First-time winner Daniel Suarez enjoying the moments
The only break in NASCAR’s February-to-November regular-season schedule arrived at a perfect time for Daniel Suarez.
Suarez won Sunday’s race at Sonoma Raceway, becoming the fourth first-time winner this season, and has two weeks to relive the moment because the series is idle this weekend.
On Tuesday, Suarez reported having little sleep but a lot of fun. He was at his home in Monterrey, Mexico, continuing the victory celebration with family and friends.
“Right now I’m in a place I can only dream of,” Suarez said. “I haven’t been able to catch up on my phone. I’ve had over a thousand texts.”
Before he flew to Monterrey, Suarez detoured to Concord, N.C. to stop by the Trackhouse Racing shop and thank the members of his team who were not at Sonoma for Sunday’s win. Upon his arrival home, his mother and sister arranged a surprise welcome party. That was special, he said, except that he was really sleepy and hungry.
Asked how becoming a Cup winner has changed him, Suarez said his personal life is different but that his racing life will continue along the same line.
“It doesn’t change anything,” he said. “In reality, everything is the same. The only difference is that we accomplished a very big goal. But life doesn’t change. We have to continue to do our job. We now know that we can do it. I know I’m a winning driver, and together we’re building something great.”
After the off weekend, the Cup Series is scheduled to race June 26 Nashville Superspeedway on NBC. It will be a “home game” of sorts for Trackhouse Racing. Although the team shop is in North Carolina, Trackhouse’s headquarters is in Nashville, where team owner Justin Marks and team president Ty Norris have homes.
At Nashville, Suarez’s car will be sponsored by Tootsie’s, one of the Nashville entertainment district’s most popular bars and a probable headquarters for a big evening celebration if Suarez or teammate Ross Chastain win.
Although Suarez won the Xfinity Series championship in 2016, his Cup career stalled, then plummeted. Driving for Gaunt Brothers Racing in 2020, he failed to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500 and scored a seasonal high finish of 18th.
“In 2020 I hit bottom,” Suarez said. “I knew it couldn’t get any worse. That was the year I reset. It made me tougher, helped me hit the reset button. It takes a lot to put me in the ground.”
Suarez, in the last season of his agreement with Trackhouse, said he is discussing a contract renewal.
“This is my home,” he said. “I’m not going anywhere. We’re in a very, very good place here. I’m 100 percent sure something will work out.”