It’s going to be a rough start to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suárez, as the No. 99 Chevrolet Camaro failed to pass inspection three times before Saturday’s qualifying session at Darlington Raceway.
As a result of the multiple inspection failures, Suárez will not be permitted to make a lap in qualifying, which means the 30-year old will start last in Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 and he’s lost pit selection. While that is already a lot of adversity to overcome, Suárez will also have to serve a pass-through penalty after the initial start of the race.
Suárez and the No. 99 team also had their car chief Eddie D’Hondt Jr. ejected for the remainder of the weekend.
Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 marks the first race of the 10-race NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Following the opening three races of the Playoffs, the bottom four drivers in the 16-driver field will be eliminated from Championship contention.
Suárez enters the Playoffs as the 13th seed, which puts him at a two point deficit to the cutline before Sunday’s race even begins. Add in the adversity due to the penalties, and Suárez will be severely behind the eight-ball to start the Playoffs, if he doesn’t get a lucky break early in Sunday’s race.
The driver, who hails from Mexico City, Mexico, has had an incredible season in 2022 — his second year with Trackhouse Racing. Suárez has amassed six top-five finishes, including his first-career NASCAR Cup Series win which came at Sonoma Raceway, and he has 10 top-10 finishes this year.