NASCAR XFinity Series
joins ranks of winners
His first win at Michigan enabled him to make history
(September 2016) – On Daniel Suarez’s last visit to the Kentucky Speedway last July, he finished third in his No. 19 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR XFinity Series’ Alsco 300. He’ll return on Sept. 24 for the NASCAR XFinity Series’ VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300.
At the close of that race, Suarez led the points standings by nine over Elliott Sadler, who finished in sixth place. Fellow Joe Gibbs Racing driver Erik Jones finished fourth in the No. 20 Toyota and Darrell Wallace Jr. rounded out the top five.
Suarez, along with all the other drivers, found themselves racing on a track that had been repaved and reconfigured over the offseason.
Daniel Suarez (19) chases teammate Elliott Sadler (1) in the NASCAR XFinity race at Sparta last July.
Busch chose the outside lane on the decisive restart and had teammate Suarez to his inside. Dillon surged past Suarez on the restart and pulled even with Busch. They raced side-by-side into Turn 3, but Busch managed to secure the lead and win.
Suarez has said of his teammate, “Kyle has been super helpful. He has supported me a lot and given me advice. He’s been a good friend.”
Almost two years earlier, in August 2014, Suarez announced he would compete full-time in the 2015 NASCAR XFinity Series in the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and run a partial schedule in the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports driving the No. 51 Toyota Tundra.
In 2016, Suarez’s car number was switched to No. 19. He won his first race at Michigan International Speedway this year by passing Kyle Busch on the last lap. This enabled him to become the first Mexican-born driver to win in a NASCAR national touring series.
Daniel Alejandro Suarez Garza, 24, previously drove in the NASCAR Toyota Series in Mexico for Telcel Racing, and the K&N Pro Series East for Rev Racing as a member of the Drive for Diversity program.
A native of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon, Suarez began his racing career in karting in 2002 and slowly moved up from there.
The previous day, Suarez led 77 laps in the Camping World Truck Series race. Earlier in the season Suarez placed sixth in the finishing order at Bristol. The driver of the No. 19 has top-10 finishes in all three races in which he’s competed at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile.
In April 2014, he was selected by Joe Gibbs Racing to make his debut in the Nationwide Series at Richmond International Raceway, driving the team’s No. 20 Toyota. He finished 19th.
ARRIS Group, Inc. partnered with Suarez in a multi-year program, beginning with the 2015 NASCAR XFinity Series, as well as a partial schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. On July 4, 2015, Suarez won the pole for the XFinity Series Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona; this was his first career pole in the series.
He went on to win two more poles at Iowa Speedway and Kentucky Speedway, and won his first ARCA pole at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Suarez won the 2015 NASCAR XFinity series Rookie of the Year title, beating out Darrell Wallace Jr. for the award by one single top 10 finish in statistics.
“Having the opportunity to run full time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with Joe Gibbs Racing is like a dream come true,” Suarez has been quoted as saying. “Everyone knows how successful they have been in the Nationwide Series and I can’t thank ARRIS enough for supporting me.”
“To be able to be an example to bring more people is great,” said Suarez of becoming the first Mexican-born NASCAR winner last June. Busch had led 88 of the 125 laps in the Menards 250 race Saturday, but he couldn’t stay ahead of Suarez for the final two laps. Busch said of the race, “I didn’t know Suarez was coming like that. He had some speed.”
“This is monumental,” said David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development. “It couldn’t have been scripted better because he had to beat some heavy hitters. He didn’t do it at a stand-alone event.”
Suarez was first on the speed charts for a shortened XFinity Series opening practice at Bristol Motor Speedway in mid-August 2016. Having entered the weekend second in points, posted the quickest lap of 126.046 mph in his No. 19 Toyota. He was followed by Regan Smith in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. In the top five were Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones.
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