NASCAR Xfinity Series competitor Daniel Suarez, who Motorsport reports became the first Mexico-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race with an Xfinity Series victory at Michigan International Speedway in June, took the series title with a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday night.
With the new Chase format in the Xfinity Series, four drivers came into the race in Florida with a chance to win the title: Suarez, Erik Jones, Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier. They made it by virtue of a knockout playoff format, with the championship title being decided by the highest race finisher in the Homestead-Miami season finale.
Suarez, a 24-year-old native of Monterrey, Mexico, dominated for much of the race, which saw all four of the remaining championship contenders in the top four spots at one point. But a late round of pit stops led Suarez to restart third with three laps to go, in between fellow Chase contenders Sadler and Jones, who restarted second and fourth, respectively. A driver not in contention for the championship title, Cole Whitt, started first due to pit strategy.
In the same style as he had for most of the night, Suarez got around Sadler in the middle of the first and second turns in order to take the lead. Suarez led all three laps to take the checkered flag, giving him a laps-led total of 133 of the 200 laps. Sadler took third, Allgaier sixth and Jones ninth in the final running order.
With “Viva Mexico!” screams in victory lane and the celebration surrounding the first foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR national series championship, Suarez told NBC Sports Network that his family has worked “super hard” since he was 11 years old to get him to this point with the right equipment and by helping him to improve.
“I don’t think I can speak English right now,” said Suarez, who said he learned the language by watching cartoons. “I’m just wordless.”
No words needed, dude.