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Suarez becomes the first Mexican-born driver to win a Cup race

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Daniel Suárez has made history.

Suarez, 30, became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race on June 12 at Sonoma Raceway, driving his No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Team Chevrolet to the checkered flag.

The win came in Suárez’s 195th career start at NASCAR’s highest level.

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“It’s a crazy day. I have so many thoughts in my head right now,” Suarez said, getting emotional in celebration of his victory. “I mean, it’s been a tough road. It’s been a rough ride in the Cup Series. These guys believe in me: Trackhouse Racing, Justin Marks, Ty Norris. Everyone who helped me get to this point. Many people in Mexico: Jay Morales, Carlos Slim. My family, they never gave up on me. A lot of people did, but they didn’t. … Just very happy that we were able to make it work.”

RELATED: Race recap: Suarez dominates late | photos on the track

Suarez becomes the fifth Cup Series winner born outside the United States. The others: the Australian Marcos Ambrose, the Italian Mario Andretti, the Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya and the Canadian Earl Ross.

Suarez is a graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. Before going national, Suarez spent a good portion of his time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, which is now known as the ARCA Menards Series East.

Where Suarez first made his name known was at the NASCAR Peak Mexico Series. The native of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico had his first start in a stock car there on September 6, 2009. He had four starts that year, but then raced five full-time seasons until the 2014 season. Suárez won 10 times between 2012 and 2014, placing as the best runner-up of his career in the final standings of 2013. His career then took off.

“I’m extremely proud to be the driver from Mexico, the driver from a different background,” Suarez previously told NASCAR.com. “I don’t feel like the sport could have found someone more committed to myself, my culture and my background.”

During his first season with Trackhouse in 2021, Suarez posted one top-five finish and four top-10 finishes. He led laps in five different races for a total of 74 laps in front. He averaged a result of 20.1 and placed 25th in the standings.

In just the second event of 2022, Suarez matched his best streak of 2021. He finished fourth at Auto Club Speedway, tying his mark in the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Race last season. He, too, finished fourth three weeks later at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It’s safe to say that Suarez feels more comfortable and confident in his second year with Trackhouse.

“We are going to win some races very soon here,” Suarez said after the Auto Club. “I just can’t thank everyone on my team enough. We had a fast car, but we went through a lot of adversity. … I am happy and honored at the same time. I can tell you that I am going to work very, very hard to get to Victory Lane very, very soon here.”

Prior to Trackhouse, Suarez raced for Gaunt Brothers Racing in 2020. In 2019, Suarez had a career-best four top-five finishes along with 11 top-10 finishes. He was driving the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford at the time.

From 2017 to 2018, Suarez was with Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 19 Toyota. His first career Cup Series appearance was on February 26, 201, at the Daytona 500, where he placed 29th. His best career finish, until his big win, was a second-place finish on July 29, 2018 at Pocono Raceway.

Suarez dominated the Xfinity Series the year before. He won the 2016 title and earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award with three wins, 19 top-fives and 27 top-10s. It was his second full-time season in the Xfinity Series, both of which he spent with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Marks announced the formation of Trackhouse in October 2020 and named Suárez as their driver. Not long after, Armando Pérez, better known as Pitbull, became a partner in the team. Ross Chastain joined the fold before the 2022 season as Suarez’s teammate in the No. 1 Chevy, winning twice in 2022.

There is a solid foundation in place despite the youth of the team.

“You look at my career in the last couple of years, I haven’t had consistency and I feel like consistency in racing is a very important thing,” Suarez said when the team was revealed. “If you can’t have consistency, you can’t have success. It was very important for me to know that I will have everything I need to be competitive and successful, not only next year, but also for what follows.”

Contributing: Staff Reports

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