Daniel Suárez has captured several victories across many prestigious divisions – including the NASCAR Cup Series – but his win in Saturday’s King Taco La Batalla en El Coliseo will likely be among the most sentimental.
“It definitely means a lot,” said Suárez. “Thank you fans for coming last minute. Thank you so much. It really means a lot. The people who know me, they know that this race means a lot to me. All of these drivers, this team — my old team — I grew up with this team. If it wasn’t for this series, NASCAR Mexico, I wouldn’t be in the Cup Series today. Thank you NASCAR Mexico, thank you all the drivers, thank you to the fans, you make me feel at home.”
Now a competitor in the NASCAR Cup Series, Suárez returned to the place where he made his name, the NASCAR Mexico Series, to compete in Saturday’s event at the LA Memorial Coliseum scoring the victory in the 150-lap contest.
The 32-year-old driver lurked inside the top five for much of the event, before pouncing on Abraham Calderon, the dominant driver of the evening, inside the final 30 laps of the event, putting his Quaker State-sponsored Chevrolet at the top of the scoring pylon.
However, the native of Monterrey, Mexico wasn’t just handed the victory on a silver platter from that point, but had to hold off a hungry pack of drivers for several late-race restarts, which often involved lots of tight-knit, full-contact racing.
“Let me tell you man, it wasn’t easy. I didn’t feel like we were the fastest car out there. I think that Ruben with the 88 and Abraham with the two car. Those guys were faster than me. I knew I didn’t have the raw speed to beat them, so I needed to be smart and save my tires, save my brakes for the long run, and luckily it paid off.”
Suárez managed to lead 29 of the final 31 circuits around the quarter-mile facility, matching the number of laps led by Ruben Garcia, who also had a very strong presence at the front of the pack, only to suffer problems late in the going.
Throughout Saturday’s event, it didn’t pay to be the race-leader, as both Garcia and Abraham Calderon ran into substantial issues in the closing laps, relegating them to finishes of 16th and 17th.
With two of the strongest vehicles out of contention, Suárez was left to defend against Santiago Tovar for the victory, which he successfully did by nearly a one-second margin.
Alex De Alba came home in third-place, while Rogelio Lopez and Jacobo Cosio completed the top-five. Eloy Sebastian and Xavi Razo rebounded from adversity to finish in sixth and seventh.
Andres Perez De Lara, a championship hopeful in the ARCA Menards Series this season, recorded a finish of eight, with Max Gutierrez and Enrique Baca completing the top-10 positions.
The event marked the second-ever contest for the NASCAR Mexico Series in the United States, the first of which occured at Phoenix Raceway from 2013 to 2015. Now, Suárez has won at both facilities.
Race Results: NASCAR Mexico King Taco La Batalla en El Coliseo