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Racer Profiles: Mario Fuentes’ Racing Journey From Dunes to Glory

Mario Fuentes Zaragoza has a deep-rooted passion for off-roading that dates back to his childhood. Born and raised between El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, Mario’s first memory of off-roading is etched in the dunes surrounding Samalayuca in the state of Chihuahua. At the age of 11, he experienced the thrill of exploring the desert landscape at speed, which ignited a lifelong passion for the sport.

Mario’s journey into the off-road community began with a family-and-friends’ weekend gathering. They started with Yamaha Banshees, hitting the dunes for fun. This camaraderie and shared excitement gradually evolved into a serious pursuit of desert racing, motocross, and ultimately Class 1 racing. Mario’s enthusiasm was unstoppable, and by the age of 14, he knew that racing was his calling.

With a career that spans various disciplines, including quad racing and mountain biking, Mario has always sought new challenges. His mentor, Hector Fierro, along with several racing friends, played significant roles in shaping his career. Mario looks up to legendary figures in the racing community, such as Sergio Perez, Carroll Shelby, Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda, and Sebastian Loeb, drawing inspiration from their accomplishments and dedication.

A significant part of Mario’s race preparation involves maintaining peak physical fitness. He focuses on mountain biking, running, and full-body training to ensure he’s in top shape for competitions. Nutrition also plays a vital role, with Skratch Labs products being his go-to fuel before and during races. His pre-race ritual typically involves pumping himself up with Quiet Riot’s “Come On Feel the Noise,” setting the tone for the adrenaline-filled weekend ahead.

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Mario’s greatest achievement in motorsports so far is winning the prestigious Mint 400. This victory holds a special place in his heart, and he credits his success to his team of seven dedicated friends and volunteers who always have his back. Mario’s goals in the Unlimited Off-Road Racing Series are ambitious: to win all the races overall, dominate his class, and clinch the championship. He believes that achieving these goals will undoubtedly require immense courage and determination.

Despite the difficulties and constant struggle many face in the world of off-road racing, Mario’s motivation remains strong. “The finish line beer keeps me going,” he says with a smile, showcasing his resilient spirit and love for the sport – and perhaps beer (wink, wink). Reflecting on his first win at the Mint 400 in 2024, Mario describes it as an unbelievable feeling that he aims to replicate in future races. He credits his triumph to divine intervention, acknowledging that without God’s guidance, his journey would have been much more challenging.

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Looking ahead, Mario’s next big event is the California 300, part of the Unlimited Off-Road Series. His racing resume also includes entries into SCORE races where he has honed his skills and gained invaluable experience. When asked what advice he would give his younger self, Mario emphasizes the importance of focus and taking life one day at a time.

In the world of off-road racing, Mario Fuentes stands out as a determined and passionate competitor. His journey from a young boy riding in the dunes of Chihuahua to a champion racer is a testament to his dedication, hard work, and the support of his team and loved ones. As he continues to pursue his dreams, Mario’s story serves as an inspiration to aspiring racers and fans alike.

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Want to follow along Mario’s race efforts? Check him out on Instagram @mafuzarmotorsports or on his website: www.mafuzarmotorsports.com.