SONOMA, California – Daniel Suárez had tears in his eyes for so many reasons on Sunday after a lifelong dream came true when he first crossed the finish line at the Sonoma Raceway.
Although Suarez was delighted to become the first Mexican driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race, he soon felt overwhelmed by the gratitude and memories of his trip in motor sports. He also thought about the crowd of fans who supported him across the continent and beyond, including several hundred red-shirted fans shouting his heart out in the stands of Sonoma as part of his Daniel’s Friends outreach program.
“I feel very lucky,” Suarez said after pushing Chris Buescher away from the checkered flag.
“I’m lucky to be that driver with whom the entire Hispanic community can connect,” he added. “I feel like I have a whole country and a community behind me. The people wearing red shirts today are my people. Some of them have exactly the same journey as me: coming from Mexico, not knowing the language, trying to find a opportunity, having goals and trying to make that dream come true. These are my people, and I feel fortunate to be the person who represents them all. “
Despite those touching thoughts, this occasion was not solemn for the 30-year-old Monterrey, who finally won the 195th start of a race in the 2017 World Cup.
After the tears dried in the car, he quickly ordered the taco-shaped piñata he had on hand for his first victory, and celebrated it by making a hole with his fist.
“No one knows how much sweat, sacrifice and tears this caused me,” Suarez said. “All this time, I’ve always dreamed of winning the Serie A Cup.”
Suarez led his Chevrolet Trackhouse Racing to the third Cup win of the season for this 2-year-old rising team co-owned by former driver Justin Marks and music star Pitbull.
Suarez overtook Buescher and took charge at the start of the final stage of this mountainous route in the Northern California wine region, and persevered in a pit stop and a warning to get ahead with 23 laps to go. Buescher pushed it aggressively, but Suarez made no significant mistakes in getting the win.
Buescher’s second place was also the best of the season in his RFK Racing Ford. He was left shortly before his second victory in his career.
“It hurts to be so close, but congratulations to Suarez,” Buescher said. “We were trying, trying to get it there. He ran out of strength.”
Suarez is the fifth foreign-born driver to win a Cup Series race, and is the first to win all three NASCAR national series. He won the Xfinity Series Championship in 2016 and also won a Truck Series race that year.
“I’ve never met a more determined, focused, hard-working runner in 20 years in this sport,” Marks said. “It’s amazing how consistent it is, how that fire keeps burning.”
The success of Suarez and Trackhouse Racing could be a good boost for a sport eager to expand its cultural footprint. After moving to the United States 11 years ago with the desire to race in larger stages, Suarez is a great success story for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, which aims to bring new perspectives and backgrounds to a largely monocultural organization. for much of its history.
Michael McDowell finished third best of the season ahead of Kevin Harvick in cloudy conditions in the first race of the Sonoma Raceway Cup at full capacity since before the coronavirus pandemic. Austin Cindric was fifth in the last race before the break of a week-long half-season of the Series Cup.
Suarez is the fourth-time winner of this Cup season for the first time, joining Chastain, Cindric and Chase Briscoe.
Sonoma Raceway restored the 1.99-mile Chute track layout for this race after using the longest Carousel setup in the previous two editions in 2019 and 2021. The shorter track didn’t seem to lead to more contact in the race, and it didn’t take long. in the race. the first two stages, which were won by Larson and Joey Logano.
Defending champion and pole-sitter Kyle Larson led the first stage, but the defending champion of the series backed away and eventually lost his right front tire with 27 laps to go. Larson started in pole vault for the fifth time in a row in the race closest to his childhood home in the Sacramento suburbs, but his decision not to pit in the first stage left him buried in the field from there. He finished 15th.
After the break, the season resumes with a trip to Nashville Superspeedway on Sunday, June 26th.
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Daniel Suárez achieves the historic NASCAR Cup Series victory in Sonoma
Source link Daniel Suárez achieves the historic NASCAR Cup Series victory in Sonoma