Trackhouse misses out on win, but scores a double top-five in Cali
The team was the big surprise of the 2022 season, and they don’t look like they’re slowing down any in 2023.
Both cars placed inside the top-ten in both the season-opening Daytona 500 and Auto Club Speedway this weekend.
Daniel Suarez opened the year with a seventh-place finish at Daytona, and then a fourth at Fontana. His teammate and 2022 championship runner-up Ross Chastain was ninth at Daytona, and third at Fontana.
Courtesy of Chastain, Trackhouse has also won three of the four stages to start the new year. Sunday’s double top-five result was just another sign that this organization is here to stay.
Chastain led a race-high 91 laps at Fontana, but lost touch with eventual race winner Kyle Busch after the final round of pit stops.
“He got faster,” said Chastain, when asked how Busch got away from him. “I don’t know. Our balance was building loose most of the day, so I thought we did everything right. We kept up with it and it would just build pretty loose late in the runs. At times, it was enough, and at times, they got way better. But I thought our No. 1 Kubota Chevrolet was the steady force.
“To start off the way that we have this year is a total 180 from last year when it was not like this. So, as much as it stings, and as much as it does hurt, hats off to Chevrolet for the top four there and for Trackhouse (on our finishes) at our first crack at big tracks here. That is all we can ask for.”
Suarez matched his Fontana result from 2022, recovering from a speeding penalty earlier in the race. It’s the first time in either driver’s Cup career that they’ve started the season with back-to-back top-tens.
“I’m very, very proud of everyone at Trackhouse Racing,” Suarez said post-race. “They keep building very fast race cars and it’s a lot of fun to race like this. My No. 99 Freeway Insurance Chevy team did a great job on pit road with strategy and adjustments. I feel like I made a few mistakes today that maybe cost us a shot at the win. I feel like our car was capable of running up front, but I just made too many mistakes. I just have to clean up a few things on my end and I’m sure we’ll come back next weekend with another shot.”
In the week leading up to the 500, both Suarez and Chastain agreed to new multi-year contracts with Trackhouse.
Although the season remains young, they now head into Round 3 quite high in the championship standings. Suarez is fifth, and Chastain tops the points heading into Las Vegas Motor Speedway.