Daniel Suarez bests Kyle Busch for XFINITY Series win at Michigan

BY foxsports • June 11, 2016

Surprise, surprise.

Just when it looked like Kyle Busch was about to run away with yet another XFINITY Series victory, Daniel Suarez, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, snatched it from him.

It was the first NASCAR win in any series for Suarez, who made a last-lap pass of Busch to pull it off after Busch had dominated the rest of the race. Suarez also became the first Mexican-born driver to win a race in any of NASCAR's top three national touring series.

"That's what you can happen when you have a fast car," Suarez told FOX Sports in Victory Lane.

Busch was seeking his fifth win in just eight XFINITY starts this season. It was the first win in 48 career series starts for Suarez, a 24-year-old native of Monterrey, Mexico, who was in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program in 2013 and also is a graduate of the NASCAR Next program that promotes up-and-coming drivers.

Busch was forced to settle for second, but praised Suarez, who sometimes drives for his Kyle Busch Motorsports team in the Camping World Truck Series, for racing him clean.

"You never want to get beat, but it's cool when you get beat fair and square," said Busch, who led a race-high 88 of 125 laps. "He did a really great job. He ran me down and had a really good car at the end there. He passed us clean and did everything he needed to do, so congratulations to Daniel Suarez. That's pretty awesome to get his first win here, and to beat us -- a car like ours and a guy like me."

Paul Menard finished third, with Erik Jones and Elliott Sadler rounding out the top five. Jones was racing with a heavy heart, dedicating his effort to his father, Dave Jones, who passed away after battling cancer just last Tuesday.

Noting that he has served sort of as a racing mentor to both Suarez and Jones, Busch joked: "The Kyle Busch School of Charm finished 1-2-4 today, so that's not too bad."

The win means Suarez, as a full-time driver in the series, now is locked into the first XFINITY Series Chase that will determine the season's champion. Suarez also became just the sixth foreign-born driver to win in the series, and only the second one to win on an oval racetrack.

Suarez accomplished it by overcoming an early speeding penalty on pit road and a failed clutch in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

As he stood in Victory Lane afterward, an emotional and jubliant Suarez tried to put it in words but struggled -- in any language. He was just overwhelmed with joy after coming so close to winning many times previously in his brief NASCAR career.

“I don’t think I can speak English or Spanish right now,” said Suarez, who made the winning pass on Busch right as the two drivers took the white flag at the start-finish line to signify one lap to go. “I just want to thank all these guys (on the No. 19 team) for all their hard work, Joe Gibbs Racing for having the confidence in me … It’s amazing. I don’t have words for how I’m feeling right now.”



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