DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Erik Jones, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, left, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, talk on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Rookie driver believes he can make the playoffs this season


After a career-best third place finish on Sunday, rookie Daniel Suarez has now had four consecutive top-10 finishes.

Suarez is now 15th in the points, and, while he will need a win to make the playoffs, he indicated that he believes a victory over the last four races is within reach.

"In the beginning of the year, we were not [as competitive]," Suarez said via ESPN. "I wasn't the same driver, either, and now I feel like we are moving in the right direction. We have speed pretty much every weekend now where we are running in the top-10.

"I don't think it's a surprise anymore to run in the top-10. We just have to keep it up. We have to keep ourselves calm, and hopefully we can catch a break in the next few weeks, month or so, to try to make it in the playoffs."

Related: Playoff contender's postseason chances are in jeopardy after another disappointing finish

Along with the third place finish, Suarez also picked up his first career stage victory on Sunday at Watkins Glen. He managed to hold off Martin Truex Jr. for that stage win, and Truex said Suarez "looked really good" and it was a big deal for him to win a stage.


No one expected the 25-year-old to be in contention for a playoff spot in his first year, but he has been very impressive and poised for a young driver.

Making the playoffs will be difficult, but just finishing in the top-15 in the points is an impressive accomplishment for a rookie.

(h/t ESPN)