Daniel Suarez stars in first national television ad for Subway
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary Daniel Suarez is debuting in his first national TV ad as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver with sponsor Subway this weekend as the series wraps up its NASCAR Goes West swing at Auto Club Speedway. Suarez will drive the No. 19 Subway Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.) The accompanying television ad focuses on Suarez's drive and desire to reach the pinnacle of the sport, his path to get here and his competitive fire. "I came here to race," the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender says. "I came here to be better. Now, I stand here a challenger …" Get a sneak peek of the ad here: When Subway came on as a sponsor for Suarez earlier this year, the young star said, "I'm extremely grateful to Subway for their continuing sponsorship of our Joe Gibbs Racing team this year. I enjoy eating healthy, and Subway has always been my go-to choice to refuel my body when I'm on the road or at home. I'm looking forward to a great 2017 season in the Subway Toyota Camry." Subway is primary sponsor on Suarez's No. 19 ride for four Monster Energy Series races this season, including the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte; the July 1 Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona; and the Oct. 15 Alabama 500 at Talladega.
Daniel Suarez returns to comfort zone at Phoenix
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Phoenix RELATED: Full schedule for Phoenix AVONDALE, Ariz. -- The start to the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season hasn't gone the way Daniel Suarez would have hoped. Pressed into service at NASCAR's highest level by the abrupt departure of Carl Edwards during the offseason, Suarez crashed out of the Daytona 500 in 29th place and finished 21st and 20th in the subsequent two races at Atlanta and Las Vegas. This week, however, the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion returns to Phoenix Raceway, where he has enjoyed unqualified success. In four XFINITY races at Phoenix, Suarez has posted three top-fives. In two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, he has a victory and a fourth-place run. Accordingly, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate is enthused by the prospect of racing at Phoenix in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for the first time. Suarez participated in an organized test at Phoenix on Jan. 31-Feb. 1. RELATED: Hamlin confident slow start nearing end for JGR Suarez also won at Phoenix in the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series and posted two top 10s in three starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. "Overall, Phoenix is one of those places that doesn't matter which series I'm going in, I feel very comfortable," Suarez said. "It's a place that I feel like I have maybe the most experience of the NASCAR race tracks that we go on this year. "It's always fun to come here and to race in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It will be very helpful to have that test over a month ago. Hopefully, we can put something that we learn for today's practice, hopefully be strong for Sunday." </p>
Suarez wrecks hard in XFINITY Series race
Watch as Daniel Suarez hits the wall at Phoenix Raceway and can't continue in the DC Solar 200.
Daniel Suarez gets Atlanta lessons from Carl Edwards
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Atlanta HAMPTON, Ga. -- Daniel Suarez has NASCAR national series experience at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but his notebook for navigating the 1.54-mile track in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is relatively bare. A devoted student of the sport, Suarez religiously pores over race footage, especially at venues where his experience level could use a boost. But with his first premier-series start on an intermediate-sized track looming, Suarez has called in an expert tutor for an early season cram session. Carl Edwards, a three-time Atlanta winner over the course of his career, was back in the garage area Friday, making the rounds ahead of Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Edwards' surprise decision to step away from racing in January turned the seat of Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 19 Toyota to Suarez , the 2016 XFINITY Series champion who's making the big leap to NASCAR's top division this year. RELATED: Suarez takes over the No. 19 Toyota from Edwards Edwards' return to the track isn't a first. The 37-year-old veteran also attended an offseason organizational test at Phoenix Raceway, lending a hand both to Suarez and the Gibbs-owned team. But the 25-year-old Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate says this weekend's visit stems as much from their personal connection as it does their working