Creating a solid foundation is admittedly the least glamorous part of any building process, but no one will doubt it’s one of the most important. Done right, the blood, sweat and tears that come with working in the trenches ultimately pays huge dividends.
Such is the case so far this NASCAR Cup Series season with Daniel Suárez and the No. 96 It’s Good To Be Genuine Parts & Service Toyota team for Gaunt Brothers Racing (GBR), who seem to be getting this foundation-building thing down pat as their small, single-car organization continues to make strides – albeit baby steps – toward its ultimate goal of competing week in and week out with the big dogs who’ve been part of the series for decades.
After equaling their season-best finish of 18th last Thursday night at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in the third consecutive points-paying race on a 1.5-mile oval, Suárez and his team will get a huge change of pace and scenery whey they head to the flat, mile oval at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. And what better place to take the next step in their building of a rock-solid foundation than the Granite State?
Suárez, the 28-year-old from Monterrey, Mexico who’s in his fourth Cup Series season and his first with GBR, is certainly looking forward to the opportunities to perhaps work some magic during Sunday’s race on the 1.058-mile oval known as “The Magic Mile.” He posted top-10 finishes of sixth and eighth there in his first two Cup Series outings in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota during his 2017 rookie season.
He also scored top-five finishes in both his NASCAR Xfinity Series starts there – fifth during his series Rookie of the Year campaign in 2015 and fourth in 2016 en route to that year’s series championship, also in Gibbs Toyotas.
And during his climb to the Xfinity and Cup Series ranks, Suárez raced five times at New Hampshire in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series from 2011 through 2014, all in Toyota equipment, logging three top-10 starts and finishes. His best outing was a runner-up finish from the third starting position in his No. 6 Rev Racing Toyota, crossing the finish line just .743 of a second behind polesitter Cole Custer.
The foundational work with the No. 96 GBR Toyota team continues this weekend as it comes off its third top-20 and sixth top-25 of the season, and Suárez’s 18th consecutive race in which he was running at the finish. He and points-leader Kevin Harvick are the only two full-time Cup Series drivers who’ve completed every race in which they’ve competed this season.
As they head to the Granite State, they’ll look to work some race-day magic that could bring the team’s best finish of the season.