Young Cuban-American triumphs in youth circuit before NASCAR races

The young Cuban-American Nick Sánchez leads with two days to go the points classification of the ARCA Menards Series, a youth category that is the prelude to NASCAR races.

Sánchez, 21, has won three stops this season in this series that nurtures NASCAR talent and is in contention to win the championship, becoming one of the great emerging talents in this sport.

The young man who made his debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2022, competing for BJ McLeod Motorsports and Big Machine Racing, assures that he feels very close to the Cuban culture, from which he was nurtured during his childhood and youth in Miami.

“Latino heritage, you can see it coming from a mile away. I always try to embrace where I come from, Miami and Cuban-American. Mainly [quiero ser] a role model for other people in Miami and Cuban-Americans and bring NASCAR racing to that demographic,” he said.

Sánchez’s father, only 8 years old, emigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1980, during the Mariel boatlift and settled in Miami, where the now young pilot was born, on June 10, 2001, tells a profile published this Wednesday by the official NASCAR site in Spanishwhich reviews the beginnings of the young pilot.

Sánchez remembers that his family had no connection to the world of motorsports, something very unusual for NASCAR drivers.

“The funny thing is that most people know someone who runs or has a family member who runs. I had zero outside influence,” she said.

The young man remembers that his father was 16 years old when he started working in the construction industry and then he owned his own construction business, which allowed him the opportunity to buy some classic cars.

“He wasn’t a racing fanatic; he never saw racing. Really, he still never follows them… unless I participate, he never sees a complete race”, he stated about his father.

As a child, only 5 years old, Sánchez attended his first race at Homestead-Miami Speedway and was attracted to that world, but his father preferred that he dedicate himself to more traditional sports such as football.

With so much insistence, his parents signed him up for karting races. The young man spent his youth racing karts across the United States, and then was signed, in 2017, by the NASCAR Rev Racing team.

Sánchez currently benefits from the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development program.

“In the past, people could see NASCAR as an all-American sport. You didn’t see much diversity. Not even with Aric Almirola or [Daniel] Suarez or Juan Pablo Montoya. To be that driver, especially to be from Miami, and not really know anything about racing, he shows that you don’t have to be born for this,” he explains.

The young man hopes that in the coming years more Latin American drivers and drivers with Latino heritage will join the NASCAR circuit.

In October, when he competes in the Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Big Machine Racing, it will be the first time the youngster, who now resides in North Carolina, returns to his native Miami as an athlete.

In July 2021, the Mexican driver Daniel Suárez, who competes in NASCAR, ran in New Hampshire with the Cuban flag painted on his car in support of the freedom of Cuba.

A gesture that Armando Christian Pérez – known worldwide as Pitbull – thanked on his social networks by sharing some images in which the runner’s car is seen.


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