Watkins Glen highlights challenge of racing through pain for Daniel Suarez

By Tyler Head
August 7, 2016

WATKINS GLEN – In the NASCAR xFinity Series garage, just hours before the start of the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, Daniel Suarez expresses high hopes for his chances in the 82 lap race.

“I love road course racing a lot,” Suarez said after signing autographs for fans outside his team’s hauler. “We have a good shot and hopefully we can keep ourselves in the front and have a shot by the end.”

While he’s feeling good about the speed in his No. 19 Arris Toyota, Suarez knows the race isn’t going to be the best time he’s ever had behind the wheel, at least as far as comfort goes.

Suarez has been racing hurt since injuring his right wrist in a crash at Daytona last month. The injury causes discomfort when Suarez shifts, which he’ll be doing constantly as he navigates the twists and turns of The Glen.

His team has made an effort to mask the pain, but it’s still there.

“We have had some pills, some shots. We wrapped my wrist to try to make it better,” Suarez said before the race. “(It’s) definitely helping, but the problem is there.”

The pills, shots and wrap on his wrist are just a temporary solution. A permanent fix won’t come until after the season ends.

“(The doctors) tried to do it, but the recovery process is around a month and a half,” Suarez said. “We don’t have a month and a half to relax during the season.”

In the meantime, Suarez will have to drive through the pain. August will be a particularly difficult month for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver; Watkins Glen is just the first of three road course races in a four week stretch.

“We just have to be a little relaxed with the race, have a tight wrap for every race and with that we should be fine,” Suarez said, adding, “For now, we just have to race hard.”

A commonly held belief in racing is that a fast racecar is the best medicine. Suarez appears to have one; he qualified 6th for Saturday’s Zippo 200.