Motorsport News

The Strange Season of Opposites for Trackhouse Racing

Nascar Cup Series

With eight races to go until the Cup Series playoffs begin, Trackhouse Racing is not in a bad spot.

Daniel Suarez scored a thrilling victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway early in the season, beating Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch to the line in a three-wide photo finish.

The win puts the No. 99 team in great position to reach the postseason. Ross Chastain is still looking for a victory in 2024, but he currently stands 12th in the playoff grid, 93 points above the cut line. Chances are good that the No. 1 team will be in the playoffs as well.

Yet other than being in playoff position, Suarez and Chastain have had completely opposite seasons. Suarez may be the one with the victory, but that win is one of the few good races he’s had in 2024.

The No. 99 team did not get a second top-10 finish until seven races later at Texas Motor Speedway. Suarez then went through another slump where his best finish in seven starts was 14th. The drought finally ended with a ninth place at Iowa Speedway, giving Suarez a third top-10 finish.

Unfortunately for the No. 99 team, races like what happened at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend have been far more typical.

Suarez plummeted through the field at the start, wrestling with a car that apparently had no speed or handling. He was one of a handful of drivers multiple laps down once the long rain delay arrived.

However, a flurry of yellow flags came out in the last quarter of the race as drivers battled to get a feel for the wet weather tires. The cautions allowed Suarez to get back on the lead lap, though he still finished a disappointing 21st. Outside of a few bright spots, he’s had a rough season.

Chastain, on the other hand, has been decent almost everywhere.

If it seems like the No. 1 team finishes somewhere between fourth and 15th every week, you are not imagining things. Through 18 races this season, Chastain has no top-three finishes, but has only finished worse than 15th three times.

In fact, two of his finishes outside that range were caused by last-lap crashes at Texas Motor Speedway and the Daytona 500. Even at New Hampshire, where Chastain spun out with 67 laps to go in the scheduled race distance, he still clawed his way back to finish 10th.

It was a good recovery under tough conditions, but it was not the breakthrough win that the team really needed.

Chastain is far from the first driver to have a consistently decent season. A good example from recent…

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