The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has been flooded with young drivers in the last few years, and one of them is trying to ensure the sport also has an influx of young fans.
Daniel Suarez is in his rookie season, but the Joe Gibbs Racing driver already is doing his part to reach out to children and get them interested in NASCAR at a young age, according to For The Win.
NASCAR’s first Mexican driver has done a good job of connecting to children outside of traditional meet-and-greets and autograph sessions. Most notably, Suarez has done this through his role as Danny Swerves in the new movie “Cars 3.”
The 25-year-old’s tie-in with the film also has afforded him opportunities to spend time with local kids at various races, such as an event he did at Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Greater Charlotte ahead of the Coca-Cola 600. He doesn’t consider these outreach events to be chores either, as Suarez — much like fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. — understands what it means for kids to meet one of their favorite athletes.
“When you are 6 years old, 7 years old and you get to meet and see stars from whatever sport — it doesn’t matter if it’s soccer, racing, American football — it doesn’t matter what they do, it means a lot,” Suarez told For The Win.
NASCAR, like most sports, is in the midst of a steady decline in viewership, as well as attendance at races. Suarez reportedly says he understands exposing kids to the sport early is critical to combating those trends.
“Kids are very important to the sport,” he said, according to For The Win. “Personally, I really enjoy, a lot, to do things with kids because all these kids, they’re the future for the sport. They’re the new fans, and they’re going to be going to races and they’re going to be pulling for you or for the No. 19.”
Suarez has enjoyed a fairly strong start to his Cup career, currently sitting 20th in the standings with four top-10 finishes through 14 races.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew O’Haren/USA TODAY Sports Images