Daniel Suárez’s six-season journey at NASCAR’s top level has been taxing, after being brought into the series by Joe Gibbs Racing after the sudden retirement of Carl Edwards, and ending up at three organizations within his first four seasons.
His move to Trackhouse Racing in 2021 – a startup operation owned by Justin Marks — proved to be a smart move for his career, gaining momentum in their first season together, before coming out of the gate swinging with two cars in 2022.
Both Suárez and his teammate, Ross Chastain, have had tremendous speed throughout the season, with Chastain notching the team’s first two victories at COTA and Talladega, and Suarez coming close on so many occasions.
Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway proved to be the breakthrough for the 30-year-old native of Monterrey, Mexico.
Leading a race-high 47 laps around the 2.520-mile road course, Suárez picked up the third victory for Trackhouse Racing, and the second NASCAR National Series victory for crew chief Travis Mack.
“It’s a crazy day. I have so many thoughts in my head right now,” said Suárez. “I mean, it’s been a rough road. It’s been a rough journey in the Cup Series.
“These guys believe in me, Trackhouse Racing, Justin Marks, Ty Norris,” Suárez emotionally continued. “Everyone that helped me to get to this point. A lot of people in Mexico: Jay Morales, Carlos Slim. My family, never give up on me. A lot of people did, but they didn’t.”
While Sunday’s triumph marks an emotional moment for Suárez’s career at NASCAR’s top level, it also likely ensures that the Trackhouse Racing driver will secure his first berth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Chris Buescher maintained a spot inside the top-five throughout the entire event, leading four laps and coming home in the runner-up position, one week after missing a race after testing positive for COVID-19.
In another strong performance for Front Row Motorsports, Michael McDowell came home in third place, with Kevin Harvick and Austin Cindric rounding out the top-five finishers.
Ryan Blaney and Ross Chastain finished sixth and seventh, while Chase Elliott – who had a stranglehold on the middle portion of the event — finished in eighth place. William Byron and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-10.
After starting from the pole and winning the race’s first stage, things started going downhill for the defending series champion, when the right-front wheel came off of his Hendrick Motorsports entry. Larson would finish in 15th.
Leaving Sonoma, Chase Elliott continues to hold the lead in the regular-season standings by 16 points over Ross Chastain. Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, and Joey Logano round out the top-five in the standings.
Next for the NASCAR Cup Series is the series’ only off-week, before teams travel to Nashville Superspeedway for the 17th event of the 2022 season, and the first to be broadcasted live with NBC Sports.