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Gutierrez, 20, was originally scheduled to compete in the 2023 Truck Series opener at Daytona but those plans were put on hold after he and his younger brother, Federico, were involved in a traffic accident Jan. 29 near Valle de Bravo, a resort area about 60 miles west of Mexico City.
Federico, 17, who was driving, was pronounced dead at the scene while Max was injured and treated at a hospital in Mexico City.
After taking several weeks to mourn, Max Gutiérrez has decided to restart his NASCAR career and will compete in Friday night’s Truck race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, driving the No. 22 Ford for AM Racing.
It will mark Max’s fifth career start in the series. He made four starts last season with his best finish an eighth at Nashville Superspeedway.
“Racing is the best medicine for me and Fico was one of the first to congratulate me after our success at Nashville,” Max said. “I will cherish that moment forever.
“I know he will be racing alongside me and I plan to make him proud on Friday night.”
Max recently posted a touching tribute to his brother on his Twitter page. Translated from Spanish, it read, “My brother I still don’t have the words to tell you how much I miss you and love you. Right now I don’t know exactly the ‘why?’ of all this … but I know that throughout my life you are going to explain it to me. Many thanks for everything. See you soon brother and a hug to where you are. I love you”
Both Max and Federico – nicknamed “Fico” – have been successful aspiring NASCAR competitors.
Max, a six-time Super Kart Champion, 2018 Truck Mexico Series champion and the 2020 NASCAR Mexico Challenge Series champion, has run a handful of NASCAR Truck and ARCA Menards Series races in recent years.
In 2021, he ran fulltime in ARCA East with Rette Jones Racing, finishing fourth in the series standings and winning the season opener at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway.
Fico made his racing debut in the United States in 2021 in a Late Model race. He has competed in the Truck Mexico Series, where he earned his first victory in the fall of 2021 and finished third in the series standings that season.
Fico made his debut in the NASCAR Mexico Challenge Series last season, finishing 11th at Autodromo de Chiapas. He also teamed with his brother Max to compete in the 2019 24 Hours of Mexico and became the youngest driver to do so at age 13.
“I know my AM Racing team will be bringing a fast race truck and I believe I am focused on capitalizing on that. I learned a lot at Charlotte and Homestead last year and I plan to use that experience to my advantage this weekend,” Max said.
“I just want to climb in, be competitive and make everyone proud. Racing is everything to me and even though I cannot share those physical experiences with my brother anymore, I believe he is still there as one of my greatest supporters.”
To honor his brother, Max’s No. 22 AM Racing Ford will showcase his brother’s logo on the hood.