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NASCAR Cup Daytona 500

Suarez: New Chevrolet nose gave better pushes in Daytona 500

Daniel Suarez believes that changes to the nose design of Chevrolet’s NASCAR Cup car has allowed the marque’s Camaro to push more aggressively than before in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

Chevrolet scooped the biggest race of the NASCAR Cup season when Ricky Stenhouse scored a surprise win, just beating the Ford of Joey Logano and Toyota’s Christopher Bell when a caution for a huge wreck at Turn 1 ended the race in overtime.

Chevy’s Camaro ZL1 features the biggest visual nose change among NASCAR’s three manufacturers in 2023, with the faux headlights and grille section being positioned lower down than before. It also sports a flatter frontal area beneath that region, allowing its cars’ front and rear bumpers to align better to aid bumpdrafting on superspeedways.

All manufacturers were allowed to submit new nose and hood designs for 2023, which have been approved by NASCAR after windtunnel and track testing, and the three designs appear to be more similar in the front bumper region.

“I think the Chevrolet, the way it was before, it had a pretty good point [at the center of the nose] and I think that made it a little bit difficult for us to push as aggressively as some of the other manufacturers,” Suarez said on FOX’s RaceHub show. “I think, right now, we’re in the same ballpark as them. I don’t want to say that we’re better. But we were definitely better than we were last year.”

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro, Austin Cindric, Team Penske, Discount Tire Ford Mustang, Daniel Suarez, TrackHouse Racing, Tootsies Orchid Lounge Chevrolet Camaro

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro, Austin Cindric, Team Penske, Discount Tire Ford Mustang, Daniel Suarez, TrackHouse Racing, Tootsies Orchid Lounge Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

Trackhouse driver Suarez – who became the first Mexican driver to score a Cup race win last year – scored his best-ever Daytona 500 finish on Sunday, and felt his seventh place would have been better but for a spin that put the race under caution with just two laps of the race remaining.

“I was actually a little bit upset, spinning while pretty much coming to the white [flag],” said Suarez. “I felt like I was sitting in a pretty decent position there, working together with Ricky [Stenhouse, the eventual winner] and the No.5 [Kyle Larson] – it was a decent group of Chevys. And then I spun out and everything went south after that.

“I was just struggling with loose balance when people would get to the rear bumper for some reason. That one, the No.2 [Austin Cindric’s Ford Mustang] came very close to me, very tight and the car behind me came very close as well and got me loose.

“It was a little bit crazy. I was just lucky that I caught a caution right after that. I was the lucky dog [the lead car a lap down that gets a wave-around to gain the lap back] and I was able to finish in the top 10 after the whole mess. But the car was fast and the team they did a hell of a job.

“We were in contention, and that’s all you can ask for Daytona, to be able to win one of these. We just spun out there, but we recovered and we are getting better at this kind of racing, and we are going to get one of these one day.”

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