Daniel Suárez 2023 season in review


Daniel Suarez looks on holding a coca-cola
James Gilbert
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Editor’s note: This continues a series where we review the top 20 drivers in 2023 NASCAR Cup Series points.

Season in review: Daniel Suárez
No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet
Crew Chief: Travis Mack
Final 2023 Ranking: 19th
Key stats: 0 wins, three top fives, 10 top 10s, 48 laps led, one pole position

How 2023 ended: After an up-and-down regular season, Suárez missed the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and earned a pair of top-10 finishes — an eighth place at Texas followed the next week with a 10th place at Talladega — while finishing outside the top 30 three times in that final 10-race stretch. He led laps — 12 at Kansas — once in that span and finished 19th in the championship standings following a 10th-place showing in the 2022 title run.

RELATED: Chase Elliott, Daniel Suárez end up just short of playoff-clinching win at Indy

Best race: Primarily considering finishing order, Suárez peaked with a fourth-place showing at California Speedway in the second race of the season. His highest laps-led output was 12 laps at both Michigan in the summer and then the Kansas playoff race.

Other season highlights: The popular Mexican-born driver started the season in much of the way he finished the previous — out front. He opened the year with three consecutive top-10 finishes — including a career-best seventh place in the Daytona 500, a season-best fourth place at California and then 10th place at Las Vegas meaning he was ranked fourth in the championship standings heading to Phoenix to close out the early-season West Coast Swing. He finished outside the top 20 in the next five races, however, putting the team in rebound mode by the start of the summer.

Stat to Know: Suárez earned the pole position for the August race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his first pole in four seasons and the third of his career. His average starting position in 2023 of 16.6 is third best in his seven-year Cup Series career.

Quotable: “Sometimes you have years that things go your way and you can see the results and growth and sometimes you have seasons that are signs of lessons you have to take to be able to improve. Everything is a roller-coaster and everything is a lesson and I think this year, we have had a season where we have to get better.” — Suárez

MORE: Reflective Daniel Suárez on nuances of being a leader, when to push others

Looking ahead: Speaking to the media during the Phoenix season-ending weekend, Suárez was admittedly disappointed and clearly frustrated with his 2023 output. Having earned his first career Cup Series victory in 2022 (at Sonoma), he had high expectations for his No. 99 Trackhouse Racing team last year and was ultimately unsatisfied. Suárez said he canceled some of his upcoming off-season vacations to spend more time at the shop “because I know we have work to do.” He says it’s really “the little things” that need to be tuned up and insists he wants to be a championship contender, not to “win a race once in a while.”

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