Suarez stays hot behind the wheel, wins third straight race
It's a hat trick for Daniel Suarez.
The 22-year-old native of Monterrey, Mexico, won the K&N Pro Series race in the Battle at the Beach at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday after winning the tour's season opener on Sunday night at New Smyrna Speedway.
Suarez also closed out the 2013 NASCAR Toyota Series season with a victory in Mexico City in November.
"Man, I can't believe this," Suarez said. "I can't thank everyone enough -- the Rev Racing team, the Drive for Diversity program, NASCAR, for this opportunity. 2013 was a great year for me. 2014, we have the opportunity to do it again.
"We are opening 2014 in the best way. I can't thank enough -- all these guys. They did an awesome job. I can't believe that we won this race."
Suarez took the point from Gray Gaulding on Lap 32 in the No. 6 Sunoco Race Fuels Toyota and led the final 119 circuits. Gaulding, 15, was posted for aggressive driving during the fourth caution and restarted 15th on Lap 73.
Despite a late incident to bring out the final caution, Suarez remained in the lead on the Lap 146 restart and held off Austin Hill at the line by 0.596 seconds.
"On the restarts, I just couldn't hold onto him," Hill said. "I think I could have had something for him on long green runs. He could get back to the gas so much sooner. When he got to the gas, I just couldn't get back to him."
Brandon McReynolds, Nick Drake and Lee Pulliam rounded out the top five.
"I wasn't worried on the restarts," said Suarez, who enjoyed his third K&N Pro Series career win. "I was pretty tight. On long runs, I was pretty good. So I didn't like the yellow flags when they came out. But thank God and thanks to my team we made it right.
"I really love what I do. I'm thankful to God to have this opportunity. I feel like many, many drivers in Mexico wish to have this opportunity to be part of the Drive for Diversity program, to be a NASCAR Next driver, be part of the Rev Racing team and also have a championship in Mexico. I really feel lucky about that. I work hard every day -- like my crew chief and my team and all this hard work is paying off."
The win was Rev Racing's 14th victory since 2010.