'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

“I’m sure at some point he will yell at me, but so far we haven’t had that yet,” Swiderski said with a laugh. “I’ve just been really impressed with how hard Daniel works. He really focuses on his craft. When we have our meetings every week or go to the simulator, he comes in prepared. He asks questions. It’s just really impressive. He really wants to be at the top of this series and puts in the effort to get there.”

After Suarez’s win at Sonoma, Trackhouse owner Justin Marks remembers the other drivers signaling a “thumbs-up” out their windows toward Suarez while he celebrated with his “Daniel’s Amigos” fans.

On Sunday, Ross Chastain showed up in Victory Lane to celebrate his Trackhouse teammate’s victory. Most of the Cup drivers expressed their happiness for Suarez’s victory on pit road.

“Moving to Monterrey, Mexico, to America to try and be a NASCAR driver, like, nobody does that,” Marks said. “Everybody knows what his story is. He’s a great person, always smiling, he’s happy and genuinely passionate about being here. I think everybody roots for him.”

When younger people — particularly those from Mexico or Latin America — ask Suarez how he’s gotten where he has, he urges that it hasn’t been easy. He’s had to grind.

Anyone who reaches the NASCAR Cup Series level has to compete against the greatest drivers in the world. That’s a hard enough fight for the majority of people who climb into a race car.

Suarez had to learn a new language. He had to understand an entirely new culture. He’s had to make new connections.


He looked out into the packed room inside the Atlanta Motor Speedway media center. His mother, his father and most of the people who give him advice every single day weren’t there. Only his “American grandpa,” standing in the back, who had been with him since he moved to the United States, and Suarez said he wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for him.

Sunday was undoubtedly a special moment for Suarez, and some people told him that he could relax now with his spot in the playoffs locked up. But no driver’s goal is to win a singular race.

To win a championship, you usually need more than one or two victories. Champions tend to accumulate points from a variety of strong runs, compounded with big race wins down the stretch.

Suarez was running toward the front late in last weekend’s Daytona 500 before getting collected in The Big One. He won the race on Sunday.

He loved his team heading into this season, and bigger goals are at the top of his mind.

©2024 The Charlotte Observer. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus