Daniel Suarez becomes U.S. citizen

Daniel Suárez hears the American national anthem every race-day Sunday during the NASCAR Cup Series season, taking part in a pre-race tradition just minutes before the green flag each week. Tuesday afternoon, with hand over heart at the Charlotte field office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “The Star-Spangled Banner” felt a bit different for the Mexican-born driver.

Suárez was sworn in as a United States citizen on Tuesday, joining 48 candidates from 28 countries in a nationalization ceremony as a group of the newest Americans. Suárez — and all 47 others — received a citizenship certificate from NASCAR President Steve Phelps, a surprise guest who was present for the oath-taking and delivered the keynote address.

For Suárez, who came to America 12 years ago to pursue a racing career, Tuesday’s ceremonies represented a crucial next step in his stateside journey. The Trackhouse Racing driver’s celebration of his Mexican culture has been a significant part of that ride, but now he has another anthem he can call his own.