Daniel Suarez and Corey LaJoie had themselves a war of words after the Bank of America Roval 400 this past Sunday, which all stemmed from two on-track incidents late in the Cup Series playoff race. With just 13 laps to go, Suarez made contact with LaJoie and sent him spinning into the infield grass. On the next lap, LaJoie returned the favor by shoving Suarez into the corner and wall coming off turn one.
What LaJoie didn't know was that Suarez had lost his power steering more than 30 laps prior, and he was relying on pure strength to keep himself in the race. He sought to educate LaJoie of that fact after the race, and it was all caught on video.
As you can see from the above clip, even while Suarez was going off on LaJoie for his misguided retaliation, he still had time for some young fans. While LaJoie deftly dodged the two autograph seekers, Suarez quickly jotted down his John Hancock, albeit not the most enthusiastically. It's hard to blame Suarez for being in a sour mood. Not only had he just been eliminated from the playoffs while having to ward off a revenge-hungry LaJoie, but he was also dealing with severe arm and shoulder pain as a result of keeping his power steering-less car in contention.
Suarez's problems at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course started with 47 laps to go in the race when his No. 99 Chevy sustained a major steering rack issue. That's when he lost his power steering, and while his team added power steering fluid during pit stops with 27 laps and 17 laps to go, there was nothing that could really be done to fix the issue. In a post-race interview, Suarez explained just how difficult it had been to fight through his late-race malfunction.
"I'm the only driver in the field who could have finished that race the way my car was (with steering problems)," Suarez said. "My arms are completely destroyed. I've never felt like this in my life. My shoulder is very bad. My hands are destroyed. It was tough. It was very, very tough. We did what we needed to do the first half of the race getting stage points and everything. Once we lost steering, it was just hoping for a little bit of luck. We almost got it right there at the end. It is difficult to rely on luck 100 percent. It is what it is. We have to continue to get better."
Suarez could have easily taken the opportunity to go on a rant about the Next Gen car -- hell, pretty much everyone else is doing it. But, the Trackhouse Racing Team driver avoided making any assumptions, considering that he hadn't heard reports of any other drivers dealing with similar issues.
"I think we were the only car that actually had a steering issue," Suarez continued. "I don't want to say it was a crappy part because I was the only one that had the problem, but we have to come back to the shop and look at what went wrong. It was very, very bad everywhere. There were more than a couple of times I was just screaming. I needed to get it out."
"It was for sure the most difficult race I've had in my life, but I wasn't going to give up. I needed to keep pushing and waiting for a little bit of luck. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, but a little bit unfortunate to (get eliminated) because of an issue. I feel like we were having a normal race in the first half, but it is what it is. We have to continue to keep our heads high and continue to see forward."
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