Daniel Suárez Sets Sights on Daytona 500 & Building on Diversity at NASCAR

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 18: NASCAR driver Daniel Suarez poses for a photo during NASCAR Production Days at Charlotte Convention Center on January 18, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

For Daniel Suárez, success at the Daytona 500 this weekend means winning the race. The 500-mile-long NASCAR Cup Series event, considered by many as the “Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing,” has never been won by a non-American driver. Suárez would like to be the first.

“We have worked very hard for months to prepare for this race,” Suárez, 31, told Remezcla during an interview earlier this week from Daytona Beach. “I know we’re going to have an opportunity to win the most amazing race of the year. To win would be a whole different level.”

While at the Daytona International Speedway this week preparing for the race, Suárez, born in Monterrey, Mexico, signed a multiyear contract extension with Trackhouse Racing, one of the auto racing organizations that compete in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Suárez joined Trackhouse during its inception in 2021 and earned his first Cup Series victory last summer at Sonoma Raceway. He became the first Mexican-born racer to take home Sonoma’s checkered flag. Now that his contract is extended with Trackhouse, Suárez can focus on what is most important to him during the season: winning races.

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“As a racecar driver, I like to get these kinds of things out of the way early,” he said. “Winning is the goal. Trackhouse is my house; they’ve been nothing but great to me. We’re building something very special here.”

I feel so proud to be able to connect with [Latinos] in a more personal way.

What Suárez and Trackhouse are building, however, goes beyond winning trophies. Upon Suárez’s contract extension, Trackhouse owner Justin Marks said that “culture has been of prime importance since the idea … existed only on a whiteboard in an office.” Together, Suárez and his team are always looking for ways to expand diversity in the sport.

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“I think the culture is something we continue to improve, and we continue to have as a priority,” Suárez said. “I believe that we’re moving the needle in the right way. I think we’re doing amazing things for diversity and [bringing] more Latinos to the racetrack, which is one of my goals every single year.”

As the only full-time Mexican driver in the Cup Series, Suárez would love to see more Latino drivers behind the wheel. But he also knows how critical it is to bring more of them to all facets of racing – from the engineering team to mechanics working in the pit.

“I feel so proud to be able to connect with [Latinos] in a more personal way,” he said. “I feel like we’re opening more doors to more Latinos, so they can see that NASCAR is an option, whether they want to be a mechanic or an engineer. It feels special to know that we’re changing the culture of the sport.”

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While winning at the Sonoma Raceway last summer was the pinnacle of his young career so far, Suárez said he must look ahead. While Sonoma was significant, there is so much more racing left to do.

I’m not planning to have only one [win]. I’m planning to have 50. My plan is to continue to win. I know we’re going to make many Latinos very proud this year.

Look for Suárez driving the No. 99 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Trackhouse Racing this Sunday (February 19) at the Daytona 500 on Fox starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.