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July 29, 2018

Daniel Suarez

Long Pond, Pennsylvania

THE MODERATOR: Now coming to the stage is Daniel SuƔrez, driver of the No.19 Stanley Toyota, who finished second today. It's a career best finish for him. Just an FYI for you guys, we're having some technical difficulties communicating with the press box so they're texting me questions, so we'll open with one from the press box for you. With your performance today, how do you feel about going to Watkins Glen next weekend, the site of your previous best finish before today's race, and maybe getting that win to put you into the playoffs?
DANIEL SUƁREZ: Yeah, actually I was just talking about that, how good is this result for our race team and for everyone in the 19 group because we know how good we run in the Glen, and we had a good result my first time there in the Cup car. We are not expecting anything less. We have good momentum right now on our side, and hopefully we can keep that going.
Today was a solid day. Yesterday was, as well, very positive. Just very proud of my team, and we just have to take advantage of that and keep working hard.

Q. I know yesterday you were talking about the fact that you guys were improving from first practice to second practice all the way through qualifying, and now it seems like this was your most complete race. You start on pole, end up finishing second. What positives can you take from this weekend as you roll into the rest of this regular season?
DANIEL SUƁREZ: You know, a lot of times this year we've been in the situation where we have good top‑10 car in the beginning of the race, and then you have to make adjustments. You can't stay without touching the car because everyone gets better, and if you don't do a good job making good adjustments in your race car, you are going to get behind. And I felt like in the last couple months maybe‑‑ I don't really know why, but for whatever reason we haven't done a good job keeping up with the track and making adjustments, and we start good the race but then we just‑‑ we are not as strong by the end of the race. That is what really matters. It's something I'm very proud of this weekend is that the first practice we were okay, second practice we were better, we qualified well. We raced in the start of the race, we were okay, and then we were a little bit bad. We made some adjustments in a couple of stops and we got the car better. So that for me means a lot, how well the communication was working today to make good adjustments in the race car, to keep ourselves in front.
That was something good, and that's why I'm very proud of my team.

Q. Five of the top seven finishers are either 26 or younger, so it looks like they were finally all the younger drivers are finally stepping up to the task and trying to beat the big 3. I asked the other drivers if they felt that way. Do you feel like that's kind of happening coming into the second half of the season, maybe the younger guys are going to start winning races?
DANIEL SUƁREZ: Well, it was about time. I feel like we are late. But you know, Kyle, Martin, Kevin, they are great drivers, a lot of experience with great race teams. They have the whole package, and sometimes for a newer driver it's a little bit more difficult to build that package, and I feel like it takes time. It's not like a switch that you just have to turn it on and you are going to be running great. It takes time, and it's a process.
You know, I feel like last year actually at this point of the season we were running stronger than right now, but right now we've been working extremely hard to keep our speed through the race, not just start with speed and then lose some of it.
Just proud of my team. Hopefully we can take advantage of this and move forward and hopefully we can be one of the race teams that breaks that big three guys and gets the win.

Q. Was it a group decision to pit all five Toyotas before the end of Stage 2, and do you think that that changed the course of the race?
DANIEL SUƁREZ: I don't really know. You know, I haven't had an opportunity to talk to my crew chief with a lot of detail. But they are in communication all the time. You know, in the beginning of the race, the 11 and myself were doing kind of the same thing, and the 20 was doing something different. Sometimes they work things out together, and sometimes we decide to do something different.
But it seemed like this time it worked out well for all of us because we know that between us we can race aggressive and clean at the same time. I guess that obviously helped a little bit.

Q. You probably know what's coming; I asked you on the grid in English, but can you say in Spanish what this weekend has meant for you in your career?
DANIEL SUƁREZ: Sure. (Answer given in Spanish.) Gracias.

Q. Obviously you had two late restarts there where you were second on the restart. What was going through your mind after the long red flag there, I'm sure thinking that that would be the last chance, and then again having that overtime restart?
DANIEL SUƁREZ: You know, man, sometimes as a driver you're on offense or you are on defense, and myself in the second part of the race, I was the most of the time on offense, and I was just attacking as hard as I can. Many times my spotter was telling me what was going on behind me, and one or two times I was very, very close to telling him, hey, I don't care what's going on behind me, just tell me what's going on with the 18.
You know, we did a good job. I feel like we put ourselves in position. We just have to put ourselves in position more often. If this starts to happen often, we are going to get one. We just have to keep working hard, and maybe next time we can get a little bit more help from behind. I feel like that was all it was going to take, just a little bit more push.
The last restart it was very good on my side. I was side drafting the 18 very well. I was even with him, and because we were even, the 20 was coming with a big run, and when I saw him coming, I started blocking him but instead of pushing me he decided to try to take the lead, as well, and after that obviously it was‑‑ I put myself in attack mode but defense mode at the same time. I knew it was going to be a little bit difficult, but we were able to recover the second place.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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