LAS VEGAS – With an impressive runner-up finish in Saturday’s Body Gaming 300 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, Daniel Suarez has inherited the NASCAR XFINITY Series points lead.
It would have taken a miracle for Suarez to pass his dominate Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch for the win at the 1.5-mile Saturday afternoon, but the XFINITY Series superstar said even with his second career XFINITY runner-up finish, there’s much more to be desired than just seeing his name atop of the standings.
“I think it’s too early (to worry about points),” said Suarez. “We are just three races into the season. With the new Chase format, anything can happen. You need to win a race to be safe and lock yourself into the Chase. At the same time, we can win the race and if we don’t have the shot to win the race, we need to keep working with the consistency. It’s something we need to keep working to find more speed and try to win a race to be even more comfortable.”
The Monterrey, Mexico driver is off to a fast start in 2016.
Three races into the season, the driver of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry has captured one top-five and three top-10 finishes, including starting inside the top-five in all three starts.
In fact, the three-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series winner hasn’t finished outside the top-10 since a 23rd-place finish at Kentucky Speedway last September.
With consistency on his side, unofficially, heading to Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway next weekend, Suarez has a slim three-point advantage over veteran Elliott Sadler and seven overall to Richard Childress Racing’s Ty Dillon.
Patience will soon award Suarez a victory in the series and when it happens it will be big and plentiful. But in the meantime, it’s business as usual for the 24-year-old phenom, as he continues to praise his team for giving him exceptionally fast race cars.
In return, Suarez has delivered while gathering the attention of many from across the NASCAR globe asserting it’s not a matter of if, but when he takes his first checkered flag.
When you think about it, Daniel Suarez hasn’t been around NASCAR all that too long. In his short time in the XFINTIY Series in particular, just 38 races to be exact – Suarez has shown the ability to learn and learn quickly while also showing the speed and finesse it takes in order to be successful.
Those characteristics alone make Suarez an early favorite for the XFINITY championship. Winless or not.
Even Las Vegas winner Kyle Busch thinks so.
“Daniel (Suarez) is one of the guys that probably calls me, talks to me more than any of the other drivers I’ve helped come up through the ranks,” said Busch. “He always wants to learn, always wants to get better, always wants to get better and know what he’s missing in order to be better. I give him an A for effort, he certainly does everything he’s supposed to do to try to get better. I think he’s just getting more and more opportunities running the XFINITY cars and running the Trucks to be able to put that to good use on the race track and show that he has good skill.
“A-plus for effort, for sure.”