Toyota Racing – Daniel Suárez
NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
LAS VEGAS (February 21, 2020) – Gaunt Brothers Racing driver Daniel Suárez was made available to media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
DANIEL SUÁREZ, No. 96 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota Camry, Gaunt Brothers Racing
Do you come to this race with something to prove after missing the Daytona 500?
“We have a lot of work to do. We are pretty much a brand-new team. We’re still building. It’s kind of funny because every time I go to the shop, I see somebody new. I showed up early this morning with the guys and I said nice to meet you to a couple guys. We’re still building the team and I have a lot of confidence in Marty Gaunt and Toyota Racing. Some of these sponsors have been with me for a while now – Coca-Cola, Commscope. I feel like we have everything is up to the people. I feel we have very good people around us. We just have to be patient and work hard, keep our head up and try to improve every weekend.”
How do you approach Las Vegas this weekend?
“I have to take it step by step. I am very used to specific lap times and seeing myself in the top 10 and right now it’s not that. I have to start building that. It’s going to be a process, but I feel like I’m with the right people to do it. Toyota has played a huge role. Marty Gaunt and all of the rest of the sponsors. I feel like we have a lot of great people around us, but that’s what it’s all about. Having good people around us to make it happen.”
How do you approach qualifying here?
“Qualifying is going to be kind of simple, if it doesn’t rain, right. Most of the cars are going to be able to go wide open for one lap. We’re still working hard to be able to go just as fast as some other guys. I feel good about it, honestly. I’m not even concerned about qualifying. I feel like tomorrow is going to rain, so I don’t want to think about that. All my energy is into the race.”
What was it like sitting on the sidelines for the Daytona 500, what did you do?
“It was not fun. It doesn’t really hit you all the way until Sunday. It’s kind of weird. I told the guys, ‘This is no fun, I hope I never have to do it again.’ I had a lot of sponsor obligations and friends coming to the race so I tried to do the same thing I would do if I was racing.”
Do you get fueled to move forward?
“I felt like every single time you hit bottom, there’s one way to go. I feel like we have a long way to go. We have to keep working hard and hopefully with baby steps in the right direction.”
Is this the chapter to restart your career?
“I think so. Especially for the people that help me. Many people might think I’m crazy but having Toyota and having somebody – maybe you don’t really know him – but Marty Gaunt is a class act person. Having him as an owner and the vision that he has and myself, we know where we are at. We know how fast we are moving forward, and we know where we want to go. If you have all these key people moving in the same direction, there’s no reason why it won’t happen.”
Would you take another opportunity if it became available, like filling in for an injured driver?
“It never even crossed my mind. I can guarantee you something, I won’t drive anything that is not Toyota from now on. I’m very married to them. They have worked with me and the class act they are. When all this went down last year, I was talking to them the next day. They put the bar extremely high and I’m extremely loyal to them. I feel very, very lucky to be with such an amazing group.”
Would you fill in for another Toyota team?
“You never know, but right now my focus is on Gaunt Brothers Racing and Marty Gaunt, Toyota, CommScope, Coca-Cola and to make this team better every single weekend. We’re still building, we’re still hiring people and trying to get new cars. We’re still building everything. My goal is in six months from now we’ll talk about the team that nobody knew and wasn’t even making races. Talking about that team that is going to be competing up front.”
How did you approach practice knowing qualifying may get rained out?
“I don’t think position really matters. These are very long races. You just have to be good in traffic, good in clean air. Good in the short run, good in the long run. If you can have a good package, it doesn’t really matter if you are in the back or the front. To avoid going a lap down is extremely important. That doesn’t really bother me much. I’m just trying to focus on making my car drive better and make my car last longer. If I can do that, I feel like we can be in good shape.”
When you look back on 2020, what defines a successful season?
“To improve every single weekend. If we start racing 30th, the
n 25th and we can improve every weekend, I feel like we can be good. I feel like we have everything to be able to do that. A lot of things are going to change through the year, especially with all the changes we’re going to have for next year. We just have to be smart and hopefully by the end of the year we can be more in the top 10.”
Do you have a favorite Ryan Newman moment?
“He’s a good guy, a good friend. (Ryan Newman) is a car guy, I’m a car guy. We always make fun of each other a lot. He’s a tough racer – he’s very well known for that. I like Ryan and I’m very happy he’s going to be around for a long time.”
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