Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Suarez Showing Strength Despite Hand Injury
After being diagnosed with an avulsion fracture of his left thumb, many were left wondering how big of an impact the injury would have on Daniel Suarez.
For the 26-year-old it was just the latest in what had been a rough start to the season; he only had only two top-15 finishes in the first seven races and, was 26th in points. Already in a hole, would the injury be an early nail in the coffin for his 2018 campaign?
Instead of faltering, Suarez and his team became better than they were before, going on to score three top-10’s in the next four races. The most recent came this past weekend at Dover International Speedway, where he qualified seventh, ran near the front all day, and ended the afternoon with a career-best third-place finish.
Joe Gibbs Racing has found momentum and currently sees similarities to teammate Erik Jones’ season in 2017. Jones, who was with Furniture Row Racing during his first full campaign in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, had a less than stellar start to the year like Suarez. However, he started becoming a more significant threat as the team got stronger on a weekly basis. In the end, he came close to winning the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway and just missed making the playoffs.
While the year wasn’t exactly what the 2017 Rookie of the Year wanted, it was still enough to solidify himself as a driver who can contend, which is what the No. 19 team is beginning to do now with their current run.
However, Suarez might see himself in a better spot because of his experience. Yes, one year may not seem like a lot, but it does make a difference. Instead of trying to learn tracks for the first-time in addition to attempting to maintain momentum, the team can focus more on the later, something that could prove to be the difference maker.
Not to forget, Suarez has proven to get better in his second season, as showcased in his sophomore campaign in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, where not only did he get his first wins, but a championship as well.
Obliviously the competition level is very different there than at NASCAR’s top-tier series. Suarez still has a way to go before he can prove to be a championship contender. However, the power of momentum cannot be underestimated. Neither can the fact he drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, an organization that is one of the best in the sport.
Simply put, Suarez has the tools to succeed and has shown that he is close to that race winning level with his recent performances.
While the question of can this team put can continue to carry this newly found momentum further into the season is still to be answered, there is one thing they have made certain. The No. 19 is a car is one that you should be keeping an eye on moving on to Kansas Speedway this weekend.
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