The Toyota Save Mart 350 in Sonoma may not have had any kind of photo finish, but its ending held a different kind of significance. Mexican-born driver Daniel Suárez finished first for his first Cup Series win, holding off Chris Buescher down the stretch to secure the victory for Trackhouse Racing.
Suárez’s previous best finish this year was fourth, which he achieved twice – Once in Fontana and once in Atlanta. His career-best was Pocono in 2018, where he finished as a runner-up.
The win came after Kyle Larson dominated the first stage while Joey Logano pulled a second-stage win. Suárez took first place after a restart from a caution in the third stage, and never gave it up.
Here’s what to know about Suárez’s historic win.
What is the significance of Daniel Suárez’s win?
Daniel Suárez had both a first and a rare event with his win in Sonoma. He became the first Mexican-born driver to win a Cup Series event, and just the fifth non-American driver to do so. Colombia’s Juan Pablo Montoya, Australia’s Marcos Ambrose, Canada’s Earl Ross and Italian-born American Mario Andretti are the only others to achieve the feat.
Suárez, 30, took 195 starts to finally get his first win. And what a sweet victory it was.
Thank you to all my amigos who never stopped believing in me. Thank you to @JustinMarksTH for giving me an opportunity. Thank you to everyone at @TeamTrackhouse for the fast race cars. I am so lucky to be part of this team. I am so humbled and grateful. GRACIAS!!!!! 🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/75NkyrSqBk— Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) June 13, 2022
In the winner’s circle, he continued the fledgling tradition at Trackhouse to throw a party. While teammate Ross Chastain smashed a watermelon after his victory this year, Suárez smashed a piñata in celebration.
How did Daniel Suárez end up at Trackhouse Racing?
It’s been a long road for Suárez to get to this point. This isn’t his first first on the NASCAR circuit. In 2016, he became the first Mexican-born driver to win a race at the Xfinity Series with a win in Michigan, his first of two wins on the season.
In 2017, he joined Joe Gibbs Racing, where he had a solid opening season that saw him make the All-Star race. Suárez was consistently around the top 10 of races, but he would finish 20th in the standings with 777 points. After 2018, an up-and-down season led to his departure from Joe Gibbs Racing. He was replaced by Martin Truex Jr.
2019 saw Suárez joining Stewart-Haas Racing, where he would last just one season before leaving the team. 2020 put Suárez on Gaunt Brothers Racing, where he also spent one year after failing to make the Toyota 500.
2021 is when Suárez joined Trackhouse Racing, where he has seen more consistency. Suárez has become a key member of the team, with this win at Sonoma being an exclamation point he’s looking to build on.
What did Daniel Suárez have to say after the race?
Suárez was all smiles when the race was over.
“It’s crazy,” he said in the winner’s circle to Fox. “I have so many thoughts in my head right now. It’s been a rough journey in the Cup Series, and these guys believed in me. I have a lot of people to thank in Mexico. My family, they never gave up on me. A lot of people did, but they didn’t. I’m just happy we were able to make it work.”
Suárez went on to add this is the “first of many.”
What are the NASCAR standings now?
The Suárez win has put him in the top 10 of point standings, which are currently led by teammate Chastain.