For Daniel Suárez, it’s always been the bigger picture that motivates him.
Growing up in Monterrey, Mexico, Suárez and his family were not wealthy. And although it was difficult to afford everything it took to chase a dream in racing, Suárez still held fast to his long-term goals.
Years later, he’s in the top position in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, heading into the Kansas Lottery 300 on Saturday at Kansas Speedway.
But the increased expectations aren’t the source of any worry for Suárez, 24.
“When I was little my family didn’t have a lot of money to put me in racing, so I knew that I needed to do well to be able to get a sponsor for the next race,” he said. “I had a lot of pressure back then, so I think that I have had a lot of pressure all of my life, and for me right now to have a little pressure here in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is not a big deal.”
One of the pinnacles of his speedy career arc came on Tuesday, when Suárez was invited to a White House Town Hall as part of President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” diversity initiative. Suarez shared his story with Latino students in attendance, including an initial struggle to learn English, and how he’s climbed up the ladder since first moving to the U.S.
“It was really cool to be for the first time in the White House and to be able to talk to some kids from college, from high school and to give them advice,” Suárez said. “It’s just a great honor to be in this position right now and to be in NASCAR and to be a Latin driver.”
Suárez has been a welcome face of diversity in the sport, a graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race.
He’s been a swift mover up the ranks, especially this year. In his last three races, Suárez finished in the top-three each time, including a win two weeks ago at Dover International Speedway. He enters the Xfinity Series Chase round of eight as the No. 1 seed.
But as Suárez has learned in his life, it’s sometimes patience and a commitment to the bigger plan that can bring the most success. That’s the mind-set he will bring to Kansas this weekend.
“You have to understand that you’re racing for a championship, you’re racing for the big picture,” Suárez said. “That’s something that we have to keep in mind the whole time because if you forgot that for one second, maybe that second was the most important and you got into a wreck. … I feel like we’ve been pretty consistent, not just in the Chase, but the whole year, and that’s something that we have to keep doing.”