Suarez prevails at MIS; he’s first Mexican with NASCAR win
Brooklyn – Daniel Suarez emerged from the back of the pack after an early penalty for speeding down pit road and went on to pass Kyle Busch for his first career win in the Xfinity series Menards 250 Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway.
Suarez is the first Mexican driver to win a NASCAR national series race.
Suarez, the series points leader, was running seventh following a restart on lap 92 of the 125-lap race, then started picking off car after car until he was on the bumper of Busch’s No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota with four laps remaining.
Suarez, in his No. 19 ARRIS Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, went inside of Busch and slipped by him heading into the start/finish line with a lap left and then held him off the rest of the way on the two-mile superspeedway.
“I want to thank Kyle Busch because he was a huge help to me,” said the 24-year-old Suarez of Busch, his JGR teammate who has won 80 Xfinity series races and is the defending Sprint Cup champion. “I came to the NASCAR series without knowing anything, just trying to make something happen and he was super supportive with me. He taught me a lot of stuff in the truck series and I’m just very happy to get a win. It feels amazing. It’s unbelievable.
“Kyle drove me clean. He's a good friend. He went to Victory Lane and said he was very proud the way that I beat him, being aggressive. I knew that I was going to be able to have a shot. I finished second to him already a couple of times.”
Suarez increased his points lead to 18 over Elliott Sadler, who finished fifth. Paul Menard followed Busch for third and JGR driver Erik Jones, a Swartz Creek High graduate, was fourth and now sits fourth in points, trailing Suarez by 55.
Busch was proud of Suarez.
“He’s done a lot of homework, and has done a good job of being able to talk to the crew chiefs, get them solid information that’s going to help them make their cars better, and I think that’s what he did today,” said Busch of Suarez. “I had never even heard of the 19 (Suarez), never saw them all day today, and then here he came at the end of the race, passed us and beat us.”
Busch said Suarez “calls me all the time” seeking race tips.
“Hopefully today he took a big step in what he needs to know to be successful every week,” Busch said.