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November 17, 2016

Daniel Suarez

Q. A year ago did you think you would be in this position right now?
DANIEL SUAREZ: Well, obviously I was trying to work hard to be in this position. The goal of it all was to be in this position, so it's very cool to see how hard work this year has been paying off. I feel like we have had a pretty strong season so far. A lot of learning still, but pretty successful season winning races and being competitive and racing at the front most of the time. That's something really good that I feel like my entire team has been doing an awesome job.
But now we have the most important race of the year, so trying to finish even stronger the year, and hopefully with a championship.

Q. How have you been Americanized in the last 12 months, I mean, since you moved up into ‑‑
DANIEL SUAREZ: I'm in Huntersville. I live very close to the shop. I like to spend a lot of time in the shop with the guys, learning about the car and learning how to get better. So one of my priorities is just to live close to the shop. I've been doing that for the last couple years, and actually I just loved to a different place, and I'm still very close to the shop. That's just something that I really like.

Q. How important is it for you to have a life outside the racetrack? When you left Phoenix how important was it for you to have your own time to gather your thoughts?
DANIEL SUAREZ: I think it's important, more when you are coming to the most important race of the season. I think it's going to be definitely a big weekend for us. I think everyone on the 19 group has been working super hard to try to make this happen, and you know, we put ourselves in this position. We wanted to be here, so hopefully this is just the beginning of a really strong and successful weekend.

Q. You said you still have a lot to learn. You have won races this year, you've won poles, you're contending for a championship. What's still left for you to learn?
DANIEL SUAREZ: There is something. There is always something there. I feel like we are strong enough to try to win this championship, but it's going to be always something there that you can do better or you can do different. Racing with the Cup guys, you always learn something, and that's something very important that we are going to be having fun this weekend with some of the Cup drivers and as well with the regular XFINITY drivers to try to battle for this championship.

Q. Have you talked to Erik at all as far as being teammates? It kind of puts you in a different position. You have the Gibbs teammates on the Cup side, as well, but have you guys talked and discussed about how you look at it so there's no hard feelings going into Saturday's race?
DANIEL SUAREZ: Well, we know already. We didn't talk previous to this weekend, but we know already that we are going to help each other as much as we can before the race, and once we get into the race, everyone is on his own, and we know that, and we understand that. There is just one trophy, and there are two drivers, two friends here.
We have to take care by ourselves and move forward. I feel like he's going to be strong. He knows that I'm going to be strong, so we are going to have some fun racing hard.
I think maybe it's going to be the time, the race that we are going to race the hardest from the entire year. Most of the time that we are racing against each other, and if he's going a little faster than me and I know that, I let him go, or vice versa. If he knows I'm going a little faster than him, he lets me go. That won't be the case this coming back.

Q. You have a lot of your family here apparently and you brought up your mechanics from your racing back in México, but if you bring this trophy home and bring it to Monterrey, what does that mean from a global standpoint? Have you arrived in NASCAR? Has NASCAR arrived in México? Is it one big happy global family?
DANIEL SUAREZ: Yeah, at the end of the day, NASCAR, México, U.S., Canada, doesn't matter where, we are a family. We are one family. That's something very important. Yeah, I'm from a different country, but we are from the same family, and I'm just really proud to be racing here in NASCAR in the U.S., very proud to be battling right now for this championship. Hopefully I can get an opportunity to win the championship and have some fun, have some fun with everyone that has been supporting me a lot here in the U.S., in México, and the entire Latin American people.

Q. Do you look up to the Sprint Cup drivers that are in the top four for the championship? What do you see in them, and what would you like to maybe take from them as you make your way up in NASCAR?
DANIEL SUAREZ: Well, one of them‑‑ actually two of them, the two of them that are battling for the championship on the Cup side, they are like my mentors, both of them. They've been helping me a lot, and they are very good friends of mine, and I feel like both of them are good drivers. It's going to be a lot of fun to watch that race on Saturday, and hopefully one day I can be battling for a championship with them, as well.