relationship. "He's a great guy, a very good friend," Suarez said before Friday's first practice at the 1.54-mile track. "He just asked me, 'Hey, Daniel , do you want me to go over there? Do you think it would be helpful?' I said, 'Man, to have a driver like you who has a bunch of wins here in Atlanta, it's a big deal.' Yeah, he's going to be here to help me out, help the team out. It's a team he knows very well. It's going to be good to have him just to watch and to tell us what's going on from his view." RELATED: Edwards attends Phoenix test to guide rookie Suarez Suarez consulted with Edwards early in the 85-minute opening practice, moments after a 14-lap first run to prep for Sunday's 500-miler, the second race of the season. FOX Sports was quick to note in its broadcast that Edwards has some experience as a substitute teacher on his resume, something that he said may or may not come in handy. "I didn't teach much Spanish and that's coming back to haunt me," joked Edwards, who also told FS1 that he had a hard time staying away from the site of so many successes, including his breakthrough Cup win. "But no, it's really neat to see a guy like Daniel , he's a self-made guy and he's doing a great job. He really cares. To help him a little bit is really cool." Besides learning the nuances of the well-worn Georgia asphalt from a master, Suarez is also getting a preliminary feel for the ebbs and flows of the NASCAR schedule in the big leagues. His season-long workload has gone up, as have his obligations -- both at the track and away. He's just one race in, after a 29th-place series debut in the season-opening Daytona 500, but he already has an early sense of what the year may hold. "I think it's definitely more busy than the XFINITY Series, more going on," Suarez said. "You have more time in the race track than when you are home, but it's good. I really enjoy a lot to spend time in the race track with my team, working hard to become a better person, a better driver. So far, I'm really enjoying this a lot." </p>
Edwards on Suarez : 'It's his team; he's proven himself'
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Atlanta MORE: Suarez : It's going to be a great year " Edwards gives Atlanta advice HAMPTON, Ga. -- Carl Edwards flew to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday morning in his personal Cessna plane, presumably packing light. Though he stepped away from NASCAR competition in January, Edwards still made sure that his driver's suit and helmet were part of his cargo. Just in case. Ever the racer, Edwards was back in his element at Atlanta, enjoying seeing the people and surroundings at a venue that catapulted him to NASCAR's elite with a breakthrough victory nearly 12 years. His role Friday was as teacher and consultant, sharing lunch and working with rookie Daniel Suarez , his successor in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota. Though his safety gear was in tow, Edwards reiterated that he was sticking with the decision he made in the offseason. And he also made it clear -- despite rumors, hearsay and conspiracy theories to the contrary about his reasons for leaving -- that Suarez had earned his place in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. "I think very quickly I'll be out of the picture because it's his team. He's proven himself," said Edwards, dressed in a crisp black shirt with the logo of team sponsor Arris. "He doesn't have to have me here. I'm only an addition to what he's already got, and it's only because he wants me here. "I definitely don't want to get in the way. I'm not a hanger-on type of guy. If they don't want me here, I won't be here." MORE: Edwards goes to Phoenix to help Suarez Edwards, who was unsure the length of his stay in the Peach State, tackled a wide range of topics in his informal afternoon gaggle with reporters behind the No. 19 hauler: His insistence that it's not a "retirement," his chances for a return to the cockpit, his peace with the January decision, his potential political aspirations, Suarez's development, and those pesky rumors that haven't caused him to lose his sense of humor. "Man, I should've started this a lot different. I could've messed with you guys somehow with all the rumors and stuff," Edwards said with a grin. "( Suarez benefactor) Carlos (Slim) pays me $1 million a race to come and hang out. Penske wants me to spy on the Toyotas." Edwards was joking, but the act of stowing Nomex into his luggage did plenty to stir the intrigue. Even with his career resume, the 37-year-old veteran would have to complete certain compulsory tasks to turn laps. He would have to have a current 2017 NASCAR competitor's license (he doesn't, NASCAR officials said), pass a drug test and receive approval from both the track and NASCAR's competition department. As of Friday afternoon, Edwards said he was unsure about his status and indicated he'd filled out no paperwork. "I snuck into a lot