Daniel Suarez: Every Step Of My Life Has Cost Me A Lotby Hunter Thomas June 13, 2022 0 comments
SONOMA, Calif. – Daniel Suarez became the first-ever Mexican driver to win in the NASCAR Cup Series after he outran Chris Buescher in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
Suarez is a driver who started from the bottom and battled his way to the NASCAR Cup Series. Growing up racing go-karts, Suarez obtained a vast amount of experience racing on road courses.
“I grew up racing go-karts, road course stuff. I never raced big cars in road course, but I raced go-karts a lot all over the world,” Suarez said. “Road course for me is fun. It’s something different. It’s something we don’t do every day. In years past I been always strong but never very strong.”
Earlier this year, Suarez had a strong run going at Circuit of the Americas before he suffered a flat tire. After starting the season’s first road course race in second, he led all of the laps in Stage 1, but he was never able to fully recover from the flat tire. Suarez had to settle for a disappointing 24th-place finish. As Suarez and his Trackhouse Racing No. 99 Onx Homes/Renu Chevrolet team looked ahead to Sonoma Raceway, the NASCAR Cup Series’ second road course race of the season, they entered the weekend with confidence.
“In COTA it just felt special,” Suarez said. “In COTA we were the car to beat, we were the best car. Unfortunately my car had issues. I made sure in the radio in the middle of the race, if I can’t win the race, I want my teammate to win the race. I felt he was probably a good second best car. He was able to win the race. I was able to dominate the first stage with a car that was a rocket.
“We came here with the confidence that it’s another road course. We had a good car, but we didn’t have the best car today. I felt like we were able to make the right calls, maximize what we got, and the result shows for that.”
On Sunday, Suarez started in eighth; however, he didn’t score any stage points in Stage 1 as he finished 17th. In Stage 2, Suarez battled back into the top-10 to finish out the stage in the fourth position. The Monterrey, Mexico native led the final 26 laps of the race, holding off Buescher, who was looking to score RFK Racing’s first points win of the 2022 season. With the victory, Suarez became the fifth foreign driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race. He also became the season’s 12th different winner in only 16 races.
“You know, it has cost me a lot to get to this point,” Suarez said. “A lot of people doesn’t know that, but it has cost me a lot to get to this country first 10 years ago, and to get to this point, fighting. I come from a very humble family. Every step of my life has cost me a lot.”
Suarez celebrated his first series win by burning the tires and smashing a taco piñata.
“I was asking for my piñata,” Suarez said. “I was asking the team to bring the piñata with me. I wanted to break it (smiling).
“It just felt right, man. It’s been a long journey, a lot of sacrifices, a lot of hard work. To finally be able to get the first one. I have told this to many people. The first one always costs a lot. Once you get the first one, be ready because we’re going to get some more.”
While Suarez’s Trackhouse Racing teammate, Ross Chastain has found Victory Lane on two occasions this season, the win on Sunday comes as a relief. Suarez has been fast, but piecing all of the puzzle together has been somewhat of a challenge this season. Prior to Sunday, his last top-10 finish came at Darlington Raceway all the way back to Mother’s Day weekend. Since then, he finished 33rd at Kansas Speedway, 25th at Charlotte Motor Speedway and 23rd at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. The Sonoma win marked Suarez’s third top-five finish of 2022.
The NASCAR Cup Series will take Father’s Day weekend off, but the teams will be back in action on Sunday, June 26 for the Ally 400 at Nashville Speedway. Live coverage will broadcast on NBC and MRN at 5 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images