Daniel Suarez keeping head down in grind toward NASCAR Rookie of the Year honors

Sporting News
Subway ended its relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing due to Suarez appearing on-air with a competitors' product.

Subway terminates sponsorship with Daniel Suarez over TV segment with Dunkin' Donuts

Subway ended its relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing due to Suarez appearing on-air with a competitors' product.

Ignorance is bliss for Daniel Suarez.

The NASCAR Cup Series rookie, first of his kind born in Mexico, isn't letting distractions outside of the sport affect how he drives, nor does he pay attention to it.

Just four races into the season after taking over for the retired Carl Edwards in the No. 19 car, Suarez is handling the transition like a seasoned veteran. He doesn't offer controversial takes when asked about Donald Trump's stance on immigration, he stays calm during the race, and is making plenty of friends along the way.

Suarez didn't even know Austin Dillon deliberately wrecked a fellowdriver under caution this past weekend during an Xfinity Series race at Phoenix. He was focused on moving on from a wreck earlier in the DC Solar 200 and preparing for a Cup Series race where he would eventually score his first top-10 finish.

And no, he hadn't heard the reports of restrictorplates possibly coming to the Cup Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, either.

“To be very honest with you I haven’t seen a lot about that because I have a lot of things going on for Fontana and I’m trying to focus on Fontana and then take one race at a time," Suarez toldOmnisportWednesday."It would definitely be something different and let's see how everything plays out.

"If it happens, it's going to be the same for everyone and hopefully works out well."

The No. 19 team has enjoyed a higher finish in each of its four Cup races to begin the gruelingseason asSuarez grows more comfortable in the car.

"I feel like we are moving in the right direction. It'sstill early in the season and there are still a lot of things we have to improve and get better at," Suarez said. "We are in a sport where momentum and confidence is super important. To have the result at Phoenix always helps as a team. Hopefully we can have another good result this weekend at Fontana."

After scoring his first top-10 finish, Suarez is set to appear in his first national television commercial for Subway, which will grace the No. 19 car at Fontana as well as theCoca-Cola 600 in Charlotte on May 28; the Coke Zero 400 back in Daytona on July 1; and the Alabama 500 at Talladega on Oct. 15.

The ad may be the epitome of whatSuarez represents: A grinder.

MORE: Watch: Austin Dillon goes for retaliation, hits Cole Custer's car under caution

Suarez admits he hasn't lookedat the series standings or any lists of Rookie of the Year probables. He's currently 21stoverall after four races but is leading theSunoco Rookie of the Yearstandings by one point over Toyota teammate and fellow NASCAR Next alumni, Erik Jones.

"It would mean a lot to me [to win Rookie of the Year]. It’s a big deal," Suarez said. "We have to keep working and moving forward."

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