Daniel Suárez and the No. 41 Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head to Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International for the second road-course race of the season, Sunday’s GoBowling at The Glen. Suárez will pilot the Haas Automation Mustang for his third career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at the Upstate New York venue.
When the Mexico native first came to the United States eight years ago, he ended up just outside of Buffalo, New York. Development series car owner Troy Williams welcomed the young racer into his home as Suárez worked to further his driving career in the United States. “Troy was extremely kind to invite me to his house and to help me learn about the culture here in racing and to learn English,” Suárez said. “Back then, I didn’t speak any English. He said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come to live with me in the U.S. and you can start practicing English?’ I never thought about where he might live in the U.S. when he invited me to live with him. I can’t forget the day I landed in Buffalo and seeing all of the snow. I had never seen anything like that before. I remember shoveling the snow with everyone every day. I lived there for about three months in the middle of winter before going back home to Mexico.”
Watkins Glen is one of the 27-year-old Suárez’s best tracks on the NASCAR circuit. In his two Cup Series starts, he has finishes of third and fourth, respectively, with an average finish of 3.5. He has an average starting position of 13.0, along with 14 laps led. “I love road-course racing a lot and The Glen is one of my favorite racetracks,” the Haas driver said. “It’s a lot of fun, and hopefully we can get a trophy this weekend.”
In the NASCAR Xfinity Series on the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen road course, Suárez has two starts with an average starting position of 9.0 and an average finish of 9.5 with six laps led. Additionally, he has an August 2014 start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He started fourth but his day ended prematurely after an accident relegated him to a 19th-place finish.
In the last six Cup Series road-course races dating back to 2017, Suárez has an average finish of 12.7, which ranks 10th among all competitors. Suárez’s SHR teammates Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick are first and second in average road-course finishes over their last six starts.
SHR has one victory at Watkins Glen with team co-owner Tony Stewart capturing the victory in August 2009. In total, SHR has six top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 31 starts there. Ford has eight all-time Cup Series wins at Watkins Glen.
Suárez is in his third Cup Series season and his first behind the wheel of the No. 41 Haas Automation Mustang. So far this season, he’s accumulated two top-fives and seven top-10s, along with a total of 105 laps led. He has an average start of 15.3 and an average finish of 15.9 this season.
Suárez is currently 18th in the Cup Series standings to round out the four-driver SHR contingent. If Suárez captures a playoff position, it will be the first of his Cup Series career. Last year, all four SHR entries secured at least one regular-season win and a playoff spot. Harvick secured his playoff spot for this year by capturing the win two weekends ago at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
DANIEL SUÁREZ, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What was your first experience when you first arrived in Upstate New York?
“When I first moved here to the United States, it was to Buffalo. The team owner I was going to race for, Troy Williams, lived in Buffalo. I moved there in February and it was very cold. I just remember it being so cold and there was a lot of snow. I didn’t last in Buffalo very long – only about three months before I packed my stuff and went back to Mexico. Can you imagine a kid from Mexico going to live in Buffalo in the middle of winter?”
What is your favorite part about Watkins Glen?
“As a racecar driver, I love coming to Watkins Glen. The fans make it so good and with all of the camping they do. The atmosphere is very good and so fun. Let me tell you, it’s a very, very fast track, especially for a road course, which makes it exciting, too.”