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NASCAR Cup Michigan

Daniel Suarez: "All of us need to relax and have fun"

Making the NASCAR Cup playoffs for a second consecutive season is important to Daniel Suarez but he believes stressing over it only adds another obstacle in his Trackhouse Racing team’s path.

Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Jockey Chevrolet Camaro

Suarez and his No. 99 Chevrolet team secured entry in last year’s playoffs thanks to his first career win at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, but they have yet to reach Victory Lane this year.

An up-and-down season has him sitting 34 points behind the cutoff line to make the 16-driver playoff field with four races remaining.

Suarez, 32, insists this is no time to panic.

“There is a lot of racing left. I told my guys all of us need to relax and have fun. That’s when we perform our best,” he said.

“We have some really good tracks coming up for us. Trackhouse Racing has a great road course program and we have run really well at Daytona and Michigan.”

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta Chevrolet Camaro, Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Quaker State Chevrolet Camaro

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta Chevrolet Camaro, Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Quaker State Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

Both Suarez and his team-mate Ross Chastain earned their first career Cup wins on road courses last year and both have run well on superspeedways. Just over three weeks ago, Suarez finished second at Atlanta.

A win at any of the four remaining races would lock Suarez into the playoffs but he could still feasibly make up the 34-point deficit.

Sunday’s race at Michigan International Speedway could offer a perfect opportunity for a strong run, or better yet a win.

Suarez led 33 laps in last year’s Michigan race and he and Chastain ran first and second with 45 laps to go when they pitted together to make a scheduled green flag stop.

Unfortunately, while in the process of unlapping themselves, Chastain got into Christopher Bell which brought out a caution and trapped both drivers a lap down.

“I really thought Ross and I had great cars that day. That wreck couldn’t have come at a worse time,” Suarez said. “It cost both Ross and I a shot at the victory. My guys gave me a great (car) there last year and I hope we are as fast on Sunday.”

Still multiple pathways to the playoffs

Suarez, the first Mexican-born driver to ever win a Cup race, said he remains convinced no path to the playoffs is out of reach.

“There are a million scenarios that can happen. I try to focus only on what I can control,” he said. “I don’t know that we have to win, but we will see.

“We have to take it one race at a time.”

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