Q. At Joe Gibbs Racing you guys are kind of‑‑ next year you guys are kicking in the Kyle Busch rule in the XFINITY Series where they're not going to have as many Cup guys in there. How do you think that's going to affect you in the series?
DANIEL SUAREZ: Well, it all depends how you look at it, but definitely to have Cup drivers in the NASCAR XFINITY Series is good because as a driver you improve yourself better, but sometimes it's more difficult to win. For sure you guys will see more XFINITY drivers winning races, but I think it was a lot of fun racing with those guys. Yeah, it was more difficult to win, but as a driver we're getting better faster. One day you want to make it to the Cup level, you have to race those guys. Those guys, they are going to be there, and they are going to be with the best stuff.
I think it's a good call for NASCAR, but at the same time sometimes I feel like I'm going to miss them a little bit some races.

Q. I know you've talked to Kyle and Carl a lot throughout the year. Have you had a chance to talk to them this week about Homestead, or are they too busy with the Cup side?
DANIEL SUAREZ: They are very busy, but I will talk to them today. Today is a little relaxed day for them, so I will talk to them. Like I said, I have a very good relationship with both of them, and I'm sure that as soon as I call them, they're going to answer the phone and answer every question that I have for them. But I haven't talked to them because I know that they've been crazy, and I know how it feels you being crazy and somebody asking you questions. But that's part of racing. I feel like everyone, even you guys, you guys have been crazy busy this week, and you guys are going to be even worse this weekend. But it's going to be a lot of fun, and we all enjoy it.

Q. You're the only XFINITY Chase Championship Four that has extra seat time this weekend, running the truck race on Friday night, too. Does that put you at an advantage?
DANIEL SUAREZ: Yeah, for sure, big time, and I feel like we are going to take that to our advantage big time and hopefully we can get some extra time for Saturday. Definitely I'm going to be a little tired, but that's normal. I'm young and I'm strong and I'm in good shape. Let's take it for the good way, get some extra time in the wall, racing in the wall, and try to win this thing.

Q. Obviously the big win in the Truck Series last weekend and then the good finish at Phoenix in the XFINITY Series gives you that kind of edge with momentum, don't you think?
DANIEL SUAREZ: That's right. Well, the 19 group in the XFINITY Series is just unbelievable, the work that they have done the entire Chase. A lot of top 5s. If it's not just top 5s, the entire Chase format, just unbelievable the momentum that we have. I feel like we are just the best team consistency wise, momentum wise right now. Hopefully we can keep that up for this weekend.

Q. Last week FOX Sports unveiled a piece called Sueños de NASCAR about basically you coming up in Monterrey. Did you get a chance to see it, and if so, do you have thoughts on it?
DANIEL SUAREZ: I saw it, and I made it. I was part of it, obviously. Yeah, it was something very cool, had a lot of fun doing that. I guess it was a piece that I really enjoyed to show to the fans because it was a lot of fun making that, and it was a lot of fun watching it, and I just enjoy a lot to receive hundreds of good comments from the fans and from the people that support me and that have been supporting my racing career in the last several years.

Q. I thought it was an excellent piece; it really captured your career and really the drive and sacrifices that had to be made in order to succeed. We're racing on the tire from Texas this weekend. You finished fifth there. How did the tire feel to you in Texas?
DANIEL SUAREZ: It was weird. It wasn't great, but I feel like everyone had the same feeling with the tire for some reason. It's a dual‑zone tire. It's a tire very sensitive. But it's the same for everyone, so we're going to be just fine.

Q. By sensitive, do you mean line sensitive, temperature sensitive?
DANIEL SUAREZ: Temperature sensitive.

Q. Growing up in México, who was your racing idol?
DANIEL SUAREZ: When I was very young, I didn't have one, and then when I started getting more into racing, maybe Adrian Fernandez was one of them.

Q. When you beat Kyle Busch at Michigan for your first win, how did that feel?
DANIEL SUAREZ: It felt very good because Kyle Busch, he's one of those drivers that had been like my mentor, that had been helping me a lot through my racing career in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, so it was pretty good to beat my teacher from one year before that in one important race. That felt very good.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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