Daniel Suárez scores first Nascar for Mexico with historic win in Sonoma | Nascar
Daniel Suárez became the first Mexican-born driver to win a Nascar Cup Series race on Sunday, fending off Chris Buescher for a historic victory at Sonoma Raceway.
Suárez, a 30-year-old Monterrey native, finally earned the 195th career start of a Cup Series career that began in 2017. He also rode his Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet to the third Cup Series win of the season. for this one-year two-team co-owned by former racer Justin Marks and music star Pitbull.
Suárez passed Buescher and took control at the start of the final stage on this hilly road course in northern California wine country, and he persevered through a pit stop and warning to emerge in front with 23 laps to go. . Buescher pushed him aggressively, but Suárez made no significant errors as he rode to victory.
“It’s crazy,” Suarez said. “I have so many thoughts in my head right now. It’s been a tough run in the Cup Series, and these guys believed in me. I’ve got a lot of people to thank in Mexico. My family, they don’t care about me. never gave up. A lot of people did, but they didn’t. I’m just glad we were able to make it work.
Suárez’s team had a party at the end, even pulling out a party piñata in the shape of a taco. The piñata was requested by Suárez for every time he scored his first victory and clinched a playoff spot – and he celebrated by punching it with his fist.
“They believed in me from day one,” Suárez said of his team. “(We have) all the people, all the resources to make it happen.”
Suárez then briefly addressed his fans in Spanish, saying, “This is the first of many.”
Buescher’s second place was also the best of the season with his RFK Racing Ford. He fell just short of his second career victory.
“It hurts to be so close, but congratulations to Suárez,” Buescher said. “We were trying, trying to get it. I got out of breath there.
Suárez, who won the Xfinity Series championship in 2016, is the fifth foreign-born driver to win a Cup Series race. He joins Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, Australian Marcos Ambrose, Canadian Earl Ross and Italian-American Mario Andretti.
The success of Suárez and Trackhouse Racing could be a welcome boost for a sport keen to expand its cultural footprint. After moving to the United States 11 years ago with a desire to race on bigger stages, Suárez is a major achievement for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, which aims to bring new perspectives and new horizons to a largely monocultural organization for much of its history.
Michael McDowell finished third of the season ahead of Kevin Harvick in cloudy conditions in Sonoma Raceway’s first Cup Series race at full capacity since before the coronavirus pandemic. The crowd included about 350 rowdy fans of Suárez’s program, Daniel’s Amigos, which lets kids in multiple NASCAR cities watch races.
Austin Cindric finished fifth in the final race before the one-week Cup Series mid-season break.
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