Daniel Suárez and the No. 41 Ruckus Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head all the way out to Northern California for this Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway. The event located in the heart of Wine Country marks the 16th this season. For the third time in 2019, the Mexico native will pilot the Ruckus-themed Mustang.
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In the Cup Series’ most recent event two weekends ago, Suárez earned a fourth-place finish in the rain-delayed race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The 27-year-old enjoyed the off week back home in Mexico visiting family and friends, toying with restored vintage cars at his dad’s restoration shop, and getting behind the wheel of a go-kart for a little fun. The Ford driver took advantage of the chance to relax before the Cup Series begins its summer stretch, which continues each weekend until the final off weekend at the end of August.
Suárez will make his third Cup Series start at Sonoma this weekend and, for the first time there, the Ford driver will not also run in a NASCAR companion series during the weekend. He’s earned Cup Series finishes of 16th and 15th, with an average starting position of 13.5 and has completed all 220 possible laps. He’s made two K&N Pro Series West starts at the California road course with finishes of 11th and fourth. The Sonoma track is the first road-course event of the season, the next slated for Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in August.
For this first time since 1998, the Cup Series will utilize Sonoma’s series of turns called “The Carousel,” which will extend a lap from 1.99 miles to 2.52 miles. Suárez sees the course change as an advantage for him, given his lack of experience at Sonoma compared to his SHR teammates. “I have less experience than my teammates and a lot of the drivers in the Cup Series,” the Ruckus driver said. “So, for me, as many changes that you can do to a car, or as many changes that you can do to a racetrack, for me, is better because it’s like resetting everything a little bit.”
Suárez is 13th in the Cup Series standings with 401 points to round out the four-car SHR contingent in the standings. The top 16 drivers after the 26 regular-season races will earn a spot in the NASCAR playoffs. Through 15 points-paying events last year, Suárez was 21st in the standings with one top-five and four top-10s.
In total this season, the Ruckus driver has earned two top-five finishes and six top-10s and has led 52 laps behind the wheel of the No. 41 Ford Mustang. Team co-owner Tony Stewart earned SHR’s first win at Sonoma in 2016 and Suárez’s teammate Kevin Harvick captured the victory in 2017.
Ruckus, a technology provider, and SHR, a racing organization, both ultimately strive to achieve the same goals – to operate at high performance. Ruckus provides secure and reliable access to applications and services, and offers a complete offering of high-performance network equipment. The company’s portfolio includes Wi-Fi controllers, indoor and outdoor access points, switches, network access security, and support and services.
DANIEL SUÁREZ, Driver of the No. 41 Ruckus Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
How do you think you have acclimated to being part of the team at SHR from the beginning of the year until now?
“I think it has been very good. I feel like everyone has been extremely good to me and we work very well together. I have great teammates with Clint (Bowyer), Kevin (Harvick) and Aric (Almirola). We have a great group and I am very happy to be part of it. I wish we were winning races, all four of us. We aren’t there, yet. I know we are going to get there. That is something I know. I know it is going to happen. We just have to be patient and keep working hard.”
Based on what you have experienced in your time in the sport, what advice would you give to your younger self – both in life lessons and career lessons?
“Just to be good with everyone because you never know where the opportunity will come from. And to work extremely hard because this is a tough sport. There are just 40 seats in the Cup Series and there are thousands and thousands of drivers in the United States and even more in Latin America. There are a lot of young drivers coming up and good talent coming up, so you have to be on top of your game. It’s not just driving the racecar, it is mental, as well, and other things outside of the racetrack. So, I always say that it’s important to be a good package, not just to drive the racecar.”