series has gotten tougher. These teams are bigger than us, have a lot of resources to figure out these cars, and now everybody is understanding the cars more and more, what it takes to make them go fast. The drivers are understanding how to drive them.
“So, the level of competition has seemed to have gotten much more difficult this year.”
Chastain finished ninth in the championship standings and earned victories (Nashville Superspeedway and Phoenix) to go with 14 top-10 finishes. It was down from a series-leading 21 he had last season.
Daniel Suarez failed to make the playoffs and struggled in his third season with the organization, seemingly always a step behind Chastain and the No. 1 team. Suarez and the No. 99 group went winless and finished 19th in the championship standings with 10 top-10 finishes and no top-fives.
It is “owed” to Suarez, according to Marks, that a close look is taken at his team this offseason to make sure all the tools are there to succeed. Marks felt Suarez was fast “at times” and had great races. Suarez’s numbers were down in all categories.
The 2024 season will be Trackhouse Racing’s fourth in the series and third as a two-car operation.
“We won two races, three in the organization,” Marks said. “I think it’s a wonderful success. I think the playoffs are just very, very difficult. One race can make a difference. Ross had some great races in the playoffs and the 1 team put up a heck of a fight, but it’s so difficult to get to Phoenix.
“I think this is a very successful season, another season that rewarded all the hard work in the company with multiple wins and a lot of happy people. It definitely gives us some momentum during the winter to get fired up for next year and try to make it back to Phoenix for the championship run.”