'Everybody roots for him': Why Mexico native Daniel Suarez's NASCAR win at Atlanta is special

Shane Connuck, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

HAMPTON, Ga. — Daniel Suarez is just happy he gets to do what he does every weekend.

He’s grown up loving racing. Be it driving go-karts in his hometown, competing in NASCAR’s Mexico Series or chasing the dream in the United States, Suarez had his eyes on being a professional race car driver since he was 13.

The Mexico native’s unprecedented career has had its shares of both adversity and triumph. Long before the 32-year-old was the first foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR series title, he was moving to Buffalo, N.Y., to live with an owner of a small team for which he’d briefly competed.

“You really have to come from a different place to understand what I’ve had to work through to be able to get here,” Suarez said after winning Sunday’s race at Atlanta. “I had to learn English by myself. I had to do a lot of things different to be able to make it, slowly build relationships to have people help me.

“It was a journey. It wasn’t easy on me. Today, I’m sitting here, and I’m very, very lucky to be in this position. Being the only guy in the Cup Series that can actually do an interview in Spanish.”

Suarez likely secures a spot in the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, which begin at Atlanta this year. Sunday’s race set the track’s record with 48 lead changes, starting with the biggest wreck in the speedway’s history.


Suarez was sniffing the race lead on the last turn of the final lap on Sunday, moving into a three-wide position with Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch, and it was a photo finish that sent Suarez to Victory Lane for the first time since Sonoma in 2022.

“I’m happy for Daniel,” Blaney told reporters on pit road. “That’s cool to see him win one. I mean, it was fun racing with him. He’s a great guy.”

Suarez’s new crew chief, Matt Swiderski, has been impressed with his confidence. Swiderski joined the respected driver at Trackhouse Racing before this season.

He joked that Suarez is a lot more “calm” than AJ Allmendinger, the personality-filled part-time driver who climbed into the stands at Charlotte Motor Speedway after a stunning win at last year’s Roval race.


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