Everyone knows Daniel Suarez isn’t returning to Joe Gibbs Racing next season. Martin Truex Jr. will take over the #19 car in 2019 and will undoubtebly have an annoying 19 in ’19 twitter campaign to go along with it. Suarez hasn’t announced his plans yet but everyone assumes he’ll replace Kurt Busch in the #41 next season.
Suarez was in Brazil over the weekend at a karting race where he spoke about his departure from Joe Gibbs Racing. Suarez didn’t mince words, he said some things that a lot of people probably thought.
“I never felt like I had everything to win. Lots of people changes, but I’ve never had a winning team. I moved from Mexico to the United States to win, not just to race. The JGR is a great team but I felt it was not my home, I felt it was not the place to be to win races and maybe, one day, the championship. There was something inside me that said I needed a change.”
He’s not wrong. I don’t think anyone would disagree with those statements. Suarez was at JGR the same way Joey Logano was at JGR. A talented driver that wasn’t given time/resources to develop. We saw Logano struggle at JGR, he claimed two wins over 4 years one of which was a rain-shortened race. Suarez didn’t win a Cup Series race, his second at Pocono this season was as close as he got.
Suarez did win an Xfinity Series championship at JGR however which makes his comments about not feeling like a home somewhat interesting. JGR brought Suarez to the United States with the hopes of developing him into a Cup driver. The Carlos Slim connection certainly helped as well. But Suarez has been a part of the team for years, to not feel at home is eye-opening in some ways.
Changing crew chiefs, a rotating engineering staff and other things were what Suarez cited as things he felt limited his chances at success. Continuity is key in winning in NASCAR at times, the best teams are made up of combinations that have been together for a few seasons. Suarez didn’t get that opportunity at JGR.
A change is likely what is better for both sides. Suarez is likely hoping for a Logano type of resurgence in his career. Move teams, feel at home, win races and maybe even snag a championship.
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