The 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season was a year of firsts for 24-year-old Daniel Suarez. From collecting his first series win at Michigan in June to becoming the first foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR National Series championship at Homestead in November, Suarez made this past season one for the history books.
Car No. 19
Crew Chief: Scott Graves
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Points Finish: 1st
2016 Quick Summary: Suarez was a model of consistency in 2016, only recording six finishes outside the top ten during the 33 race campaign. He picked up wins at Michigan (June), Dover (October), and Homestead (November) as part of his championship season. Over the season’s final 11 races, Suarez recorded 10 top five finishes with a worst finish of eighth coming at Richmond in September.
2016 Highlight(s): The Monterrey, Mexico native won the inaugural XFINITY Series Chase by winning the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead – Miami Speedway. He led a race-high 133 laps and was able to hold Ty Dillon and Elliott Sadler on the final restart of the race to claim the championship.
2016 Lowlight(s): Suarez only recorded two finishes of 30th or worse this past season. He finished 32nd at Daytona in July after crashing out after just 48 laps. Qualified on the pole at Iowa in July and led only 11 laps before exiting the race due to an engine failure.
2017 Outlook: With the sudden announcement of Carl Edwards, Suarez will move up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series full time with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Suarez will contend for Rookie of the Year honors and will have the presence of veteran crew chief Dave Rogers on top of the pit box. He will also have veteran teammates Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Denny Hamlin to lean on for guidance in his rookie season.
Given how quickly he took to the XFINITY Series, he may struggle a little bit at the start of this season but look for Suarez to post some strong results in the second half.
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