Daniel Suarez in Atlanta Motor Speedway victory lane. (David Moulthrop Photo)

Suarez On Atlanta Win: ‘This Is Only The Beginning’ 

Trackhouse Racing co-owner Justin Marks made it clear on Sunday night — Daniel Suarez is highly regarded within the organization. 

“I don’t envision necessarily a situation where Daniel is not a driver for Trackhouse Racing,” Marks said after Suarez’s thrilling three-wide photo-finish victory in NASCAR Cup Series competition at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

With this season being the final year of Suarez’s contract with Trackhouse Racing, there has been speculation as to whether the 32-year-old may potentially be on his way out the door. 

“Does that mean that this is Daniel’s audition? No,” Marks stated. “It means that basically we are working on growing this company and making Trackhouse one of the powerhouse perennial championship-contending companies in this sport.”

While those questions arose entering this season with the addition of rookie drivers Shane van Gisbergen and Zane Smith to the Trackhouse Racing team, Suarez remained steadfast. 

“I never felt like I was in the hot seat,” Suarez admitted. “A lot of people was talking about it. Shane (van Gisbergen) coming on board and then Zane (Smith) coming on board. But I never felt bad.”

After a victory at California’s Sonoma Raceway and playoff berth in 2022, last season was admittedly a step back for Suarez.

The No. 99 team missed the playoffs and went winless while teammate Ross Chastain earned a playoff berth and won twice. 

The three-wide finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway between Ryan Blaney (12), Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez. (David Moulthrop Photo)

“I knew that last year wasn’t the year that I really wanted,” Suarez said. “I work — people that actually know me, they know how hard I actually work, and last year we worked hard, but we were not efficient. 

“We were missing something. We were not firing on all eight cylinders. In the offseason we went to work and we changed a little bit our system, the way we do things in a few areas, and I’ve been telling Ty (Norris), I’ve been telling Justin (Marks), saying, ‘Man, I can feel the team strong, I can feel the communication, the preparation, everything that we have, Squid, Matt Swiderski (crew chief) has done a hell of a job helping me to build a strong team, and I can feel it. I can feel it.’”

Sure enough after two races, Suarez has already broken through with a playoff berth likely.

“I’m happy that we were able to do it early in the season because some people actually told me earlier, ‘Hey, now you can relax, you’re in the playoffs.’”

Suarez has eyes on more victories.

“Hell no. My goal is not to win one race. I want to head into the playoffs with at least a handful — with a few wins to be able to contend for a championship,” Suarez said.

“This is not relaxing here. This is only the beginning. We have to continue to work, continue to build.

“We know that there are a few things that we could have done a little bit better today. We’ll learn from that, and we’ll continue to build.”

Heading into a still fresh Cup Series season, Suarez was firm in his belief — having the No. 99 Chevrolet in victory lane a reoccurring event throughout the year.  

“I’m happy that we are secure in the playoffs, but to be able to win the championship, you won’t do it winning one or two races,” Suarez said. “You have to win at least a handful of races to create points, and that’s the goal for the 99.

“The goal for me with the 99 is for you guys not to be surprised when the 99 is in victory lane.”