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Daniel Suárez Feeling ‘No Extra Pressure’ from Presence of Growing Trackhouse Roster

Daniel Suarez says he's feeling no extra pressure from the rapidly-expanding roster of drivers for Trackhouse Racing, as he looks forward to the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series campaign that lies ahead with optimism. Photo Credit: Craig White,

Daniel Suárez has spent the duration of his NASCAR career breaking down barriers — initially as NASCAR’s first foreign-born champion in 2016, and more recently as the first Mexican-born driver to score a victory in the NASCAR Cup Series.

It hasn’t been an easy road for Suárez, though, having competed with four different organizations in his seven years as a full-time competitor at NASCAR’s top-level. Though, after much perseverance, the Monterrey, Mexico-native has seemingly found his home in Trackhouse Racing.

Similar to Suárez, Trackhouse has been breaking down barriers, forging a new path forward for team owners in the NASCAR Cup Series with innovative programs and ideas, like PROJECT91, a part-time entry for the organization that is designed to bring international flair to the NASCAR Cup Series.

Last July, in the program’s third start, three-time Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen put a whooping on the NASCAR Cup Series field, winning on debut in the No. 91 Trackhouse PROJECT91 Chevrolet. That victory, along with some persuasion has brought van Gisbergen to the United States to make a run at a career in NASCAR.

The Auckland, New Zealand-native was one of three racers that received driver contracts from Trackhouse Racing for the upcoming season, along with 2022 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Zane Smith and 17-year-old rising star Connor Zilisch.

Van Gisbergen is locked for a full Xfinity Series campaign with Kaulig Racing in 2024, while Smith finds himself competing for Rookie of The Year (ROTY) honors in the NASCAR Cup Series in a Trackhouse-aligned entry for Spire Motorsports. But, the question isn’t this year,

The million-dollar question(s) don’t come into play until 2025, though, with team owner Justin Marks expressing interest in having both Smith and SVG moved in-house at Trackhosue Racing. To have both drivers run full-time in the Cup Series, the team would need to acquire two charters, which in recent years have become extremely lucrative due to their skyrocketing value.

Could that impact the positioning of Daniel Suárez beyond this year, despite his signing of a multi-year contract last February? Despite any potential chatter or speculation, the 32-year-old driver isn’t letting that add any further pressure to what is already a pressure-packed industry.

“There’s always pressure, but I don’t have any extra pressure because of them,” said Suárez. “I know what I am capable of, and I know what we were lacking last year and I feel like as a group we made some adjustments to be better and we’re going to be fine, but we have to be better.”

“Good or average isn’t good enough to be able to change that mindset, to shoot to be great it has to be a across-the-board mindset. I cannot change that by myself, I have to change the mentality of myself, my engineers, and everybody on board the No. 99 team to be able to accomplish that and I feel like this off-season we’ve been working really, really hard on that.”

One of the key changes for the team is Matt Swiderski, who replaces Travis Mack as the crew chief of the No. 99 Chevrolet Camaro. Swiderski moves over from Kaulig Racing, where he captured a pair of victories at NASCAR’s top level with AJ Allmendinger.

While Suárez says he had a “little bit of influence” on the process of selecting a new crew chief, there was no clear-cut favorite for the position, with Trackhouse eventually selecting Swiderski to take over the role of Travis Mack, who had been with the organization since its inception in 2021.

“I still have a relationship with Travis Mack, and he and I started Trackhouse in the very beginning, so it was difficult, but at the same time, last year we sunk, like the team wasn’t very good,” Suárez explained about the decision. “We were a top-15 team, that’s exactly where we were. In the last few races of the season we finished 10th, 11th, and 8th, but we were not good enough to win. I feel like the entire year we only had winning cars twice. To be able to win races you have to have winning cars more than twice, to be able to execute everything, so we needed something different, and it went higher than myself, they decided that we needed to make a change in the leadership of the team.”

Despite a disappointing campaign for Suárez in 2023, where the driver of the No. 99 Chevrolet missed the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and finished 19th-place in final point standings, the former Xfinity Series champion is optimistic about the year ahead.

“I feel like last year, Trackhouse didn’t really get stronger than the year before, but I believe – and I truly believe this year we’re going to be stronger than last year, and I can’t wait to see that reflected on the track, and hopefully we can give them a run for their money.”

Entering Daytona for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, Suárez is riding a major wave of momentum after triumphing in his return to the NASCAR Mexico Series earlier this month at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

Though, when it comes time to strap into his No. 99 Freeway Insurance Chevrolet for the 2024 Daytona 500 on Sunday, the noise and distractions from the outside, and the pressure from within himself will all fade away, as he looks to score his second victory in the NASCAR Cup Series.

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