Daniel Suarez makes NASCAR XFINITY Series history by becoming the highest finishing Mexican-born driver with his second-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Joe Gibbs Racing ride could be the start of something big Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Daniel Suarez seems to have a sense of how big a leap he's about to make up the NASCAR ladder, but even then, it's still a jump that's difficult for him to grasp. One year ago, Suarez was competing on a makeshift 0.4-mile oval on the backstretch of Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. This year, the 23-year-old driver will be stretching his legs on the full 2.5-mile layout as he opens his first full season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. "Everything is new," Suarez said last Thursday during NASCAR Media Day. "Sometimes I don't even know the level of what I'm getting into, but it's great to be learning about the best drivers, the best race teams, the best brands. It's just a great opportunity of life. I believe this kind of opportunity you get just once in life, and maybe this is mine. I need to try to work 100 percent to make something good happen from this." Suarez's superspeedway debut comes Saturday in the XFINITY season-opening Alert Today Florida 300 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1), but he already has Daytona to thank in part for helping him get his big break. Last February, Suarez prevailed in the Battle at the Beach on the temporary backstretch circuit, right on the heels of a victory at nearby New Smyrna Speedway -- his second K&N win in a span of three days. Those consecutive wins -- combined with his portfolio of 10 victories in three seasons in the NASCAR Toyota Mexico Series -- helped attract the eye of Joe Gibbs Racing, which backed Suarez's XFINITY debut in April at Richmond International Raceway and will field the No. 18 Toyota for him in all 33 races this season. "I think winning is everything," said Suarez , a product of the NASCAR Next youth initiative. "I think if you win races, your name starts getting around and people start knowing more about you and people start getting interested. When I got those two wins at the start of the season, I started getting more opportunities and we started thinking and talking more about 2015. I believe that definitely was a good step to being where we are right now." Suarez moved from his native Mexico to North Carolina three years ago, not just to be closer to the hub of stock-car racing teams but to learn English as a second language. All the while, he continued to compete full time in the Mexico Series, creating a travel and logistics high-wire act with frequent trips between the United States and his homeland. His 2015 slate doesn't include any Mexico Series events, meaning visits to his hometown of Monterrey will come at a far less frequent rate. Instead, Suarez hopes his family will be able to make the trip stateside to see him race. "They're so happy and proud of all this," Suarez said. "My family doesn't come from racing, so this is kind of new for everyone. This is something new that we're exploring, so definitely it's a good experience." To help accelerate his learning process, Suarez plans to compete in 13 races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in Kyle Busch Motorsports' No. 51 Toyota, primarily to gain experience at tracks where he's yet to turn a wheel. It's a hefty increase in his workload, which to date consists of just three career starts at the NASCAR national series level. Should the sharp trajectory up the NASCAR ranks continue on its current arc, the top-tier Sprint Cup Series might not be that far off. But Suarez demurs at the suggestion, saying it's too early to forecast such a plan. "I wish," Suarez said with a grin. "We can talk about that right now, but maybe it's not the time. The XFINITY Series is the most important thing right now. Definitely after we progress, after we can be competitive and win some races in the XFINITY Series, that is going to come to our team. For now, it's not in the conversations, but I believe it will come in the timing of the moment." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Six cars involved in crash during opening round of qualifying Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live A six-car wreck brought out a red flag during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Drivers involved included Daniel Suarez , Landon Cassill, Harrison Rhodes, Blake Koch, Carlos Contreras and Tanner Berryhill. The pileup came about at the end of the second group participating in the first round of group qualifying before the season-opening Alert Today Florida 300, 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Suarez appears to be heading to his backup car. The @ARRISEVERYWHERE backup car is being unloaded. Several parts will need to be swapped. 18 team will be busy. pic.twitter.com/aU1bHQHYus — Boris for JGR (@JoeGibbsRacing) February 21, 2015 The melee also stirred up sentiment from drivers that the new knockout qualifying format is not suited for tracks like Daytona. "This is not what it needs to be," Kyle Busch said to FOX Sports 1 about group qualifying shortly after the wreck. "Somehow, someway, this isn't right." Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted that he hoped everyone was OK following the wreck as his team waited to see if it would make the race. Hope all is well after that accident. Seen a few hit hard. Now we sit and wait and see if we make the show. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) February 21, 2015 Shortly after the wreck qualifying was put on hold due to bad weather in the area. This story will be updated. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Daniel Suarez loses control causing a multi-car wreck in the Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
fred's 250 will be run on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET (FOX) RELATED: Complete entry list for Talladega " VIDEO: NASCAR celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month Milka Duno and Daniel Suarez will make their first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts in the fred's 250 at Talladega Superspeedway . Both drivers are on the entry list for the event, with Duno slated to drive the No. 1 Truck and Suarez behind the wheel of the No. 35 entry. The 42-year-old Duno, a native of Venezuela, has been on the entry list for four Nationwide Series events, but she failed to qualify for two races and withdrew from a third. She made her NASCAR national series debut earlier this month at Kansas Speedway and finished 40th after a crash three laps into the event took her out of the race. Suarez has made two starts this season in the Nationwide Series with a best finish of 15th place at Chicagoland Speedway last month. However, this is his first foray into the Truck Series. The 22-year-old NASCAR Next alumnus from Monterrey, Mexico, who has five wins in the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series and is five points behind Abraham Calderon with two races remaining, is set to drive full time for Joe Gibbs Racing next season in the XFINITY Series as well part time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series. The fred's 250 will be run on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX. It is the 18th event of the season in the series. Defending series champion Matt Crafton holds a 19-point lead over his ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter coming into the event. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Alan Cavanna talks with Daniel Suarez about his recent success in the NASCAR K&N Series and Mexico Series.
Daniel Suarez says his opportunity to join JGR full-time in 2015 is a dream come true. He will also run a partial NCWTS schedule with KBM and new sponsor Arris.
Suarez has two wins to start the K&N Pro Series East season
Daniel Suarez continues to succeed in 2014, doing so in multiple NASCAR series.
Daniel Suarez lives a dream by capturing his first victory at Daytona International Speedway.