Watch out, Ross Chastain. Daniel Suarez is coming for that unofficial title of best celebrator in NASCAR.
With his win at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, the driver of the No. 99 Chevrolet for Trackhouse Racing Team became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race. While soaking in the historic moment, Suarez was absolutely electric with his post-win celebrations, from ripping an incredible burnout (as is tradition) to dropping an F-bomb in the post-race interview (and keeping the censors on their toes) to drinking wine in Victory Lane (and subsequently dumping it all over himself).
Now, these celebrations aren't too out of the ordinary, but it was Suarez grabbing a taco piñata from the top of his car and punching through it that truly made him stand out.
As Suarez later admitted to reporters, his first post-win thought wasn't related to how far he had come or making history. He just wanted to make sure he had that piñata on hand so that the TV cameras could capture his unique celebration.
"I was asking for my piñata," Suarez said. "I was asking the team to bring the piñata with me. I wanted to break it."
Of course, the historical implications of his Sonoma win weren't lost on Suarez either, as the 30-year-old native of Monterrey, Mexico became just the fifth Cup winner from outside the United States, joining Earl Ross (Canada), Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia), Marcos Ambrose (Australia), and Mario Andretti (Italy).
"Just very thankful being a kid coming from Mexico trying to live the NASCAR dream in the US," Suarez said in his post-win interview. "It's been a different journey. Every NASCAR driver has had a tough journey. Everyone has a different journey. But my journey is definitely the most different of everyone else, leaving my family, my country, and just coming to a different culture, different language. Thinking of all those things, it makes today very, very special."
Suarez's thoughts later turned to his fans, known as "Daniel's Amigos," who wore red shirts in support of the driver. Clearly overcome by emotion over the outpouring of love and support, Suarez also used his post-win stage as an opportunity to inspire others.
"All the people wearing red shirts today, those are my people," Suarez said. "Some of them, they have exactly the same journey that I have. Coming from Mexico, not knowing the language, trying to find an opportunity, having goals, just trying to find that dream or trying to make that dream happen. These are my people. I feel extremely lucky to be the one that can represent all of them."
"Hopefully, the success that we have had, that we're having, can fuel them as well to continue to push in whatever they want to do — [whether] that is racing, mechanic, engineering, business, whatever that may be — to continue to fuel them to know that they can do it. They just have to work hard and put on the table what they have to do."
Suarez's first win comes during his sixth full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series, where he has achieved 41 top-10 finishes. He made his first historic mark on NASCAR back in 2016, when he became the first international champion in the Xfinity Series.
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