HOMESTEAD, Fla – Another big piece for the NASCAR Silly Season unfolded on Thursday. Stewart-Haas Racing as well as Daniel Suarez unveiled that the two won’t work together for the 2020 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
The announcement comes as a shock to Suarez as he said he found out just Wednesday night of the move. The Mexican driver released a video statement saying that he was really close to finding full funding to remain in the No. 41 Ford for next season but it seems like the deadline has come and passed.
In turn, all signs are pointing to Cole Custer replacing Suarez in the seat.
Now, Suarez will look for his third different team in as many years. He raced for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2018, SHR in 2019 and his options for 2020 are limited. There’s not really any seats other than Front Row Motorsports open on the Cup level.
That’s a shame too.
I don’t think Suarez was really given enough time. I honestly think he was rushed up to Cup too quickly.
See, Suarez just won the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship for JGR and was planning to defend his title in 2017. But, Carl Edwards unexpectedly retired from the sport in January that offseason which allowed JGR to promote Suarez to a full time Cup ride for 2017 instead. Unfortunately, that was the start of his down fall.
It was over before it really ever got started.
Suarez, wasn’t ready yet. Add to the fact that he had a little more than 30 days to prepare for a Cup seat was daunting.
His stats proved that. In his rookie campaign, Suarez only had one top five finish and 12 top 10’s in 36 starts. He’d lead just 40 laps. In 2018, Suarez improved, but barely. He’d score just three top fives and nine top 10’s with only 35 laps led.
JGR needed to find room for Martin Truex Jr. which left Suarez out. SHR quickly picked him up for this season, but Suarez had another similar year. He did have four top five finishes, 11 top 10’s and 166 laps led.
It’s not like he was too far off though. While all three of his teammates made the playoffs, only Kevin Harvick has made noise in the postseason. The other two produced similar stats to Suarez.
Plus, it took 21 races for Harvick to find victory lane. The whole organization was behind the eight ball from the get go. I thought barring the circumstances, Suarez performed quite well. I wanted to see him given a second season — unfortunately I know won’t.
To me, this was a similar path to Joey Logano. He was rushed up with JGR and couldn’t perform with those lofty expectations. Team Penske came in and picked him up and gave him the support to show his talents and he took off.
I thought Suarez would have that with SHR but it’s hard to do so in one year. Now, his best options may put him in the XFINITY Series again.