By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
For Daniel Suárez, it has been a long and winding road to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Suárez first entered the NASCAR K&N Pro East Series in 2011 while also competing full-time in the NASCAR Mexico Series.
In the K&N Pro East Series, the results were not what Suárez was expecting. He earned just two top fives and six Top 10s in 16 races between 2011 and 2012. At the same time, Suárez earned 12 top fives and 16 Top 10s in the NASCAR Mexico Series.
In 2013, Suárez was selected to participate in NASCAR’s Drive 4 Diversity program joining Annabeth Barnes, Mackena Bell, Ryan Gifford, Jack Madrid, and Bryan Ortiz.
For Suárez, the impact of the program was immediate. In the 2013 season, he earned one win, six top fives, and nine Top 10s. He followed that up with two more wins in 2014, four top fives, and seven Top 10s.
2014 also marked the NASCAR Xfinity Series debut for Suárez as he made two starts, one with Joe Gibbs Racing, and one for Robby Benton.
Suárez followed that with a full NASCAR Xfinity Season in 2015, in which he won Rookie of the Year honors. In 2016, he followed that success with three victories and the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship.
When Suárez was asked how much the Drive 4 Diversity helped him, the answer was easy,
“Yeah, for me it’s been a lot of help. In 2012 when I was racing by myself, I had a lot of issues. I actually had really – I didn’t really want to race here anymore. I wanted to go back to México to race over there and have some fun there, and then I had my opportunity through the Drive 4 Diversity program in 2013, and things just start changing right away. Well, not right away, but by the second half of the year, we started winning races, which we finished third in points, and we did pretty well.”
“On the second year with them, in 2014, we won a few races, and it was very well, and thanks to that, I got my opportunity with Joe Gibbs Racing. I think it’s a great program. I really hope that they continue to support the young talents from all over the world, from Latin America like me, and to bring new names into the sport.”
The 2017 NASCAR Drive 4 Diversity roster includes Collin Cabre, Chase Cabre, Rubén García Jr., Jay Beasley, Macy Causey, and Madeline Crane.
Suárez and his No. 19 Arris Toyota Camry team will now look to continue their success from the NASCAR Xfinity Series, as well as the success that Carl Edwards had last year before he decided to step away from the sport in January 2017.