O’Reilly Auto Parts 500


DALLAS, Texas (March 21, 2018)
The following is an event recap with photo and video links from Wednesday's event with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez at the Consulate de Mexico in Dallas. The visit comes less than three weeks before the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR doubleheader weekend set for April 6-8 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Event Recap
Daniel Suarez, in his second season as a full-time driver for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, visited the Consulate de Mexico in Dallas on Wednesday. The first-ever, Mexican-born driver to compete in NASCAR's top racing series, Suarez spent more than four hours at the Consulate, taking part in a number of activities involving the Hispanic community.
Suarez began the day by using FaceTime to speak to 10 Hispanic students from eight different elementary schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that are participating in Texas Motor Speedway's Speeding To Read program.
He then made his way to the first floor of the Consulate, where he spoke in front of more than 100 Hispanic citizens that were there to register and get information on everything from visas to health care options to job opportunities. Suarez followed that with group and individual interviews - conducted in English and Spanish - with numerous local, regional and national media outlets.
He concluded the day with a Hispanic Power Lunch for area business leaders catered by Rudy's Bar-B-Q. The Power Lunch featured a panel discussion with Suarez, Mexican Consulate General Francisco de la Torre Galindo and Texas Motor Speedway General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs Rob Ramage discussing the sport of NASCAR, the driver's journey from Mexico to the United States, and what Texas Motor Speedway has to offer to the Hispanic business leaders as well as the community.
"This was really special. To be able to share my story and to possibly use my story to inspire a young child or a family trying to start their lives here in America, it's very special to me," said the 26-year-old Suarez, a native of Monterrey, Mexico who arrived in the United States just seven years ago and spoke no English. "NASCAR, like other professional sports, is a business, so it was great to spend some time with Hispanic leaders in this community and hear about their achievements and their success. Texas Motor Speedway is my home track, so I can't wait to get back here in a few weeks."
Quick History Lesson
Daniel Suarez has taken a trailblazing path to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. A 10-time winner in the NASCAR Mexico Series, Suarez came to the United States with his family at the age of 19 with the hopes of one day breaking into NASCAR's national series. One of six drivers chosen for NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program in 2013, Suarez's career skyrocketed. He would spend two years in the program before landing a ride with Joe Gibbs Racing.
In 2015, he became the first Mexican driver to win NASCAR Xfinity Series Rookie-of-the-Year honors. He'd follow that up with a sophomore campaign that included three wins and the Xfinity Series championship, becoming the first Latin American as well as the first Drive for Diversity graduate to win a NASCAR national series title.
Suarez became the first Mexican driver to compete in NASCAR's elite series in 2017 when he replaced retired veteran star Carl Edwards. Suarez finished a respectable 20th in that rookie season, with a best finish of third coming at Watkins Glen. He also had 12 top-10 finishes in 36 starts in 2017. He currently is in the midst of his second full NASCAR Cup Series season with Joe Gibbs Racing.
The Highlight
Daniel Suarez didn't have enough time in a hectic day to make a personal visit to an area school with a pre-dominantly Hispanic student body, but technology allowed him to touch several exemplary elementary school students from Mesquite to Fort Worth.
He used FaceTime to connect with 10 Hispanic students that are excelling in Texas Motor Speedway's Speeding To Read program and also enjoyed some big welcomes from the classrooms of those students. He spoke to the students in both English and Spanish, answering questions about himself and his career. He also congratulated each student for their success in the reading competition and encouraged them to continue to work hard.
One third-grader, Joselin Maximo of Diamond Hill Elementary in Fort Worth, was the top reader overall for the 3rd-6th grade division for Turn 3 ofSpeeding to Read. Maximo has gained more than 200 points in her Achieve Assessment, which is supposed to be the end-of-the-year goal.
Diamond Hill Librarian Nancy Lee Garcia said that the students "were very excited and couldn't believe one of their Mexican heroes called them!"
Fourth-grader Leah Garcia of Florence Black Elementary in Mesquite, has read 181 books so far this year. She asked Suarez if he gets nervous before a race begins.
