Daniel Suárez re­ceives hero’s wel­come in Mex­ico City

Cecil Whig - - & - StaffREPORfT

NASCAR Wire Ser­vice

— A NASCAR cham­pi­onship aside, Daniel Suárez is still mak­ing his name known in the United States.

In his na­tive Mex­ico, his name is etched in gold.

He’s a rock star, the kind of guy who draws large crowds of ador­ing fans, each one seek­ing an au­to­graph or selfie or hand­shake or high-five. Need proof? Just look at the crowd that packed Autó­dromo Her­manos Ro­dríguez on Sun­day. Suárez served as the grand mar­shal of the NASCAR PEAK Mex­cio Se­ries ex­hi­bi­tion race, con­tin­u­ing a whirl­wind cel­e­bra­tion that hasn’t stopped since he won the NASCAR XFINTIY Se­ries cham­pi­onship last month.

Suárez could barely take a step with­out pos­ing for a pic­ture, sign­ing an au­to­graph or hear­ing the words “fe­li­ci­dades campeón (trans­la­tion: congratulations, cham­pion).”

“I was ex­pect­ing some­thing good, but this was great,” said Suárez, shortly af­ter a large group of pho­tog­ra­phers cap­tured a photo of him pos­ing with the Mex­i­can flag. “Ev­ery time I talk about this, I feel very, very happy for all the fans, all the teams and ev­ery­one who has been help­ing me to get to this point – the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Se­ries Cham­pi­onship.”

Suárez went out of his way to show his ap­pre­ci­a­tion to fans who came to see him in Mex­ico City. Af­ter be­ing in­ter­viewed over the pub­lic ad­dress sys­tem, Suárez slowly walked down the length of the frontstretch and waved to all of his fans.

Chants of “Dani! Dani! Dani!” could be heard as a beehive of pho­tog­ra­phers fol­lowed his ev­ery step.

It’s no shock that Mex­i­can fans know him well.

MEX­ICO CITY

The 24-year-old from Mon­terry, Mex­ico, was the NASCAR PEAK Mex­ico Se­ries Rookie of the Year in 2010. He fin­ished third in the cham­pi­onship bat­tle in 2012 and run­ner-up in 2013.

His star power grew in the process.

Such po­ten­tial made him an in­au­gu­ral mem­ber of the NASCAR Next pro­gram, NASCAR’s ini­tia­tive that spot­light’s the sport’s ris­ing young stars.

And now he’s a champi- on, bask­ing in the glory he earned dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral NASCAR XFINITY Se­ries Chase. Along the way, Suárez bal­anced the weight of ex­pec­ta­tions with the weight of his coun­try and found the road to suc­cess.

The re­cep­tion he re­ceived on Sun­day is just the lat­est man­i­fes­ta­tion of a cham­pion’s just re­ward. He’ll con­tinue to race for Mex­ico … and more.

“We’re not just talk­ing about Mex­ico; we’re talk- ing about the en­tire Latin Amer­i­can com­mu­nity,” Suárez said. “That’s some­thing that is un­be­liev­able. I feel very lucky for be­ing a Mex­i­can driver rac­ing in the U.S. and hope­fully I can do that for a long time.”

GETTY IM­AGES FOR NASCAR

Daniel Suárez re­ceived a warm wel­come when he came to Mex­ico City on Sun­day.

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