Suarez, Marks aiming high with Trackhouse team

Suarez, Marks aiming high with Trackhouse team

NASCAR

Suarez, Marks aiming high with Trackhouse team

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Daniel Suarez couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with Justin Marks after hearing Marks’ vision for a place in NASCAR.

“For people who don’t know me and see all this some the very back, maybe they’re thinking, ‘OK, what the heck is Daniel doing starting again with another brand-new team?’ But it’s a very good opportunity,” said Suarez. “I have learned a lot in the last few years. I know what it takes to be successful, not just on the racetrack but outside the racetrack, and one of the advantages Justin has is he’s still a race car, and now as a team owner, he understands both sides of the coin very well. The business side and the competition side. So, I feel like that is very hard to beat.

“I know we’re putting together a good business model for sponsors and to be able to attract people to the racetrack and the team. It just felt right. The vision of Justin, it was extremely close to the vision I’ve had for a while. I guess since we first met to talk about this project, it just felt good. Sometimes you have to trust your gut feeling, and then you go from there.”

Trackhouse Racing Team will be the fourth team Suarez has competed for in the NASCAR Cup Series. The 2021 season will be his fifth full year.

Suarez and Gaunt Brothers Racing announced Sept. 15 they would split at the end of this season. Gaunt Brothers put together a full-time effort for this year and hired Suarez in mid-January after his contract was not renewed at Stewart-Haas Racing. In 138 Cup Series starts, Suarez has 32 top-10 finishes and finished a career-best 17th in the standings last year.

Suarez admitted he did talk to several teams and had very good offers. But he reiterated how he trusts his gut feeling.

“I’m extremely fortunate that I have good people behind me that help me make decisions and put all the options on the table,” he said. “Since the very beginning, Justin was something for me and the people who advise me, we thought it was something good, and not just for now, but for the future. I think it’s very important to see that. If you look at my career, I haven’t had consistency, and I feel like consistency in racing is super important.

“If you can’t have consistency, you cannot be successful, and it was very important for me to know that I was going to have everything I need to be competitive and successful, but not just next year but what is after that. I felt Justin was definitely the person and the team that was able to put the whole package, along with the idea we’ve had, to be able to make it happen.”

Marks said there are “a number of partners” as a part of his program, but they will be rolled out when it’s impactful for all of them. Wednesday was about announcing the team, driver, and alliances.

“Daniel has some great supporters; I’ve got some great supporters,” said Marks. “We’ve got conversations going right now with companies that are excited about what we’re doing, it’s just really at this point a matter of figuring out who’s going to be involved with what inventory, who we’re going to be taking to the Daytona 500 on the race car.

“I have a significant competition budget for 2021 that puts us in contention to be a playoff team — that is a fact. If we get 80 percent of the way there on our sponsorship, the other 20 percent is there, and it’s going to be utilized to put us in the most competitive position possible because we know and believe in ’22 with the new car, economics of the sport are going to come our way.”

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