DOVER, Del. — Daniel Suarez said Friday that meetings in the next couple of weeks could determine his status for 2020 and also discussed his incident with Ryan Newman at the end of last weekend’s race.
Suarez says he and Stewart-Haas Racing are “not there yet” on his contract status for next year, but “we are getting close. … We’re still working. There are a lot of things moving the right direction.”
Suarez, who is in his first season at Stewart-Haas Racing, says sponsorship is a key.
“Everything is of the sponsor,” Suarez said Friday at Dover International Speedway. “If you have a sponsor, you can drive tomorrow, that’s how it works. We have some important meetings in the next couple of weeks that will give us a good direction of where we’re at. We have to be working at that. I know where I want to be. They know where they want me to be. We have to make sure we have the funds to do it.”
Suarez has said that Stewart-Haas Racing has an option on his contract for next year. He also has said he has an option.
Suarez missed the playoffs this season. He enters Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway (2:30 pm. ET on NBCSN) 17th in the points, the highest a non-playoff driver can finish in the points.
He leads Jimmie Johnson by six points for 17th. Suarez saw his lead on Johnson dwindle after finishing 34th at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. Suarez crashed at the end after an incident with Newman. They talked on pit road afterward.
Suarez explained what led to that incident:
“We were running towards the top the entire race and one of the pit stops we decided to stay out with no tires and everyone behind me took tires so we put ourselves in a bad situation. That is racing. Sometimes you make good decisions and sometimes you make bad ones. Unfortunately for us, that was a bad one and I put myself in the mess with all those guys that were fighting like dogs out there. It was a tough situation.”
Suarez hit the wall when Newman moved up the track to go to an area designated to serve a stop-and-go penalty for missing the backstretch chicane.
“I was very disappointed and I went to talk to Ryan after the race and he swears that he didn’t do it on purpose,” Suarez said. “Who knows if that is true or not but that is what he said and that is what I have to believe.
“If he was saying otherwise, I was going to go after him. He said he didn’t do it on purpose. He gave me his explanation of how things happened but as a driver it wasn’t a little contact. It was pretty hard contact.
“He missed the chicane and had to do a pass through, which is why I was passing him on the outside and all of a sudden he turned right. He told me he was going to do a stop and go. Who knows? Who cares at this point anymore? We just have to move on. I am here in Dover, one of my favorite places to race and I want to take advantage of that.”