Suarez joined the new Trackhouse Racing organization in the offseason – a group co-owned by former driver Justin Marks and Grammy Award-winning rapper Armando Christian “Pitbull” Pérez.
The team was basically started from scratch in large part on the promise of a far more economic ownership model coming in 2022 with the introduction of the Gen-7 car in the Cup Series.
In the meantime, the team is working to build a solid foundation, whether it be with its pit crew, shop personnel, sponsors and marketing brand.
The potential is there
The performance thus far on the track has been frustrating for Suarez, the 2016 Xfinity Series champion and first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race.
“I think just like any other new group, we have a lot of potential. We have shown that. But at the same time there are a lot of things that we have to work on and be better,” Suarez, 29, said. “I’m the kind of person that I always try to focus on the things that are bad instead of the things that are good.
“I see that things are good, and I say, ‘Okay, that’s good’ now let’s work on the things that are not so good. I’ve been working very hard with my whole group in different areas to try to be better in communication with the spotter and the whole group, because it’s a brand-new group.
“I feel the potential is there, but there are a lot of little things that we’re going to have to clean up to be able to be consistently in the Top 10 and Top 15 and eventually hopefully be knocking on the door to race for wins.”
The season-opening Daytona 500 got off to a rough start when Suarez was one of more than a dozen cars caught up in an accident just 13 laps into the race.
Building a notebook
He followed that with a 16th-place finish on the Daytona Road Course and 15th at Homestead before a disappointing 26th-place effort at Las Vegas.
“At this point of the season, I wish we were having at least a couple of practices. That would be golden for our team right now because the whole thing is brand new and we get to practice on the simulator, put that set-up on the real car, go to the race track and hope for the best,” Suarez said.
“If for some reason the simulator was off, we’re going to be off the rest of the day in the race. And that’s exactly what happened in Las Vegas. It’s one of those things that we’re just still learning.
“We are building our notebook and we’re learning from each other and I feel like my team has a lot of potential. But we’re in the learning process at this point.”