Daniel Suárez and the No. 41 Haas Automation Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will race for a win in Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. Suárez’s No. 41 machine will have the traditional red-and-black Haas paint scheme for the second race of the NASCAR playoffs.
Last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, SHR’s weekend as a whole was off to a solid start with all four entries qualifying in positions one through four for Sunday’s race. Teammate Clint Bowyer took the top spot with Suárez earning the outside-front-row starting spot. SHR’s Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola qualified third and fourth, respectively. Earlier this year at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, the four-car SHR contingent also qualified 1-2-3-4. Last Sunday in Las Vegas, Suárez led 29 laps from his No. 2 starting spot, but his night was troubled after receiving damage to both sides of the No. 41 Ford Mustang. He ultimately finished 20th at the 1.5-mile oval.
This weekend at Richmond marks Suárez’s 100th Cup Series start. The 27-year-old native of Monterrey, Mexico, has made his way from racing go-karts as young kid to living in the United States for the last eight years while advancing his racing career. After being noticed by a Joe Gibbs Racing team representative several years ago, Suárez climbed through the ranks from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, to the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series, and the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He won the 2016 Xfinity Series championship en route to the pinnacle of racing stock-car racing – the Cup Series. Suárez is in his third full-time Cup Series season and first with SHR.
At Richmond, Suárez has five career Cup Series starts with two top-10 finishes. Overall, Suárez has an average starting position of 24.8 there, an average finishing position of 12.8, and has completed 99.9 percent of all possible laps. While the track has completed a multi-million-dollar facility makeover, including a renovated infield, the .75-mile Richmond oval remains one of the most action-packed venues each season.
In the Xfinity Series at Richmond, Suárez has six starts with one top-five finish and three top-10s. He has an average starting position of 8.3 and an average finishing position of 11.7. Additionally, Suárez has four Richmond starts from 2011 to 2014 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with a best finish of 20th in 2011.
The Haas Automation driver is currently 17th in the point standings with nine races remaining in the season after accumulating three top-five finishes and nine top-10s, along with 134 laps led. He has an average start of 14.6 and an average finish of 15.0. He earned his second career Cup Series pole, first with the No. 41 team, in July at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
Haas Automation, founded in 1983 by SHR co-owner Gene Haas, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.
DANIEL SUÁREZ, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What goes through your mind when you’re on the track?
“My mind is very clear when I’m on the track. I’m not thinking about anything else other than driving. I’m 100 percent focused. I’m not worried about what I’m going to have for dinner. If I’m worried about something like that, then I’m not doing my job to the best of my ability.”
Not being part of the playoff field, are you racing a little bit differently now that points may not be as important?
“I feel like we had a little different mentality before the playoffs started when we were trying to make them. I don’t think we were as risky, but now we can be. I want to win a race. That’s my goal and that’s my team’s goal. Obviously, we wanted to make the playoffs, but we didn’t, so now we’re focused on winning races. We still have nine opportunities this season to put a race together and end up in victory lane.”