We have work to do

Race winner Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Chevrolet Camaro

Suarez’s win at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a three-wide photo finish ended a 57-race winless streak for Mexico native and made him one of the first two drivers to gain a playoff berth.

The former Xfinity Series champion, who recently became a U.S. citizen, has had haphazard results, however, since that early season win.

Suarez has seen some better performances of late, including back-to-back weeks of finishes of 14th at Sonoma – site of his first career win – and ninth at Iowa. The 14th at Sonoma ended a six-race stretch of six finishes of 18th or worse.

As the series returns to its second visit on the Chicago Street Course this weekend, Suarez hopes his team is pointed back in the right direction.

“I feel like we have work to do, to be honest. I believe that if the playoffs were to start tomorrow, I think we would really change the mindset and the way we’ve been doing things, trying different things and the way we’ve been calling some races,” he said.

“When we have good speed, we’re good. We can execute a good race and we can run in the top-10, top-five, all race long. We did it in Iowa. In Nashville last weekend, I feel like we didn’t start the weekend that well, but the car was much better on Sunday.

“We just have to be a little bit more consistent. We’re going to miss it at some races. We’re not going to have a great car every single weekend. But the weekends that we miss, we cannot miss by a lot.

Race winner Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

“Our misses should be running top-20, not running 30th. If we run 30th in the playoffs, that’s it. We can say ‘goodbye’ to the playoffs.”

The race Sunday on the 2.2-mile, 12-turn course through the Grant Park area of downtown Chicago should prove a good opportunity for a strong run for Suarez – or perhaps even a win.

Suarez has been a solid road racer and the Trackhouse organization has plenty of good data on the course from the shock victory by its driver Shane van Gisbergen one year ago.

The three-time Supercars champion became the first Cup driver in more than 60 years to win in his first series start. While he is running full-time in the Xfinity Series this season, he is also running a partial Cup schedule, including Sunday’s Chicago event.

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