NASCAR: Daniel Suarez taking driver safety to the next level

Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing Team, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing Team, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez has teamed up with B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School and Freeway Insurance on a video series to promote safe teenage driving.

Trackhouse Racing Team NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez is taking driver safety to the next level, teaming up with B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School and Freeway Insurance on a video series aimed at promoting safe driving among teenagers.

This program was founded by NHRA drag racing star Doug Herbert after he lost his two young sons in a tragic car crash in January 2008.

Suarez had the chance to drive through the course and provide insight on how to curb the more than 2,700 teen deaths from car crashes during 2020 alone.

“This is one of many projects initiated by Freeway Insurance,” Suarez told Beyond the Flag. “Freeway began a program this summer to stop all street racing and was looking to make a difference in the lives of drivers. I think it was a natural progression to see the work Doug Herbert is doing with B.R.A.K.E.S. and want to be part of it.”

Suarez spoke about the course and the some of the things he experienced.

“It was a lot of fun and a real challenge” he said. “They have a special car and pad that makes the car go into a skid. It was kind of fun for me and probably educational learning what to do if the car goes into a skid. They also have an exercise where you drop a wheel off the road. Those are both skills everyone needs, especially teen drivers who aren’t as experienced behind the wheel.”

After delving into topics such as Collision Avoidance, a Wheel Drop-Off Recovery Exercise, and a Panic Stop Exercise to make teens confident when a dangerous situation happens on the road, Suarez admits that this is something he wishes he could have had access to as he began learning how to drive.

“I think everyone wishes they would have known things growing up,” he stated. “I was fortunate and had very good driving teachers when I was young. I hope this opportunity teaches teenagers things that might save their lives someday. … I really enjoyed how passionate and professional Doug Herbert’s instructors were. They were very knowledgeable and made learning fun.”

As the full-time driver of the #99 Chevrolet, the 30-year-old Mexican makes a living by going fast. He used that to his advantage when teaching young teenagers about safe driving and avoiding street racing.

“Well, first things first,” he began, “keep your racing on a race track and never on the streets. Second, even professional drivers on racetracks have to take accident-avoidance measures from time to time. If you are confident in what you are doing, you can normally avoid any bigger problems. That’s true on the road as well. Don’t panic.”

Suarez has had full support from his race team amid his involvement with B.R.A.K.E.S.

“[Team owner] Justin [Marks] is a professional race car driver and the father of two girls,” he said. “He knows the importance of education and safety. He’s a big supporter of B.R.A.K.E.S. and everything Freeway Insurance is doing to make teens safer in their cars.”

In his second year with the Marks and Pitbull-owned team, Suarez sits in 13th place in the point standings, and he earned his first career victory at Sonoma Raceway, presumably locking himself into the playoffs for the first time in his six seasons competing at the sport’s top level.

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“I would give us an I for incomplete,” he responded when asked to grade his season thus far. “We still have a lot of work to do in the playoffs. Let’s win the championship then I will give us an A+.”