SBD/August 22, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Mexican Driver Daniel Suarez Could Help NASCAR Tap Into Hispanic Demographic

Suarez is the product of a decade of work by NASCAR to grow stock car racing in Mexico
Joe Gibbs Racing's signing of Mexican driver Daniel Suarez this week "represents the most important achievement yet in NASCAR's diversity efforts," according to Jeff Gluck of USA TODAY. Suarez, 22, represents a "chance to change the face of NASCAR and its fans." If he is successful on the track, Suarez "could help NASCAR tap into the Hispanic demographic it dearly wants to attract." NASCAR Exec VP & Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said, "It's huge for the sport. We've got to continue to make efforts for our sport to more closely reflect where America is and where it's going. The Hispanic fan base, the culture is very passionate about racing and very passionate about family." Gluck notes Suarez "is the product of a decade of work to grow stock car racing in Mexico." His commitment to stock cars "is exactly what NASCAR hopes to achieve on an international level." NASCAR also "has series in Canada and Europe, where young drivers with Formula One family connections have decided to race." O'Donnell said that if the circumstances were right, NASCAR "would consider starting development series in places like China, Brazil and India" (USA TODAY, 8/22). The LATIN TIMES' Michael Duarte reported the "man behind the movement for Mexican drivers in NASCAR is none other than Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim." Slim, who "has the funds to put his money where his mouth is," acted as a "liaison in the recruiting process" between Suarez and JGR (LATINTIMES.com, 8/21).
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