Daniel Suárez heads to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn with the No. 41 Ford Mustang team for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Consumers Energy 400. The Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) entry will be adorned with the orange-and-black colors of ARRIS for Suárez’s sixth Cup Series start at the 2-mile oval located in the Irish Hills of Michigan. Earlier this year, Suárez piloted the ARRIS machine to a 10th-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
ARRIS has been involved with NASCAR since 2014 and is responsible for the most comprehensive Wi-Fi deployment in NASCAR history at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The company announced the first CBRS Private LTE network deployment at the newly renovated ISM Raceway near Phoenix. ARRIS also powers the communication between NASCAR drivers and their teams through its SURFboard SB6183® modem and E600® Converged Edge Router (CER) with integration and support from its global services team.
Before Suárez heads to the speedway this weekend, he will visit Ford’s Headquarters in Dearborn for a day of Ford-focused activities with the Blue Oval driver contingent. Dearborn is located approximately 65 miles from the track. It would be an excellent weekend for the Mexico native to capture his first Cup Series win with SHR and to give Ford a win at its home track. A win also would lock the ARRIS driver into the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with just four races left in the regular season, as the pressure is building on the track between drivers who are on the playoff bubble.
“Everyone is so competitive in the Cup Series,” Suárez said. “If you make it to the Cup Series, it’s because you’re good, competitive and compassionate. Some guys might be better than others, but everyone is good. You have to stand up for yourself, otherwise you will get taken advantage of more often. But you have to understand that you’re going to be racing again next weekend and that’s where the respect comes from. You’re probably going to encounter that person next weekend and everyone is very passionate. We all have the same goal and that’s to get the trophy.”
In Suárez’s five Cup Series starts at Michigan, he has a best finish of fourth this past June after starting ninth and leading one lap. In total, Suárez has led four laps at the track.
Michigan is the site of the Suárez’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series win, which he captured in June 2016. He won by .28 of a second over runner-up Kyle Busch in his 48th career Xfinity Series start.
“It definitely was the way I dreamed it, that was what I expected it to be,” Suárez said. “It was a little bit more dramatic with the last-lap pass. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it, honestly. Kyle drove me very clean that day.”
With that win, Suárez became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race and the sixth foreign-born driver to win an Xfinity Series race. The victory came in Suárez’s second Xfinity Series start at Michigan. His average Xfinity Series starting position at Michigan is 8.0 and his average finishing position is 10.5.
The SHR driver 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 a playoff spot and at least one regular-season victory.
Last year, SHR swept both Michigan races with Clint Bowyer capturing the June victory and Kevin Harvick earning the win in August. Bowyer’s June win led a 1-2-3 finish by SHR. The organization has three Michigan victories in all. In addition to the wins by Bowyer and Harvick last year, former SHR driver Kurt Busch earned a June 2015 victory.
DANIEL SUÁREZ, Driver of the No. 41 ARRIS Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Four races to go and you’re on the outside looking in for the playoffs. How do you feel about next few weeks?
“A lot can happen in these last few races. We raced really well at Michigan earlier this year. We have Bristol, we have very good tracks coming up for us. Overall, I feel pretty good about it and hopefully we’ll have good, consistent runs.”
When are you going to win?
“I like that. I’m pretty straightforward, too. The team has been doing a good job and we’re a much better team than we were four months ago. Right now, we have top-five speed, but we have had things happen with a flat tire, loose wheel and things like that. There are some tracks where we are very good and others where we are just good. As a team, we are getting better. We aren’t perfect, but I feel like, eventually, we are going to get there.”