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Think you had a nice Thanksgiving, huh? Maybe so. But it probably pales in comparison to that of NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez.

While enjoying an exotic overseas vacation with longtime girlfriend Julia Piquet, Suarez decided to “pop the question,” and the daughter of Formula One racing legend Nelson Piquet accepted Suarez’s invitation to be his future bride.

Based on Suarez’s Twitter feed, it appears he and his new fiancée made the most of their journeys abroad before heading back to the United States for this week’s NASCAR Cup Series awards ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee where Joey Logano will be celebrated for winning the 2022 premier series championship and Suarez will be recognized for his first career top-10 points finish.

Getting engaged to the love of his life and being honored at the post-season banquet are a fitting culmination to what’s truly been a remarkable year for Suarez, whose Cup Series career seemed to be virtually left for dead not all that long ago.

Moved to Cup Series perhaps too quickly, Daniel Suarez needed time to find his way

After winning the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship for Joe Gibbs Racing, Daniel Suarez received a rather abrupt promotion to the Cup Series when JGR Cup Series driver Carl Edwards announced with no warning that he was stepping away from the sport the following season.

Needing to find a quick replacement for Edwards — one of the sport’s most talented and congenial drivers — JGR tabbed Suarez to wheel the No. 19 JGR Toyota full time at the Cup level despite the Monterrey, Mexico native having never made a start in the sport’s top division.

Not surprisingly, the learning curve from the Xfinity Series to the Cup Series proved to be steep for Suarez, who recorded just one top-five finish as a rookie and failed to find his way to Victory Lane.

Following another winless season for Suarez in 2018, JGR parted ways with the 2016 Xfinity Series champ, who managed to land a Cup ride at Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2019 campaign. But, unfortunately for Suarez, he made only modest improvements from his first two years at the Cup level and lost his ride after just one season with the organization co-owned by Tony Stewart and Gene Haas.

With nowhere else to go, at least at the Cup Series level, Suarez accepted an opportunity to drive for lowly Gaunt Brothers Racing in 2020 and not surprisingly sputtered through his worst season yet — a season in which he finished 31st in points, earned nary a top-10 finish and failed to qualify for the Daytona 500. 

At the end of 2020, Suarez left Gaunt Brothers for the fledgling Trackhouse Racing organization founded by former NASCAR driver Justin Marks. And with that move, Suarez’s career slowly began to take a turn for the better.

Daniel Suarez is now on the right path after several seasons in the wilderness

Although Daniel Suarez’s first season with the upstart Trackhouse Racing outfit was a struggle on many occasions, he still fared considerably better than he did in his lone campaign with Gaunt Brothers Racing, collecting four top-10 finishes that included a season-best fourth-place finish at the Bristol dirt-track race. 

By the time 2022 rolled around, Trackhouse had added a second team for driver Ross Chastain and acquired the assets of Chastain’s former organization — Chip Ganassi Racing — which ceased operations at the end of 2021. The combination of Trackhouse’s new resources and the debut of the Next Generation Cup Series car that narrowed the playing field between the series’ bigger and smaller teams allowed Trackhouse to be arguably the most pleasant surprise of 2022.

Not only did Suarez and Chastain both capture their first career Cup Series win — which for Suarez came in June on the road course at Sonoma — but the teammates both finished in the top 10 of the standings, with Chastain coming home second and Suarez grabbing the 10th spot.

Suarez eclipsed his previous career best in almost every major statistical category, including top-five finishes, top-10 finishes and laps led. Now with a contract extension for 2023 that Suarez received from Trackhouse in August, the Cup Series’ first ever Mexico-born race winner has every reason to feel optimistic about the future.

And locking down his future wife doesn’t hurt, either.


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