DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 18 ARRIS Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How does it feel to race at Mid-Ohio for the first time?
“First timer in Mid-Ohio and I’m really looking forward for this race track. I feel like it’s a very, very technical race track. You need to have forward speed, a lot, a lot of patience, so let’s see – let’s see how everything works out. Hopefully, it will be better than last week.”
What challenges do you face racing at a track for the first time?
“I feel like we can be strong in road course racing. I like road course racing a lot and I think over the next run that we can be strong – we’re strong everywhere. I just feel like I just made a mistake. I got too excited last weekend too early and after that we were not as strong as the first car for some reason. Then we had problems, so I need to be a little bit more relaxed, a little bit more patient and wait for things to come to me and I think things are going to work out better this week. Let’s see. I have a different plan for this weekend. Hopefully, we can make it work and see where we end up racing today and tomorrow at the front.”
Do you think you’re more likely to get your first win on a road course or oval track?
“I really think it can come on a road course. I like road course racing a lot. In some way or another, it’s my background. When I was 11 years old – from 11 all the way up to 17 – I was racing just road course racing, so I like road course racing a lot. When we get to these opportunities and when we got on this month, I was excited as a kid, so I’m really looking forward for this race and we all are and let’s see what happens. We are going to need more than just to be fast. Like I said, be smart, have a lot of patience and have good calls from the box from my team, which I think we’re going to be good in that way. We have to start with the right foot instead of with the left one like last week.”
We’re you surprised to finish so well in your first race at Bristol Motor Speedway?
“For some reason – I don’t know why – but I like concrete a lot. I feel very good racing concrete – Bristol, Dover, all these race tracks I feel like my first time ever I was good. I think that’s a good point because when you know what to expect a little bit on the race track and at Bristol – Bristol is good with me for some reason, so we have a very good feel for the race. We’re really good in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and we’re looking forward to being as good or stronger.”
Does the Dash for Cash add any pressure at Bristol?
“That’s cool. I think if I win that thing, I’m going to buy some old cars. I don’t know. It’s an extra push. We will work hard anyway. The whole thing is very professional and it doesn’t matter what we’ve got in front, we do 100 percent to try to go out there, to be competitive to try to win races and to be strong. Normally, you put all of this program on the table, that makes everything even more exciting.”
Is there any particular part of the Mid-Ohio track that interests you?
“The slow part of the race track is in the corner – three – over hand left, right, left, right, up and down hill. I think that is going to be very interesting. Like I said, I’ve never been here before. I know that a lot of area of the race track is difficult to pass – almost impossible. You’re going to need to be very, very patient. It looks like sometimes when I was racing go karts a lot of people – friends – they told me when you look slow, it means that you’re going fast and I think that If I know this race track, that’s the case. You need to go slow to be fast with the lap, so I think like I mentioned before this is a very technical race track even though I’ve never been here before and I feel like we can be pretty strong with our ARRIS No. 18 Toyota in this first opportunity here, so let’s see.”
Is your karting experience comparable?
“I don’t know. It’s very different, but go kart racing when I was young – I was 11, 15 years old – and for some reason with go kart racing the tracks aren’t very fast. They are very technical – all of them for some reason. It doesn’t lend itself to be a very fast race track – not very technical – and this one is I feel like this is the opposite way. It has fast corners – a couple of them – but everything else is very technical, so that makes the kind of racing you can kind of race – more patient racing to wait for the mistake of someone else, so I think we’re going to be in good shape. I need to be more patient than last week and I think we can do that.
Do you know much about Adrian Fernandez?
“I know him. I know him very well. We’re close friends. He lives in Miami. I really think he’s a superhero in Mexico. My family doesn’t come from racing, so when I started getting into racing he was probably racing Champ Car or IndyCar or something and I was focusing a lot on his racing career and everywhere he went. I got the opportunity to meet him a few years ago in Phoenix and he was really good. He’s a very good driver, a very good person and hopefully we can continue with that good racing program here at Mid-Ohio with NASCAR, so let’s see.”
Is your schedule set for 2016?
“We’re still working on it. We’re still working for next year, the following year, but everything is still there. Everything is still there and hopefully we can get some opportunities like this year. I really enjoy a lot Joe Gibbs Racing, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series. This year, I feel like that’s helped a lot with the few race tracks that I knew before, so I’m really looking forward for next year to be as busy as this one, but for now we still with a lot of races and with a lot of important things left for this year, so I’m very sure I’m with the right people and I have people in my life holding my back that they’re going to take care of too and help with my future for 2016.”