"For me, racing in Los Angeles is similar to racing at home," said Suárez who signed a multiyear contract extension with Trackhouse Racing last week. "There are a lot of Hispanics here, so it’s extra exciting for me to race here, where I can call it almost home.”
He has made his mark in California.
Suárez became the first Mexican driver to win a Cup Series race when he dominated at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June, and he has proudly sported a sombrero at the Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum the last two events.
He nearly created a signature moment in Fontana last year when he took the lead with three laps to go and looked like he might capture his first career victory. While racing hard for the checkered flag, eventual winner Kyle Larson plus two others slipped past the No. 99 in the final laps.
"We had a fast car, but we went through a lot of adversity. We had a few issues. We hit the wall once. We had an issue with a diffuser," said Suárez. "My pit crew, those guys are legends and they gave me a chance to win that day."
Suárez arrives in California after finishing seventh in Sunday's Daytona 500. It was a remarkable comeback after falling to 30th and a lap down as the field was coming to the white flag lap. But a caution and two overtimes allowed him to regain the lost lap and rally to a seventh-place finish - a career best at Daytona.
He'd like to create a happy memory this weekend in Fontana where he will sport the color of longtime partner Freeway Insurance whose blue and green colors he will carry in several Cup races in 2023.
It won't be all racing this weekend in California.
On Thursday he'll spend the day with personal sponsors, then a production day with Freeway Insurance on Friday. On Saturday, he'll meet with his race fans at 3 p.m. local time in the parking lot of the Freeway Insurance office at 9800 Sierra Ave. Suite B2 in Fontana.
Suárez might even work in a LAFC vs. LA Galaxy soccer match Saturday night if he can fit it in his busy schedule.
It will almost be like a weekend at home.
Fox will broadcast Sunday's race at 3:30 p.m. ET.