of race tracks and driven stuff, so I'm not above doing that," Edwards quipped. "I don't know. I haven't filled out any paperwork. I did tell (series director) Richard Buck this morning that I'm pretty sure that I'd pass the drug test, so that'd be good." Edwards continued to shy away from the word "retirement," but with the roar of XFINITY Series cars practicing in the background, it was clear he missed the challenge of Atlanta's worn asphalt. "This place, I love this place. I miss driving while I'm standing here." Full-time driving remains out of the question for now, Edwards says, but even the lure of a partial schedule in any of NASCAR's national series would be a tough sell. "I don't know. It's kind of hard to come here and it's hard to be kind of half-in, half-out," Edwards said, "so I'm going to try really hard to stick to my plan, step away, make sure I get my perspective right and if decide I want to drive something, I'm going to do it 100 percent, but I don't know what I'm going to … right now, I don't know … I'm certain that I wouldn't agree to something full-time right now." Edwards also touched on the possibility of a political run, something he broached in his January 11 announcement. The Missouri native reaffirmed his offseason stance, indicating that he had no concrete intent to campaign for office. "I haven't decided on the political stuff," Edwards said. "Like I talked about at the press conference, I really believe in individual freedom and liberty and what the United States is based upon. I think, like anybody, I've been paying attention and it's a little scary what's going on as a whole in our country and in the world. So if I can help with that down the line, great, but I don't have any firm plans right now." &lt;/p&gt;
Suarez : 'It's going to be a hell of a year for us'
Daniel Suarez discusses his high hopes for 2017 and having Carl Edwards spend some time with the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team at Atlanta
SUBWAY to sponsor Daniel Suarez at four races in 2017
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! Subway announced Thursday its commitment to sponsor Joe Gibbs Racing rookie Daniel Suarez in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series . Suarez , who is taking the wheel from the recently retired Carl Edwards in the No. 19 JGR Toyota Camry, will pick up Edwards' Subway sponsorship at Auto Club Speedway , the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway , the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway and at Talladega Superspeedway in October. "I'm extremely grateful to Subway for their continuing sponsorship of our Joe Gibbs Racing team this year," Suarez said in a release. "I enjoy eating healthy, and Subway has always been my go-to choice to refuel my body when I'm on the road or at home. I'm looking forward to a great 2017 season in the Subway Toyota Camry." Suarez , whose favorite sandwich is the Footlong Subway Club, will also appear in upcoming TV commercials for the SUBWAY brand. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Suarez earns high marks in Monster Energy Series debut
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Where will Suarez line up in the Duels? DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The education of Daniel Suarez has been an accelerated course. Just three years ago, he was competing at Daytona International Speedway under much different conditions, racing a K&N Pro Series car on a temporary .370-mile oval on the large track's backstretch. This year, it's a much different stage that greets the Mexican-born driver, a move that's equivalent to a prodigy starting work on a graduate degree. "I really felt like I went to school," Suarez said Sunday, after his first competition in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series provided him valuable experience as he nears his debut in the Daytona 500 . The 25-year-old rookie wound up eighth in the 17-car Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition after a late-race shuffle, but now has a feel for competing in NASCAR's major leagues as he progresses through his first Speedweeks in the sport's top series at Daytona. Suarez avidly studies video footage before each race, but said that nothing could quite prepare him for actually driving his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota in a pack against the sport's best. Suarez said he gained an understanding about the nuances of tire wear and how his car handles, but perhaps the most valuable lesson was learning the differences between the Monster Energy Series and the XFINITY Series, where he spent the last two years and claimed the 2016 championship. "Those guys are aggressive and they race hard as soon as they see the green flag," Suarez said on pit road post-race. "I felt like I learned a lot. I felt like it was a very productive race for me and for my team and hopefully we can put