Daniel Suarez is a hot commodity in the NASCAR Cup Series garage as this hectic silly season speeds on into fall. Suarez is not expected to be back with Joe Gibbs Racing, evidenced by his scrubbing of them from his social media bios. Suarez is expected to be replaced by 2017 Cup champ Martin Truex Jr. With Suarez out at JGR where is he headed in 2019?
According to NASCAR know it all/insider Adam Stern the second year Cup driver has two teams pursuing him. One is Richard Childress Racing which would fit a tweet from Catchfence.com’s Chris Knight over the weekend. The other team is Stewart-Haas Racing, Gene Haas spoke about Suarez last weekend in Las Vegas.
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) September 24, 2018
Suarez would be filling the seat left by the departing Ryan Newman as he heads to Roush Fenway in 2019. The #31 seat has been linked to RCR Xfinity driver Daniel Hemric as well. The latter would be a more natural fit with little transitional growing pains.
As for sponsorship, it is expected Suarez will bring sponsorship. The #31 does have sponsorship from Caterpillar in 2019 as well. It was said that Caterpillar preferred Newman in the car but for obvious reasons that isn’t happening. However, they are still signed for 2019.
In terms of competitiveness, RCR is the front of the second tier cup teams. They aren’t SHR, JGR, Hendrick, Penske or even Ganassi but they are competitive Top-15 cars on a regular basis. RCR needs more speed, if they can figure that out they can win races on speed and not strategy/luck.
Suarez would be replacing Kurt Busch who didn’t win a championship or 32 races as Gene Haas expected, or something along those lines. Busch is reportedly headed to the Ganassi #1 car in 2019.
SHR has not shied away from drivers that bring sponsorship. Kurt Busch brought Monster and Aric Almirola brought Smithfield with him. Adding Suarez and his sponsors feel like a natural fit. Gene Haas spoke about Suarez mentioning the team has spoken with the Suarez camp. The two sides apparently need to iron out the financial details. It would likely save Gene some money after sponsoring the #41 since its inception. Not to mention picking up the rest of the tab after Monster Energy only brought $5M to the table in 2018.
In terms of competitiveness, SHR is right there at the front. As one of the strongest teams in the Cup Series Suarez will move from the strongest Toyota team to the strongest Ford team. That may be the move he needs, this very much feels like a Joey Logano situation.
Where Is Suarez Headed?
Contrary to what Chris Knight says about Suarez and RCR my money is still on SHR. The competitiveness has to play a factor here for Suarez and SHR gives him the best chance at sustained success. It’s a lateral move and not a step back.
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