The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series started off much better for Daniel Suarez. He had four top 10 finishes in the first eight races to the year. But, he’s since been inconsistent and his future plans with Stewart-Haas Racing could hinder on if he makes the playoffs or not.
See, Joe Gibbs Racing cut ties with what I thought was too soon. He only had two years with the organization in the No. 19 Toyota. But, I get that they needed to keep Martin Truex Jr. in the Toyota family and Suarez was the weak link.
Now, he looks like the weak link with an organization that won 12 times in 2018. He’s the only SHR driver not in the playoffs and if he wants to be in, he likely needs to win.
Suarez, keeps sliding further and further behind the cutoff spot. He’s 31 points down now. But, this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen may be his best chance among the remaining five races to get in.
Suarez, has two top five finishes in two tries on the upstate New York road course. He was third in 2017 and fourth last year. He’s chasing a driver in Jimmie Johnson who has not scored a top five finish since 2012 in Watkins Glen. His last three finishes there are 40th, 29th and 30th respectively.
Ryan Newman is not much of a road course racer while Clint Bowyer has one top five in his last six Watkins Glen starts himself.
So, Suarez could make up some significant ground. I have a feeling though that making up ground is getting too far away. He needs to win. This is his best chance to do just that.
Next week it’s to Michigan to where Suarez has one top 10 finish in five career tries. That was a fourth place run back in June though. After that, it’s to Bristol where he has one top 10 in five tries an eighth place run in April. Then, it’s to Darlington where Suarez has finishes of 38th and 29th respectively. After that, it’s to Indy where he’s finished seventh and 18th respectively.
So, as you can see, the next three weeks are his best shots but Sunday is the best opportunity of the three to get it done.