Friday, January 19, 2018
Sports

Daniel Suarez is first Mexican to win a NASCAR national race

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Daniel Suarez became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national race, passing Kyle Busch and holding off one of the sport's top stars in the Xfinity series Menards 250 on Saturday.

"To be able to be an example to bring more people is great," said Suarez, who moved to the United States five years ago.

Busch led 88 of the 125 laps at Michigan International Speedway, but he couldn't stay ahead of Suarez for the final two.

"I didn't know Suarez was coming like that," Busch said. "He had some speed."

Suarez, 24, is the first non-American to lead any of NASCAR's three national series in points. He became the first Mexican to win the Xfinity series' rookie of the year award last year.

Winning a race adds quite a feat to his accomplishments. "This is monumental," said David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development.

Paul Menard, Erik Jones and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top five. "It couldn't have been scripted better because (Suarez) had to beat some heavy hitters," Wilson said. "He didn't do it at a stand-alone event."

Jones raced with "Dave," instead of his name, painted above the driver-side window. His father, Dave, died this week at 53 not long after being diagnosed with cancer. "Erik made a point to be in that race car," Wilson said. "He did it to honor his father."

F1: Defending champion Lewis Hamilton earned the pole for today's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal for a fifth time and the second year in a row. Hamilton turned in the fastest lap of qualifying, completing the 2.71-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1 minute, 12.812 seconds, for his fifth pole of the year. Mercedes teammate and points leader Nico Rosberg starts next to him on the front row.

NHRA: Steve Torrence took his fifth Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier of the season with a 3.735-second pass at 325.06 mph in Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. Ron Capps topped Funny Car (3.870 at 318.62), Jason Line led Pro Stock with the fastest time of the year (6.519 at 212.56), and Eddie Krawiec led Pro Stock Motorcycle (6.783 at 195.53).

LATE FRIDAY: Rookie William Byron passed two-time NASCAR truck series champion and current points leader Matt Crafton with five laps left to win the Rattlesnake 400 in Fort Worth, Texas. It was the second career victory for Byron, 18, who graduated from high school last month.

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