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NASCAR Cup Atlanta II

Suarez: "I wish we had one more shot" at Atlanta win

Until rain cut short his charge to the front Sunday night, it looked like Daniel Suarez could give Trackhouse Racing an improbable third consecutive victory in the NASCAR Cup series.

Two weeks ago, Suarez’s teammate Ross Chastain picked up his first win of the year at Nashville and a week later, Trackhouse’s Project 91 driver Shane van Gisbergen pulled off a stunning victory in his NASCAR debut in the inaugural Chicago Street Race.

After qualifying 26th and a slow start in the race Sunday night, Suarez had patiently made his way to the front to start the final stage thanks to some pit strategy.

Two laps after the restart, William Byron went to the high side of then-leader A.J. Allmendinger and with Suarez tucked in close behind him, was able to pull the outside line ahead and put himself into the lead.

Byron still led with Suarez running second when a caution came out for a two-car wreck on lap 179. Heavy rain finally forced NASCAR to call the race official after 185 of the scheduled 260 laps, which left Suarez with a runner-up finish.

“I feel our race was up and down, but we made a few adjustments and got better. In the first part of the race, we struggled with the balance of the car. Then, we got it better and I was able to drive up into the top 15,” he said.

“But overall, I have mixed feelings because I wish we had one more shot on that last restart to see if we could get ahead.”

Corey LaJoie, Spire Motorsports, Gainbridge Chevrolet Camaro and Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Quaker State Chevrolet Camaro

Corey LaJoie, Spire Motorsports, Gainbridge Chevrolet Camaro and Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Quaker State Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

Although a win is the best way Suarez can assure himself a spot in this season’s playoffs, the second-place finish was still a welcome result in what has been a rollercoaster season for the native of Monterrey, Mexico.

Prior to Sunday night’s race, Suarez had just one previous top-five finish this season – a fourth at Auto Club Speedway in February. He had crashed out of this season’s previous race at Atlanta.

“We have been fast almost everywhere we go but we have made mistakes. I’ve made mistakes and we haven’t been able to get the results that we deserve – that my team deserves, my mechanics deserve, my people deserve,” he said.

“We really needed to get a little bit of air. I feel like that’s what happened today. We were able to have a good solid day and we’ll take it, and we’ll go from there.”

The approaching rain sent teams scrambling midway through the race to come up with adjustments and strategy to get into the best position possible if the race was shortened, which is exactly what happened.

Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Quaker State Chevrolet Camaro

Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Quaker State Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

“I think the rain actually got here later than we were expecting but it worked out OK. I feel like the adjustments got better and better on the car and we were able to gain some positions and at the end of the day we finished second and that wasn’t bad,” Suarez, 31, said.

“Half of the wrecks were in front of me. I feel like there were maybe a couple things we could have done better but it was promising.”

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