NASCAR: 5 foreign-born drivers to win a Cup Series race

Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing Team, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing Team, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Daniel Suarez found himself joining an exclusive list featuring just four other drivers when he scored his first NASCAR Cup Series win on Sunday.

NASCAR‘s expansion outside of its southern roots has found the sport sourcing some of the best talent internationally, and Sunday afternoon’s race at Sonoma Raceway resulted in an addition to the list of foreign-born drivers to win in the Cup Series.

Trackhouse Racing Team’s Daniel Suarez earned his first Cup Series win in his 195th career start, becoming the first Mexican-born driver to win a Cup Series race.

The 30-year-old Monterrey native joined a list which had featured just four other foreign-born drivers to win at the sport’s highest level.

No. 1 – Mario Andretti, Italy

The Andretti name is well-known and well-respected throughout the world of motorsport, and Mario Andretti made his name known in stock car racing by becoming the first foreign-born driver to win a Cup Series race. Andretti scored his lone win at the 1967 Daytona 500, driving the #11 Ford for Holman Moody.

No. 2 – Earl Ross, Canada

The NASCAR legacy of the late Earl Ross was short, but significant. His win at Martinsville Speedway for Junior Johnson & Associates in 1974 not only made him the first Canadian winner in the Cup Series, but it made his case for Rookie of the Year.

No. 3 – Juan Pablo Montoya, Colombia

It took 33 years before the next foreign-born driver to win in the Cup Series, when Juan Pablo Montoya won at Sonoma Raceway in 2007 behind the wheel of the #42 Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing.

A Formula 1 Grand Prix winner and an Indy 500 winner already, Montoya became the third driver to win in Formula 1, IndyCar, and the NASCAR Cup Series, in addition to becoming the third foreign-born Cup Series winner.

No. 4 – Marcos Ambrose, Australia

Marcos Ambrose added his name to the list of foreign-born Cup Series winners when he picked up his first win at Watkins Glen International in 2011, driving the #9 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports.

With a history of driving Supercars in his home country, he picked up several wins in the Xfinity Series (then Nationwide) on road courses as well. Six of his seven NASCAR wins, including two Cup Series wins, came at The Glen.

No. 5 – Daniel Suarez, Mexico

Daniel Suarez joined the list by winning at Sonoma Raceway this past Sunday afternoon, finally securing the first career win that had been seemingly so close throughout his entire career.

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The 2016 Xfinity Series champion had spent several seasons in the Cup Series driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, and Gaunt Brothers Racing before finding a home at Trackhouse Racing Team in 2021. With his victory, Suarez joined teammate Ross Chastain as a new Cup Series winner in 2022.