KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Daniel Suarez has never raced for $1 million.
That changes Saturday night.
Tool manufacturer Stanley Black & Decker has pledged to give $1 million to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals through the Ace Hardware Foundation if Suarez reaches victory lane at Kansas. The donation is part of the "Racing for a Miracle" program that already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help member hospitals and local children.
"It's very special to be a small part of projects like this," said Suarez, who took over the No. 19 Toyota from the retired Carl Edwards in the Joe Gibbs Racing stable this season.
Suarez spent much of Thursday touring the pediatrics unit within The University of Kansas Health System, meeting with kids and showering them with swag. Four of them will be at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night, following Suarez through driver introductions and watching the race.
— CMN Hospitals (@CMNHospitals) May 11, 2017
"A couple of them they know a lot about NASCAR and they are super race fans. Super excited to be a small part of this," Suarez said. "The rest of the kids that are in the hospital, they won't be able to be here, but they told me they were going to be watching on TV."
The 25-year-old Suarez, the first Mexican-born driver in NASCAR's top series, has yet to lead a race this season. But he did finish seventh in back-to-back races at Phoenix and California, and he started seventh last week at Talladega before finish safely inside the top 20.
"You know, it's everything about these kids. It's a really big deal for them," Suarez said. "We are very fortunate, all of us, to be here and to be able to not think about those things.
"But when you get the opportunity to spend some time with them, you understand how fortunate we are and how important it is for us to give a little bit back," Suarez said. "Like I said, super proud to be part of Stanley Black & Decker team, and proud to be a small part of this project that can make this dream possible for a lot of kids at this hospital."
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