everything we learned on the table for next week." RELATED: Suarez's five-year plan heads for new heights The next phase for Suarez is a run through Thursday's Can Am Duels (7 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the 150-mile qualifying races that will help determine the Daytona 500 lineup. The preliminaries add another 60 laps of actual race conditions to the 75 now in his portfolio after Sunday's Clash. Crew chief Dave Rogers, preparing to work with his fourth driver in the last four seasons at JGR, said Sunday's exhibition was an educational event for him as well. The veteran wrench connected with Suarez's feedback early and then watched his driver make prudent decisions down the stretch. When Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski joined forces and freight-trained their way past him in the penultimate lap, Suarez lost momentum and slipped back from the second-place position he'd held for much of the event's second segment. Though the choice ultimately dropped him from contention, a more hawkish move to block the Penske pair's advancement could have left his peers with crumpled cars and an unfavorable first impression. "At the very end, I think he got a good taste of how these Cup guys play," Rogers said as he walked back to the garage, his car still in one piece. "He just made a smart decision there at the end. He could've tried to roll up in front of the Penske cars and block them, and then we end up with a bunch of torn-up race cars, so he made a wise move, which I'm proud of him for. "You know, he's a young kid in his first Cup race, he only wants to finish really well but he let common sense prevail and didn't cause a big wreck and earned the trust and respect of some competitors. So that was good, and I think we'll just get better throughout the week." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Dillon, Jones, Suarez revved for captivating rookie race
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! When Erik Jones threw his hat into the Sunoco Rookie of the Year race, it landed alone in an empty ring. That was early last August, the summer sun beating down on the new Furniture Row Racing entry unveiled among much pomp at Watkins Glen International . Three months passed and the season ended without a challenge. But Jones' candidacy wasn't a solitary act, and the contest among first-year drivers in 2017 will be no walkover. Ty Dillon 's late-November landing with Germain Racing and Daniel Suarez 's sudden January thrust into a full-time ride vacated by Carl Edwards have made the Rookie of the Year pursuit in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series a compelling one. The three blossoming drivers -- all aged 25 or younger -- are already familiar with each other's talents, having gone head-to-head in both XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series events the last few years. "We know each other very well, we get along well and for me, something that is very cool is to see how slowly all of this group of drivers, we've been making our way up now to the Cup level," said Suarez , the oldest of the bunch at 25. Last year's XFINITY Series champ will drive Joe Gibbs Racing 's No. 19 Toyota in Edwards' place this season. "So I think now it's going to be a lot of fun. I believe that you guys will enjoy it as much as we're going to enjoy it, so looking forward to it and hopefully we can start in the right way in the Daytona 500 ." The trio's collective rise to the sport's top level might not be considered all that gradual. Dillon made his first NASCAR national series start midseason in 2011, and his rookie rivals didn't make their national debut until later -- Jones late in 2013 and Suarez a year afterward. All but Suarez have partial experience in NASCAR's top series -- Dillon has made 18 starts over the last three years, and Jones has three pinch-hit appearances (and most of a fourth as a relief driver) in Gibbs equipment in 2015. As Jones has prepared for his first full-time foray into NASCAR's top division with a newly-expanded Furniture Row operation, he's been mindful of the benchmark that Chase Elliott established in winning the rookie award last year. Elliott's first season in Hendrick Motorsports ' No. 24 Chevrolet produced a playoff appearance and victory contention on several race weekends, a performance Jones wouldn't mind emulating. "I think he set a really good standard for the rookies and showed that we can come in and be competitive right away," says the 20-year-old Jones, who has a Truck Series championship from 2015 in his portfolio. "I hope I can have as good of a year that he did. He was obviously in contention for more than one race win and made it pretty deep into the Chase format as well, so that's a really good year for a rookie. I hope I can do the same, but he definitely set the bar high." Jones and Suarez have natural ties to each other through their connections to Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing , which shares a technical alliance with Furniture Row. Dillon operates outside that circle, having risen through the ranks with Richard Childress Racing and its staunch Chevrolet roots. RCR's alliance with the Germain organization continues for 2017. Dillon echoed the sense of familiarity he has with his fellow rookies, but he's also embraced the notion that he might be considered the dark horse among the three. Germain Racing is still seeking its first victory since it first entered the Monster Energy Cup fold in 2009. Dillon hopes he can personally lead a potential breakthrough. "It's a great rookie class, and the thing is all three of us are similar in a lot of ways and the way we approach racing," Dillon said. "We all have an understanding of each other on the race track. We go hard every lap and I think it's going to be an exciting rookie race. I kind of feel people put us on the back burner -- me and Germain Racing -- and I think they'll be surprised." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Predicting where Daniel Suarez could get first win
MORE: Track Suarez's path to NASCAR star Daniel Suarez 's rise to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition following the abrupt departure of Carl Edwards from full-time racing has us wondering how the incoming Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender will fare in his first season at the big league level. Let's take a look back at how the reigning NASCAR XFINITY Series champion has performed throughout his NASCAR career in lower series across tracks he'll be racing at in 2017. (Note: While success at certain tracks as a driver moves up the ranks doesn't necessarily guarantee similar results at the Cup level, it can give a bit of insight into a driver's strengths and weaknesses.) First and foremost, Suarez picked up three wins over two full-time seasons in his XFINITY Series career, all three of which came en route in 2016 to his first NASCAR national series title. The three victories came at Michigan (four laps led), Dover (123 laps led) and, of course, Homestead, where Suarez led a dominating 133 of 200 laps from the pole to secure the race victory and the championship. Three distinct tracks, three different lengths (2 miles, 1 mile, 1.5 miles, respectively.) Tough to draw much from that other than point out that Suarez , clearly, isn't a one-trick pony. Let's dig a little deeper. Over his 68 total XFINITY Series starts, Suarez had multiple top-five finishes at six tracks. Guess what? None of them were the ones he won at, muddying the picture a bit more. Phoenix and Kentucky top the list with three apiece, followed by two each at New Hampshire, Bristol, Charlotte and Darlington. All of these tracks range 1-mile to 1.5-miles in length, save for the half-mile Bristol. We may be getting warmer. Suarez has four tracks on his resume at which he averages a finish inside the top five in Darlington, Homestead, New Hampshire and Indianapolis. He's led more than 100 laps at Homestead and Dover, and has a pole at Kentucky, Homestead, Auto Club and Daytona. Moving onto the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series , Suarez has just a single win at Phoenix, but has only compiled a total of 27 starts across three part-time seasons. Still, he has multiple top-five finishes at Texas (three), Phoenix and Dover, with multiple top-10 finishes at those tracks and Martinsville. The new driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota also has a pole at Kentucky, where he's led a total of 77 laps -- tied for the most he has at any track in the series with Bristol. Suarez averaged starts in the top five at three Camping World Truck Series tracks (Kentucky, Chicago and Phoenix), while averaging a finish inside the top five at Dover, Phoenix and Texas. And, hey, for good measure -- he won at Daytona in the K&N Pro Series East in 2014. Alright, now that our heads are good and dizzy from a blizzard of numbers and facts, let's digest and make some bold semi-predictions. If Suarez is able to win a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race -- don't forget, an unexpected rookie won in 2016 ( Chris Buescher ) and two made the Chase (Buescher and Chase Elliott ), so it's certainly a distinct possibility that he could -- it appears the most likely tracks will be in that 1-mile to 1.5-mile range. Tracks of this stature make up exactly half the schedule, with 10 races before the Chase begins. Given that Suarez is stepping into a competitive ride immediately -- one that nearly won the 2016 championship just two months ago -- the talented incoming rookie will have an excellent shot at securing his first win. Look specifically to Dover, Phoenix, Texas, Kentucky, New Hampshire and -- *gulp* -- Homestead as the tracks most likely to see Suarez land in Victory Lane.
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