"Not as much as I used to when I was younger," responded Suarez. "I'm very comfortable when I'm in the car. I'm sure that's how you feel when you're reading; you're very comfortable. The most important thing I have to remember to tell myself is that what I get to do for a living is fun. I usually do better when I remember to tell myself that."
In addition to Diamond Hill and Black Elementary, Suarez also chatted with students from Shands and Henrie from the Mesquite ISD; B.B. Owen, Homestead and Peters Colony of the Lewisville ISD; and Carter Park of the Fort Worth ISD.
"It was very special for the students, an experience they will never forget!," Shands second-grade teacher Milexis Rodriguez said. "Mr. Suarez's words of wisdom about working hard and being nice to everyone you meet really resonated with them. We need more good role models like him! Please tell Mr. Suarez he has just gained many more young fans who will be rooting for him from Mesquite, Texas. We wish him all the best in the future!"
Dallas-Fort Worth ranks among the top-10 metro areas in the United States for Hispanic population at nearly two million. Texas Motor Speedway is contributing to the Hispanic youth in the Metroplex through Speeding To Read. This year's competition is among 21 elementary schools and more than 12,000 students, including more than half being of Hispanic descent. Since the program began in 2011-12 with one pilot school, 64 schools and nearly 36,000 students have combined to read more than four million books.
In Case You Missed It
During the event, it was announced that for the first time in the 22-year racing history of Texas Motor Speedway, FOX Sports Latin America will be broadcasting both the April 8 O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race and the April 7 My Bariatric Solutions 300 Xfinity Series race from on site to Central and Latin America.
The broadcasts will be aired in Spanish to over 40 countries and territories.
"I think it's great," said Daniel Suarez, a native of Monterrey, Mexico. "This is a great opportunity to get some new fans get in front of new markets for NASCAR."
The races will be televised on FOX Sports 3 in all Central and Latin American countries with the exception of Brazil. Both events will be aired on FOX Sports 2 in Brazil in Portuguese. FOX Deportes also will air the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in the United States.
"That is so important to the growth of the sport," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "That's a whole new audience that we hope will be fans of a sport we already know so well and love so much. I look forward to seeing what kind of impact this will have."
What They Are Saying
"My father has always told me that 'the next race is the most important one.' I still race like that today. Where I race and who I race against is different, but that advice I have always held true." - Daniel Suarez on the racing advice he received from his father, Alejandro.
"It means a lot to me to be the first Mexican-born driver in (the NASCAR Cup Series). I can't tell you how many times my friends told me I couldn't do it and I was wasting my time. But I decided to take a shot and things have worked out very well. My friends tell me now that they're so glad I didn't listen to them. I am, too." - Daniel Suarez on being a role model for future Mexicans who want to live out their dreams.
"It feels good to drive around (the track) and see Mexican flags waving around. I know who they're cheering for and it means a lot to me." - Daniel Suarez on whether he notices fans cheering for him when he races.
"I've never had a lot of patience. But in racing, you need to have a lot of patience. That's taking time for me to learn. As I get older in the sport I understand that more. But I still want to fix things right away. I'm not here to finish 12th or 14th, I'm here to win." - Daniel Suarez on being a role model for future Mexicans who want to live out their dreams.
"He is a tremendous ambassador for the sport, especially within the Hispanic community. I think it's incredibly important for him to run well because people love to root for a winner. I would love for that first win in the Cup Series to come at Texas Motor Speedway - that would be great for him to get that first win at a track he considers his home track." - TMS President Eddie Gossage on Daniel Suarez's impact among the Hispanic community.
Following a Q&A session in front of more than 125 Hispanic business leaders, guests and media, Suarez gifted replicas of his racing helmet to Consulate General Franciso de la Torre Galindo, Pro Mexico Trade & Investment Commissioner Fernando Marti and Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO John Hernandez. ... Last November, Daniel Suarez's mother, Rosaline, bussed more than 25 family and friends from Monterrey, Mexico, to Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500. Suarez: "They had so much fun. I hope they can do it again this year and I can bring home a win for them" ... Suarez invited all of the business leaders on hand to attend the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8 ... As of Wednesday, the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 is 19 days away, a fitting a number for Suarez, who drives the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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