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That doesn’t mean the journey wasn’t a difficult one, however.
Suarez debuted in NASCAR competition in his native Mexico in 2009 and became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race in 2016 with his Xfinity Series victory at Michigan.
His NASCAR future seemed on a fast track. He was among the first success stories to come out of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and he went on to win the 2016 Xfinity championship with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Just as Suarez was about to embark on a second season in Xfinity, Carl Edwards abruptly left NASCAR, leaving JGR with a Cup ride to fill for the 2017 season. The organization turned to Suarez as Edwards’ replacement.
Although there were plenty of flashes of potential, Suarez never seemed to find the same success in Cup, whether it was at JGR, Stewart-Haas Racing or Gaunt Brothers Racing.
A little over a year working with his newest team, Trackhouse Racing, Suarez has finally found what he’s been searching for in NASCAR’s premier series – a victory.
Suarez took the lead in Sunday’s race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway with 22 of 110 laps remaining and cruised to victory over Chris Buescher, earning his first victory in 195 career starts.
With the win, Suarez became the first Mexican driver to win in the Cup Series since its inception in 1949.
“You know, it has cost me a lot to get to this point. A lot of people don’t know that, but it has cost me a lot to get to this country first 10 years ago, and to get to this point, fighting,” Saurez, 30, said. “I come from a very humble family. Every step of my life has cost me a lot.
“I knew that it’s important to remember that if I was able to come all the way here, I wasn’t going to give up here. My confidence was high.
“But obviously knowing that you haven’t won yet, there is a little bit of doubt. But I knew that I was fast. I knew that I could race with them, with the guys that are winning. But I hadn’t showed that first victory.”
Although a new team, Trackhouse Racing had shown to be competitive since its debut last season.
Even with the introduction of the Next Gen car this year, the team still has been among the most consistently fast week-in and week-out.
The organization picked up its first wins earlier this season with two trips to Victory Lane by Suarez’s teammate, Ross Chastain.
While Suarez’s No. 99 team seemed to hit roadblock after roadblock to a win, he said he still knew he was with a team capable of producing wins.
“I told my team, you know, the last five weeks we have had very fast race cars, but things happen. The jack broke last week. In Charlotte we were the fastest car and we were missing something on pit road every single time,” he said.
“But at the end my team, everyone, we stayed together. We keep pushing. I told them that bad luck doesn’t last forever, and tough people do. We kept working very hard and here we are.”
The win couldn’t have come at a better time for Suarez.
While he had shown to have fast cars this season, his team’s erratic results had left him in danger of missing the playoffs without a victory.
Now, he has his first win and an opportunity to compete for a Cup Series championship.
“Today was amazing. We did a lot of things right. But we believed that our car could have been a little bit better,” Suarez said.
“So, when you look at the big picture and always try to see yourself as what I could have done better or different, that’s when you become a great team. I feel like we’re on our way there.”