Ford Performance NASCAR: Kentucky (Daniel Suarez Pole Winner Press Conference)

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Friday, July 12, 2019

Quaker State 400 Cup Series Qualifying – Pole Winner Press Conference

DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang – Qualified 1st

HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING FOR YOUR FIRST WIN TOMORROW? “I feel pretty good about it. The whole day has been pretty smooth today. The 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang has been pretty quick. We haven’t done a lot to it. It is big when you unload the car from the hauler and the car is fast out of the box. I feel very good about it. My crew chief and my engineer have done an amazing job. My entire team building this race car. We showed speed today so hopefully we can keep up that track position. Track position will be huge tomorrow. Hopefully we can keep it all night long and make a good clean race. I feel like we have everything it takes to make it happen so why not. We have had a lot of first time winners lately, why not have a third one here.”

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YOU WERE PRETTY RELAXED OUT THERE TALKING BEFORE YOU MADE YOUR RUN, DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW FAST YOU WERE GOING TO BE? “Actually no. I was comfortable because we showed a lot of speed in race trim but these impound races are really tricky because you work so hard in race trim and then you make one Q trim run and you hope for the best. You don’t really set up your car for one lap. You set up your car for race trim and you hope that qualifying trim is going to be good enough. That is exactly what we did. When we did our Q run in first practice we were one of the fastest cars out there. We knew the car was really fast but we didn’t know exactly how it was going to be in Q trim. We knew track position would be extremely important tomorrow and we had a fast car but we didn’t know exactly how fast. To be honest, as soon as I opened my lap and went through corner 1 and 2 I knew I had a rocket. I didn’t know if it would make the pole but luckily I made it and I didn’t make my team look bad because the car was extremely fast.”

YOU MENTIONED FIRST TIME WINNERS, IS THAT MOTIVATION FOR YOU? “I really see it as motivation, especially Alex Bowman. Alex is a great friend and we have been racing together since 2011 when I moved here. I remember trying to talk to him when I didn’t even speak english. I was very happy for him a couple weeks ago when he got his first win. I see that more as motivation and that things come at the right time. I feel like this race team has been working extremely hard to be where we are at right now and I don’t feel like we are exactly where we need to be yet. I feel like we are moving in the right direction but I do know that we haven’t won races this year yet. We have had fast race cars but we can not close the deal. I feel like we are getting better and better and bringing faster race cars to the track but we have to take advantage of those situations. I really feel like my 41 Ford Mustang this weekend is probably the best car that I have had in the last month and a half or so. Hopefully we run a smart race and make it happen.”

YOU RAN WELL AT TEXAS AND PEOPLE COMPARE THIS TRACK TO TEXAS. BASED ON HOW YOU DID IN TEXAS, DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS WAS A POTENTIAL GOOD SPOT FOR YOU? “Texas was very good to us. Michigan was very good to us. We have had good races but the last few weeks we have been struggling a little bit just trying to find that little extra. We know that we have had the speed to run in the top-10 and sometimes top-five but we haven’t had a winning car just yet. The last few weeks we have been trying different stuff and trying to find that extra push. Unfortunately that didn’t work out how we wanted it to work out and it put us in a difficult situation in the points – not a difficult situation but not as good as we were a month ago. Now we have decided to go where we know we are fast and are showing that. We just have to be patient and keep working. We have a long way to go when it comes to improving still but I know that we are moving in the right direction.”

DANIEL SUAREZ CONTINUED — WHAT IS THE RELEVANCE OF THIS POLE TO YOU? “It is a lot of fun for my guys. Sometimes you need a little bit of extra motivation. Not just myself but the entire team. We have had a fast race car and we have been qualifying in the top-five and top-10 almost every week but the last few weeks they were rough to us. The reason for that is because we have been trying different stuff but it wasn’t really better. We know the reason. Sometimes even knowing the reason you feel a little down because you want those results. I was extremely happy to see a lot of people smiling in the 41 group after the pole. I know it is just the starting position and we don’t get a trophy for that but we know that we have a very fast race car in race trim as well and hopefully we can show that tomorrow night.”

WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE STARTING AT THE FRONT HERE IN PARTICULAR? “As you saw in practice, most of the drivers have mentioned that track position is huge. Not just here but everywhere we go. I feel we are one step ahead. We have track position and a good pit stall and now it is up to me to make a good, clean, mistake free race and have fun. I am sure my crew chief will call a good race as always.”

STEWART-HAAS WAS THE TEAM TO BEAT LAST YEAR. IS THERE PRESSURE ON YOU TO DELIVER THE FIRST WIN OF THE YEAR? “Stewart_Haas, in my opinion, was the best team last year. Racing is like a roller coaster. In every level of racing. Sometimes you are at the top and the next weekend you can be at the bottom. The competition changes so much. Drivers, teams, cars, rules. It is a consistent change and a consistent keeping up with things. This year, unfortunately we are a little bit behind. That doesn’t mean we didn’t work hard enough in the off-season, it just means whatever bet we made in the off-season didn’t pay off. That is the reason why we have struggled a little bit in the first month of the season. I am extremely impressed with the people involved at Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford Performance because when things are good I know they work hard but when things are not very good they work extremely hard. We have had long meetings and long conversations about what we need and where we need to improve. I feel very proud to be a part of this team. I know that we are not exactly where we need to be just yet but I know we are heading in the right direction and hopefully we can show that tomorrow night.”

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