Daniel Suarez is a racing driver from Mexico who became the first non-US driver who won a NASCAR national championship title. He was the Xfinity Series champion in 2016, driving a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
In 2017, he made a full-time debut in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the #19 JGR Toyota. He spent two seasons in that car, moving to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2019.
Daniel Suarez had a successful karting career
He was born on January 7, 1992, in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon state in Mexico. At the age of 10, Daniel started to drive karting and competed in some local competitions. In 2003, Suarez was involved in karting more seriously and soon he became one of the most promising Mexican drivers. Interestingly, his main rival was the future Formula 1 driver Esteban Gutierrez.
Already in 2004, Suarez debuted at the international level. Racing in the Rotax Grand National in Las Vegas, Nevada, he was the best of all Mexican drivers and earned the ticket to the World Rotax in Spain. He continued to race karting until the end of 2007 when he became a national champion and represented his country in the World Rotax in Italy.
Debut in the NASCAR minor series
In 2008, Daniel debuted in mini-stocks, the series which is a backup of NASCAR Mexico Series and he became the youngest driver who managed to win the race in the history of the competition. In 2009, Suarez drove in two races of NASCAR Mexico Series, which was a preparation for the season of 2010 when he became a full-time driver.
He started the season with the SC Racing under the patronage of Snapon, but after five races he was called by Telcel Racing. Despite running only a partial season with the new team, Suarez was named Rookie of the Year and proved that there will be more to come.
The first win in the NASCAR Series
Progress continued in 2011. He continued to compete in NASCAR Mexico Series and finished 9th in the final standings, with three pole positions and one podium finish. At the same time, he appeared in several NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races.
The season of 2012 was even better. Daniel combined his duties in NASCAR Mexico Series, in which he won two races and was awarded Poleman of the Year before he finished 3rd in the final standings. In the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, he scored three top 10 places out of nine races.
The Mexican NASCAR Series runner-up
In 2013, for the first time, Suarez competed full-time in K&N Series, driving a Rev Racing’s Toyota and he managed to score his maiden win, at Columbus Motor Speedway. He also had numerous top 5 and top 10 finishes and he earned a respectable 3rd position overall.
At the same time, he became a vice-champion in the Mexican NASCAR after he has scored three wins and five podium finishes. For the second season in a row, he was Poleman of the Year and was also called to NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program whose purpose is to attract minority and female individuals to the motorsports.
Suarez signed with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2014
The talented driver finished 6th in his home series with five wins and for the fourth consecutive time, he was Poleman of the Year. That was the last season he competed in his homeland and Daniel looked like he was ready to conquer the US.
Driving in 2014 NASCAR K & N Pro Series East, he became the first Mexican who scored a win at Daytona, but the highlight of the season definitely was the announcement that in 2015 he will race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. He made a debut with Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond.
2015 Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year
The young Mexican was impressive in his first full-time season in one of NASCAR’s top divisions. Driving a Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyota #18 in the Xfinity Series, Suarez finished 5th overall, failing to score a race win but he had eight finishes in top 5 and other 10 finishes in top 10 which proved to be decisive in the battle for Rookie of the Year Award he earned after a tight battle with Darrell Wallace Jr.
In 2015, Suarez also competed (part-time) in the Camping World Truck Series, driving a Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Toyota #51. He finished the season without a win but he had 10 finishes in top 10 out of 13 races, which was an impressive achievement.
Xfinity Series champion in 2016
Suarez was rightfully considered as one of the title favorites in the Xfinity Series in 2016. He switched to JGR’s Toyota #19 and right from the beginning he confirmed that he is capable of achieving big things. He was regularly among top 10 and at Michigan, he scored his maiden win. Suarez was especially impressive in the last eight races of the campaign when he won the races at Dover and Homestead and finished in the top 5 in other six races which helped him to win the title by only two points ahead of Elliott Sadler.
Parallel to his duties in Xfinity Series, Daniel continued to drive part-time the KBM’s Toyota in the Truck Series and again scored a couple of good results, including a maiden win at Phoenix.
Full season in the Cup Series with Joe Gibbs Racing
In 2017, Suarez was promoted to full-time duty in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, driving the #19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. He scored twelve top 10 results, including third place at Watkins Glen as the highlight of the season. He continued to race occasionally in the Xfinity Series but scored no wins.
Next year, he stayed in the #19 Toyota, reaching the top 10 in nine races. He was closest to victory at Pocono where he finished second.
Just one season in the #41 Ford Mustang
For the 2019 NASCAR season, Suarez made a move to Stewart-Haas Racing, jumping into the cockpit of the #41 Ford Mustang. He failed to reach Playoffs, finishing 17th in the points at the end of the regular season. At the end of the season, it was announced that he would not return to the #41 car.